Kansas set for Final Four bout with Villanova Saturday
Senior G Devonte’ Graham
|GM 39: Final Four – National Semifinal|
|7:49 p.m. (CT)|
|Record||31-7, 13-5||34-4, 14-4|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Playing in its 15th Final Four and third under head coach Bill Self, No. 1 seed Kansas will meet fellow No. 1 seed Villanova in the NCAA Championship National Semifinal on Saturday, March 31 inside San Antonio’s Alamodome. The Jayhawks and Wildcats will meet for the seventh time overall, the third in NCAA Tournament play, with the series tied at 3-3. The game will tip-off at approximately 7:49 p.m. (CT) on TBS, with Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Grant Hill (analyst), Bill Raftery (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (reporter) set to call the action.
- No. 1 seed Kansas advanced to its 15th Final Four, third under head coach Bill Self, with an 85-81 overtime win against Duke in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional finals March 25. Kansas’ last Final Four appearances was in 2012 when the Jayhawks finished runner-up to Kentucky.
- Defeating No. 9 Duke, Kansas improved to 8-3 against ranked foes in 2017-18, including 4-0 versus Top-10 teams.
- At 31-7, Kansas has won 31 games for the third-straight year and 15th time in school history with nine in the Bill Self era, which began in 2003-04. KU’s 15 30-win seasons ties for the most in NCAA history with Kentucky.
- Kansas is 12-13 all-time in the Final Four, including a 9-5 record in national semifinals. KU is 3-6 in title games.
- Kansas is playing Villanova seventh time and the first time since the 2016 NCAA South Regional title game in which the Wildcats won 64-59 en route to the NCAA title. The series is tied at 3-3. KU and VU have a home-and-home series scheduled over the next two regular seasons.
- Kansas is making its 47th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 107-45 record in the event. The Jayhawks have advanced to 31 Sweet 16 contests, 15 Final Fours and three of their five national championships have been in NCAA Championship format (1952, 1988, 2008).
- KU’s 29-consecutive NCAA Championship appearances is the longest-active streak and the longest-consecutive appearances in NCAA history.
- Since seeding in the NCAA Tournament began in 1979, Kansas has been a No. 1 seed 14 times, including each of the last three seasons (’86, ’92, ’95, ’97, ’98, ’02, ’07, ’08, ’10, ’11, ’13, ’16, ’17 and ’18).
- After its win against Duke (3/25), Kansas is 21-3 against the 2018 NCAA Tournament field.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham, the 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year, is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.6-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game.
- Kansas won its NCAA-record breaking 14th straight, 18th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 61st overall conference regular-season title in 2017-18.
- The Big 12 had the most teams from one conference in the Elite Eight with three – Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech. The Atlantic Coast Conference is next with two (Duke, Florida State). The Big 12 had 70 percent of its teams in the NCAA Tournament and 90 percent in either the NCAA tourney or NIT.
- Kansas has played six games in the NCAA Tournament in Omaha with a 6-1 record. Two of its three trips to CenturyLink Center have led to Final Four appearances (2008 and 2012).
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham, the 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year and a Consensus First Team All-American, is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.6-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game.
Kansas (31-7, 13-5 Big 12) is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press and No. 3 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released March 12. Kansas leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 10.1 and 3-point field goal percentage at 40.3, which is 10th nationally. The Jayhawks also rank among the top three in the conference in scoring offense (third at 81.4, 29th nationally), scoring margin (second at +10.2, 23rd nationally), field goal percentage (second at 49.3, 12th nationally), 3-point field goal percentage defense (second at 32.7), assists (second at 16.9, 13th nationally) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.4, 18th nationally).
The 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year and on every national player of the year watch list, senior G Devonte’ Graham leads Kansas in scoring at 17.2 points per game for the season. An all-conference first-team selection who has been named to three All-America first teams, Graham is among the conference leaders in assists (second at 7.3, fifth nationally), assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 2.6), steals (sixth at 1.6), free throw percentage (seventh at 83.0), 3-point field goals made (fourth at 2.8) and 3-point field goal percentage (ninth at 40.3).
Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, an all-league second-team honoree, is second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (44.7) and third in 3-point field goals made (3.0) as he is the only player in the conference to rank that high in both 3-point stats. Mykhailiuk is averaging 14.7 points per game, which is 12th in the Big 12.
Redshirt-sophomore G Malik Newman was the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player after averaging a team-best 21.8 points per game in KU’s first four NCAA tourney wins. Additionally, Newman was the 2018 Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player after averaging 24.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and making 15 3-pointers in Kansas’ title run. Also the 2018 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Newman is averaging 14.0 points for the season, which is tied for 13th in the Big 12, and he is pulling down 4.9 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 32 points in the Elite Eight win versus Duke (3/25).
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike, an All-Big 12 Third Team selection, leads the country in field goal percentage at 77.2 percent and is 57-for-69 (82.6 percent) from the field in his last 11 games played. Azubuike did not play in the Big 12 Championship due to a knee injury. Azubuike scores 13.1 points per game, which is 17th in the conference and pulls down 7.1 rebounds, which is seventh in the Big 12.
Junior G Lagerald Vick, an honorable mention all-conference honoree, is averaging 13.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Vick is averaging 12.2 points per game for the season and pulls down 4.9 rebounds per game. He has made 59 3-pointers this season, including 12 in his last five games.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett averages 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. He has started seven games this season and plays 19.2 minutes per contest. Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds against Penn (3/15) and just missed a double-double with nine points. He second on the team with 54 blocked shots and averages 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Lightfoot leads KU with 16 charges taken this season. Freshman F Silvio De Sousa (3.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg) is coming off a 10-rebound game against Duke (3/25) and is averaging 4.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg in the NCAA Tournament. De Sousa led Kansas with a 9.7 rebound average in the Big 12 Championship (March 8-10).
Located in Philadelphia, Villanova is the No. 1 seed in the East Regional and defeated Radford (87-61), Alabama (81-58), West Virginia (90-78) and Texas Tech (71-59), winning by an average of 18.3 points in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats are coached by Jay Wright who is 420-165 in his 17th season at Villanova and 542-250 in his 24th season overall. The Wildcats lead the nation in scoring offense at 86.6 points per game. Villanova is second nationally in scoring margin at plus-16.4 and also ranks in the top 10 in NCAA Division I in 3-point field goals made per game (third at 11.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (eighth at 1.6), field goal percentage (sixth at 49.9), free throw percentage (eighth at 78.0) and won-loss percentage (second at 89.5). The Wildcats average 16.5 assists, 6.6 steals and 4.1 blocked shots per game.
National player of the year candidate, junior G Jalen Brunson leads Villanova with 19.2 points per game. He also leads the team with 176 assists and is second on the squad with 82 3-pointers made in 2017-18. Redshirt junior G/F Mikal Bridges, who is also on many All-America teams, scores 17.8 points per game and pulls down 5.4 rebounds per contest. He leads Villanova with 99 3-pointers made and 58 steals on the season. Meanwhile, he is second on the team with 41 blocked shots. Bridges leads the team with an 84.8 free throw percentage.
Redshirt-sophomore G Donte DiVincenzo averages 12.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game and he is second on the team with 133 assists and 42 steals. Redshirt-freshman F Omari Spellman leads Villanova with 7.8 rebounds per game to complement his 10.8 scoring average. He also has a team-high 56 blocked shots and has made 62 3-pointers this season. Redshirt-junior F Eric Paschall is a starter who averages 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per outing, while redshirt-junior G Phil Booth (10.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg) is also a starter for the Wildcats. Other Villanova regulars include freshman G Collin Gillespie (4.3 ppg) and freshman F Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (3.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg).
THE KANSAS-VILLNOVA SERIES
This series dates back to 1968 and is tied at 3-3. Villanova has won the last two meetings, 64-59, in the NCAA South Regional final on March 26, 2016, in Louisville and, 63-59, in the second round of the 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Kansas defeated Villanova, 55-49, in the 1968 NIT on March 18, 1965. The two teams then played a home-and-home series in 2004-05 with Kansas winning 86-79 on Jan. 2, 2004, in Allen Fieldhouse and Villanova winning 83-64 on Jan. 22, 2005, in Philadelphia. Kansas defeated Villanova, 72-57, in the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional Sweet 16 en route to its NCAA National Championship in Detroit.
On Nov. 27, 2017, these two basketball powers announced a two-game series starting next season. The Jayhawks and Wildcats will play Dec. 15, 2018, in Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, and Dec. 21, 2019, at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 32-7 and give KU 32 victories for the 11th time in school history, including the seventh time in the 15-year career of head coach Bill Self … Advance KU its 10th all-time NCAA Tournament Championship game, including its last four Final Four appearances (2003, 2008, 2012 and 2018) … Make the Kansas-Villanova series 4-3 in favor of the Jayhawks … Make KU 18-4 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season, and 11-0 at neutral sites … Make Kansas 108-45 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including 10-5 in national semifinals … Make Kansas 4-2 in NCAA Tournament games played in San Antonio, all in the Alamodome … Make Bill Self 448-95 while at Kansas, 655-200 all-time and 48-18 in the NCAA Tournament (38-13 while at KU)… Make Kansas 2,249-848 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
End Kansas’ season at 31-8 … Make the KU-Villanova series 4-3 in favor of the Wildcats … Make Kansas 17-5 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season, 10-1 on neutral courts … Make Kansas 107-46 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including 9-6 in the national semifinals … Give Kansas a 3-3 record in NCAA Tournament games played in San Antonio … Make Bill Self 447-96 while at Kansas, 654-201 all-time and 47-19 in the NCAA Tournament (37-14 while at Kansas) … Make Kansas 2,248-849 all-time.
DUKE LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- Kansas won its third-straight matchup against Duke and made the series is now 7-5 in favor of the Blue Devils.
- The win improved Kansas to 13-2 against members of the ACC under head coach Bill Self.
- The victory made KU 17-4 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season and 10-0 at neutral sites.
- KU improved to 20-9 in overtime games under head coach Bill Self.
- Kansas’ +15 rebound margin was its fourth-best this season and its best since outrebounding Omaha by 23 on Dec. 18. KU is now 11-2 this season when it outrebounds its opponent.
- The game marked the 10th time Kansas has played an overtime in an NCAA Tournament contest and the first since 2013. The Jayhawks are now 5-5 in those instances. The Jayhawks’ last overtime in a regional final was in 1966, an 80-81 double overtime loss to Texas-El Paso.
- KU saw itself go to overtime for the first time in 48 games (last was vs. West Virginia in Lawrence on Feb. 13, 2017).
- The game featured 18 lead changes, the most KU has seen in one of its contests this season and the most since there were 18 lead changes in KU’s overtime win over Kentucky in Lawrence on Jan. 30, 2016.
- KU’s 47 rebounds marked the most by a Duke opponent this season.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham was named to the Midwest Regional All-Tournament, marking the 16th time a Jayhawk has earned All-Region honors under head coach Bill Self.
- Graham’s six assists brought his season total up to 279, breaking the school’s single-season assist record. It was previously held by Cedric Hunter, who dished out 278 dimes during the 1985-86 season.
- RS-Sophomore G Malik Newman was named the Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player, becoming the fifth Jayhawk to earn the honor and the first since 2012 when Thomas Robinson earned the distinction.
- Newman posted career highs in points (32), free throws (11) and free throw attempts (12).
- In his seven postseason games in 2017-18, Newman has averaged 22.7 points per game, shot 54.2 percent (52-96) from the field, 54.9 percent (27-33) from 3-point range and pulled down 5.1 rebounds per game.
- Newman’s 13 points in overtime were the most by a Jayhawk since the 1988-89 season.
- Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk tallied the first double-double of his career after scoring 11 points and pulling down a career-high 10 rebounds.
- Mykhailiuk’s 3-pointer at the 16:38 mark of the first half set a new single-season program record, his 112th of the year. The shot broke Terry Brown’s previous single-season mark of 111 treys during the 1991 season.
- Mykhailiuk now has 236 3-pointers in his Kansas career, tying Kirk Hinrich at No. 4 on KU’s all-time 3-point list.
- Freshman F Silvio De Sousa’s 10 rebounds marked the third time in his last seven games he has pulled down double-digit boards. In the postseason, is averaging 7.0 rebounds per game.
SELF CLAIMS MOST NCAA WINS IN KU HISTORY
With Kansas’ win over Seton Hall in the second round March 17, Bill Self claimed his 35th victory in the NCAA Tournament as the head coach of the Jayhawks. That number passed Roy Williams, who notched 34 NCAA tourney wins as the head man of Kansas. Earlier this season, Self passed Williams as the second-winningest coach in KU history. Self’s 447 victories trail Phog Allen who picked up 590 wins in his 39 years in Lawrence.
KANSAS VS THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
Kansas has faced 16 NCAA Tournament teams in 2017-18 with a 21-3 record. Those include No. 2 seed Duke (1-0), No. 3 seed Texas Tech (1-1), No. 5 seed West Virginia (3-0), No. 5 seed Clemson (1-0), No. 5 seed Kentucky (1-0), No. 6 TCU (2-0), No. 7 seed Texas A&M (1-0), No. 8 seed Seton Hall (1-0), No. 9 seed Kansas State (3-0), No. 10 seed Texas (2-0), No. 10 seed Oklahoma (1-1), No. 11 seed Arizona State (0-1), No. 11 seed Syracuse (1-0), No. 12 seed South Dakota State (1-0), No. 16 seed Texas Southern (1-0) and No. 16 Penn (1-0).
Entering the Midwest Regional semifinals, Kansas was 10-1 this season versus the other 15 teams in the Sweet 16: 3-0 vs. West Virginia, 3-0 vs. Kansas State, 1-1 vs. Texas Tech, 1-0 vs. Kentucky, 1-0 vs. Syracuse and 1-0 vs. Texas A&M.
Kansas is the No. 1 seed for the 14th time since the NCAA Championship started seeding in 1979: 1986-92-95-97-98-2002-07-08-10-11-13-16-17-18. This is the third straight and eighth time KU has been a No. 1 seed under Bill Self. KU is 39-12 as a No. 1 seed, has won all 14 of its No. 1 seed first-round games and has advanced to three Final Fours (1986, 2002 and 2008) as the No. 1 seed. KU’s 51 games played as a No. 1 seed are its most in the NCAA Championship. Its No. 2 seed is next with 27 games.
KANSAS IN SAN ANTONIO
The 2018 Final Four will be Kansas’ second in San Antonio. Overall, the Jayhawks are 3-2 in NCAA Tournament play in San Antonio with all five games in the Alamodome. KU first lost to a Bill Self-coached Illinois team in the 2001 Midwest Regional Sweet 16, 80-64. Kansas then won the 2008 NCAA National Championship defeating North Carolina, 84-66, and Memphis, 75-68 in overtime. The 2008 Final Four is the only one with all four No. 1 seeds advancing. In 2011, KU defeated Richmond, 77-57, in the Southwest Regional Sweet 16 and then lost to VCU, 71-61, in the regional finals.
KANSAS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
- This year marks Kansas’ 47th NCAA Tournament appearance.
- Kansas’ 29-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, from 1990-2018, is the nation’s longest active streak and the best all time. North Carolina is second with 27 straight from 1975-2001.
- The Jayhawks’ five Final Four appearances since 2002 are tied for the most by any school in that span.
- Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 37-13 (74.0 percent) in the NCAA Tournament with 10 Sweet 16s, eight Elite Eights, three Final Fours (2008, 2012, 2018), one NCAA National Championship (2008) and one NCAA runner-up finish (2012).
- The average seed under Self is 1.9 with eight No. 1 seeds, three No. 2 seeds, two No. 3 seeds and two No. 4 seeds. Kansas has been a No. 1 seed in the last three NCAA Tournaments and has been a 1 or 2 seed each of the last nine events, starting in 2010.
- In the last 16 NCAA Tournaments, Kansas has a 46-15 (75.4 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), five Final Four (2002-03-08-12-18) and 10 Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08-11-12-16-17-18) appearances.
- Kansas’ 47 NCAA Tournament appearances are tied for third nationally: Kentucky (56), North Carolina (49), UCLA (47).
- Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 107-45. Entering the 2018 event, the Jayhawks’ 103 wins trail only Kentucky (124), North Carolina (123) and Duke (108).
- The Jayhawks will play their 153rd NCAA Tournament game on Saturday. Entering the 2018 event, the Jayhawks’ 148 games in the event ranked third all-time in NCAA history, behind Kentucky (174) and North Carolina (168).
- Entering the 2018 event, KU’s NCAA Tournament winning percentage of 69.6 percent ranks sixth all-time for a minimum of 20 games played.
- Kansas coach Bill Self is making his 20th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach, which is fifth-best consecutive string in tourney history by a head coach: 23 Dean Smith (1975-97), 23 Mike Krzyzewski, (1996-2018), 21 Tom Izzo (1998-2018), 20 Bill Self (1999-2018), 20 Roy Williams (1990-2009), 17 Rick Barnes (1996-2012). Self, Krzyzewski and Izzo are the only active streaks.
- KU is one of eight schools that have won at least three NCAA Tournaments. The Jayhawks won the NCAA crown in 1952, 1988 and 2008. The other schools are: UCLA (11), Kentucky (8), North Carolina (6), Indiana (5), Duke (4), Connecticut (4) and Louisville (3).
- Kansas has appeared in the Final Four 15 times, making KU one of just six schools to reach the Final Four 10-plus times: North Carolina (20), UCLA (17), Kentucky (17), Duke (16), KANSAS (15) and Ohio State (11).
- Kansas has won 12 games in the Final Four, which is tied for fifth best all-time: UCLA (25), Kentucky (20), North Carolina (18), Duke (17), KANSAS (12) and Indiana (12).
- Kansas won the NCAA Tournament in 1988 as a No. 6 seed. Jim Valvano’s 1983 N.C. State team also won the tournament as a No. 6 seed. Only two other teams has won the tournament with a lower seed – Villanova in 1985 as an eight seed and Connecticut as a No. 7 seed in 2014. In the 1990s, the lowest seed to win the tournament was the 1997 Arizona team, which captured the title as a No. 4 seed. The Wildcats upset Kansas, the top seed, in the Sweet 16.
CRADLE OF TOURNAMENT COACHING LEGENDS
There are 11 head coaches who have advanced to the NCAA Tournament who graduated from the University of Kansas. In fact, the 126 combined NCAA Tournament wins by those coaches are easily the most by graduates of any one school: Phog Allen (KU 1906, 10-3), Tad Boyle (KU 1985, 1-4), Tim Carter (KU 1979, 0-2), Frosty Cox (KU 1930, 2-4), Jerod Haase (KU 1997, 1-1), Dick Harp (KU 1940, 4-2), Danny Manning (KU 1991, 0-1), Ralph Miller (KU 1942, 5-11), Adolph Rupp (KU 1922, 30-18), Dean Smith (KU 1953, 65-27) and Mark Turgeon (KU 1987, 8-8).
JAYHAWKS WELL REPRESENTED ON ALL-BIG 12 TEAMS
Highlighted by Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte’ Graham, conference regular-season champion Kansas is well represented on the men’s basketball 2017-18 All-Big 12 Team selected by the conference coaches, the league announced March 4.
Graham was the unanimous selection for Big 12 Player of the Year, while redshirt sophomore Malik Newman is the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and Bill Self the co-Big 12 Coach of the Year, along with Chris Beard of Texas Tech. Graham was an All-Big 12 First Team selection, while senior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is a second team honoree. Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike is third team and junior Lagerald Vick honorable mention. Newman was also named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.
Historically, Graham is the 12th Jayhawk to be named his conference’s player of the year. This is the ninth time a Kansas student-athlete has earned the distinction in the 22-year history of the Big 12 Conference. With Frank Mason III winning the 2017 honor, this is the seventh time in league history a school has been named the Big 12 player of the year in consecutive seasons with Kansas holding four of those occasions.
Newman is the ninth Jayhawk to be named his conferences’ newcomer of the year and the first in the Big 12 era. Mykhailiuk, Azubuike and Vick are appearing on the All-Big 12 Team for the first time in their career.
Kansas has now won 18 of the 22 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 14, which is an NCAA record. Kansas’ 61 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 54 and Penn third at 37 (pre-2017-18). KU’s 14-straight league titles, all under head coach Bill Self, is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history.
KANSAS CONFERENCE REGULAR-SEASON TITLES
61 (*Tied for the championship)
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13) – 1908-09-10-11-12*-14*-15-22*-23-24-25-26-27
Big Six (12) – 1931-32-33-34-36-37*-38-40*-41*-42*-43-46
Big Seven (5) – 1950*-52-53-54*-57
Big Eight (13) – 1960*-66-67-71-74-75-78-86-91*-92-93-95-96
Big 12 (18) – 1997-98-2002-03-05*-06*-07-08*-09-10-11-12-13*-14-15-16-17-18
Here are some “nuggets” from the current Kansas conference regular-season championship streak:
- Kansas has won the title outright 10 times and shared it four times (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013). Overall, Kansas has won 18 of the 22 Big 12 regular-season titles, with those four being the only ties.
- In the current 14-year streak, including the four ties and the two-game edge in 2018, Kansas has won the Big 12 regular-season title by an average of 1.4 games. Twice, in 2009-10 and 2016-17, Kansas won the Big 12 regular-season title by four games.
- In the 14-year streak, the Jayhawks have clinched at least a share of the title six times on the road – 2006 (at Kansas State), 2008 (at Texas A&M), 2009 (at Texas Tech, though it was a loss), 2011 (at Missouri), 2013 (at Baylor, though it was a loss) and 2018 (at Texas Tech).
- When the streak began in 2004-05, current senior Devonte’ Graham was nine years old, while fellow senior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was six.
- In 2005, George W. Bush was beginning his second term as the 43rd President of the United States. Barrack Obama, the 44th President, would serve two terms and current Commander-In-Chief, Donald Trump, the 45th President, recently completed his first year in office, giving the streak three sitting U.S. commanders.
BIG 12 RUN NO CAKEWALK
Kansas once again finds itself near the top of the nation in the latest NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI). In Self’s first 14 seasons, KU has finished fifth or higher in the final RPI 10 times, including each of the last eight years. This season the strength of the Big 12 is quite prevalent. Kansas leads the league in RPI at fifth nationally and in strength of schedule at No. 2 (through games of March 11).
RECORD BOOK REVIEW
Here are some things to keep an eye on as several Jayhawks continue to make an impact on the career and single-season KU record books:
- This year’s KU team has crushed the single-season 3-point record, currently at 384. The previous record was 318 set by last year’s squad. KU also surpassed the 3-point field goals attempted mark, currently at 953.
- Senior Svi Mykhailiuk recently became the 60th player in KU history to score 1,000 points, currently at 1,171, which is 41st. He is the 15th player in Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas to reach the milestone.
- Mykhailiuk is first on the KU single-season 3-point field goals made list with 114. Against Duke (3/25) he passed “Downtown” Terry Brown KU single-season record with 111 treys in 1990-91.
- Against Seton Hall (3/17), senior Devonte’ Graham became the 13th player in KU history to record 1,700 career points. He currently sits 13th at 1,727 points. Graham is the third player in school history to tally 1,700 points, 600 assists and 190 steals in a career. Darnell Valentine and Kirk Hinrich are the only other Jayhawks to hit those numbers.
- Sophomore Udoka Azubuike is primed to become the most-efficient shooting Jayhawk in a single season. His 77.2 shooting clip is more than 12 percentage points better than Mark Randall’s record mark of 64.6 percent in 1988-89.
- Kansas claims 300th Big 12 win
- Kansas’ win against Oklahoma (Feb. 19) gave KU its 300th Big 12 regular-season victory. In 22 seasons, the Jayhawks have amassed a record of 302-63 for an 82.7 win percentage. Only Texas (225) and Oklahoma (213) have claimed more than 200 victories in the Big 12 since the league’s inception in 1996-97. Now in its 22nd year as a Big 12 member, Kansas has won 18 regular-season league championships and has never finished lower than fifth in the final standings.
POSTSEASON ACCOLADES ROLLING IN FOR GRAHAM
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham has begun to collect a wide variety of postseason honors as the 2017-18 season is in the midst of its final month. The senior became Kansas’ 23rd player to be a consensus First Team All-American, earning a spot on The Sporting News’ All-America First Team, the USBWA All-America First Team, the NABC All-America First Team and the Associated Press All-America First Team. Below is the ever-growing list for Graham’s postseason honors attained after the conclusion of the regular season:
- Big 12 Player of the Year (Big 12, Associated Press)
- All-Big 12 First Team (Big 12, Associated Press)
- Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Finalist (1 of 5)
- The Sporting News All-America First Team
- USA TODAY All-America First Team
- USBWA District VI Player of the Year
- USBWA All-District VI Team
- NCAA.com First Team
- Big 12 All-Tournament Team
- USBWA All-America First Team
- Citizen Naismith Trophy Finalist (1 of 4)
- NABC District 8 First Team
- NABC All-America First Team
- NCAA Midwest Region All-Tournament Team
- Associated Press First Team All-American
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
Kansas has posted an 8-3 against ranked foes this season. Under Bill Self, Kansas is 90-44 against AP-ranked opponents. In his 15 seasons at KU, Self’s Jayhawks have collected four wins or more over top-25 ranked foes in 12 of those seasons, which includes a 35-15 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. After its 85-81 overtime win against No. 9 Duke (3/25), KU is 16-3 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14. Besides Duke, this number includes the Jayhawks’ victories over Kentucky, at West Virginia and at Texas Tech this season. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-2 against AP top-10 teams inside Allen Fieldhouse, which includes KU’s current streak of nine-straight home victories against top-10 foes.
KU from downtown
Kansas leads the Big 12 with 10.1 3-point field goals made per game and 3-point field goal percentage at 40.3. Kansas has made 10 or more 3-pointers in eight conference games and 19 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks are 17-2 in games where they have made 10 or more threes.
This season’s team is the third KU squad to make 300 3-pointers in a season and the current Jayhawks have crushed the single-season school record for 3-pointers made, 384, and attempted, 953, surpassing last year’s record-setting marks of 318 made and 787 attempted. Three of the last eight Jayhawk squads have averaged more than seven treys per game, with both of the last two KU teams hitting an average of eight or more threes per contest.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has established itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. This year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 220 of KU’s 384 3-pointers, which is 57.3 percent of the team’s threes. Mykhailiuk has set the KU single-season 3-point field goals made record, currently at 114 and Graham is fourth at 106. It marks the first time two Jayhawks have made 100 threes during the same season. Graham is No. 2 on the KU career 3-point field goals made list, currently at 292, while Mykhailiuk is tied for fourth at 236 with Kirk Hinrich (2000-03).
Since the advent of the 3-point line prior to the 1986-87 season, no other Kansas duo has tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 496 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. At Oklahoma (1/23), Graham and Mykhailiuk passed Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich as the most prolific 3-point shooting twosome in school history. Boschee and Hinrich amassed 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02.
Graham and Mykhailiuk are also among the most-accurate Jayhawk pairs. They have teamed up to shoot 41.4 percent from beyond the arc in that same three-year span, the third-best mark among KU teammates who have combined for 700 or more attempts. Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers boast the best combined percentage with a 42.7 percent (385-of-901) clip coming during their three seasons in Lawrence from 2006-08.
Udoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.5 percent and he is the only player shooting 70 percent or better with a minimum of five shots made per game. Azubuike is on pace to break the Big 12 single-season record of 69.3 percent, set by Ricardo Ratliffe of Missouri in 2011-12.
History has shown that it isn’t easy to lead the nation in a statistic. In fact, checking the NCAA Records Book of annual leaders, only twice has a Jayhawk led the country in a season stat and both were KU All-Americans. KU legend Clyde Lovellette led the NCAA in scoring average in 1951-52 at 28.6 points per game. More recently, Thomas Robinson led the country in double-doubles with 27 during the 2011-12 season. Under Lovellette’s leadership KU won the 1952 NCAA National Championship, while Robinson led the Jayhawks to a runner-up finish in 2012.
With a minimum of 175 attempts, the Kansas single-season field goal percentage record is 64.6 percent by Mark Randall in 1988-89. Last year, Landen Lucas shot 63.1 percent from the field, which ranks fourth on the KU single-season list. On the NCAA level, with a minimum of five makes per game, there have been only 12 players who have shot 70 percent or better in a season, with the most recent being Devontae Cacok of UNC-Wilmington, who set the NCAA record last season (2016-17) at 80.0 percent.
Should Kansas win it would play the winner of the Loyola Chicago-Michigan game on Monday, April 2. Kansas is 3-6 all-time in NCAA Championship games winning the 1952, 1988 and 2008 titles. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. (CT) on TBS.
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