No. 1 Jayhawks tip off 2018-19 with No. 10 Spartans Tuesday
Redshirt junior forward Dedric Lawson
|GM 1: vs. #10 Michigan State|
|Bankers Life Fieldhouse (20,000)|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 1 Kansas will open its 121st season of men’s basketball when it plays No. 10 Michigan State in the eighth annual State Farm Champions Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 6 p.m. (CT) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst) and Laura Rutledge (reporter) calling the action.
WATCH JAYHAWK GAMEDAY LIVE FROM INDIANAPOLIS
Jayhawk Gameday Live, a 30-minute pregame show and a 60-minute postgame show, will be live before KU’s Champions Classic match-up with Michigan State Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. (CT). Full postgame reaction and analysis will follow immediately after the game’s conclusion. The show will be available across the country on the ESPN app, as well as regionally on KMCI, Spectrum Sports, Midco Sports Network and Cox Cable. For more information on how to access Jayhawk Gameday Live as well as content from the Jayhawk Network, visit KUAthletics.com/JTV.
- Kansas is 3-4 in the Champions Classic with two wins against Duke and one versus Kentucky. The Jayhawks have won their last two Champions Classic contests. KU is 0-2 against Michigan State in the Champions Classic (67-64 in 2012 and 79-73 in 2015).
- No. 10 Michigan State will be the highest ranked team Kansas will play to open the season since the 1995-96 season when No. 2 KU defeated No. 8 Utah, 79-68, on Nov. 25, 1995, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Kansas went 4-1 versus top-10 teams last season and is 13-3 over the last three seasons (5-1 in 2016-17 and 4-1 in 2015-16). In Bill Self’s 15 seasons, KU is 38-20 against top-10 foes.
- The last time Kansas opened the season on the road was in 2016-17 when it lost to Indiana, 103-99 in overtime, at the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
- Kansas is 14-1 in season openers under head coach Bill Self.
- Kansas returns two starters and six letterwinners from the squad that claimed the Jayhawks’ 14th-consecutive Big 12 regular-season title, the Big 12 Championship title and advanced to school’s 15th Final Four.
- Junior center Udoka Azubuike is KU’s leading returning scorer (13.0 ppg) and rebounder (7.0). Lagerald Vick is the lone senior on the KU roster and averaged 12.1 ppg last season.
- Junior forward Dedric Lawson was one of six listed on the Associated Press Preseason All-America Team. Lawson is also the Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and is on the preseason All-Big 12 First Team. Azubuike was an honorable mention preseason all-conference member, while Quentin Grimes was the Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year and honorable mention all-league.
Kansas returns two starters and six letterwinners from last season’s 31-8 team, which won the Big 12 race with a 13-5 conference record. Besides the league regular-season title, Kansas also won the Miami Hoophall Invitational, the Big 12 Championship and advanced to the school’s 15th Final Four.
Senior Lagerald Vick and junior Udoka Azubuike return as the starters. Vick is the lone senior on the team and he averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season in earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors. Azubuike, an All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2017-18, is KU’s leading returning scorer at 13.0 ppg and rebounder at 7.0 rpg. He led the nation and set the KU and Big 12 single-season record for field goal percentage at 77.0 percent in 2017-18.
Sophomore guard Marcus Garrett (4.1 ppg, 3.4 ppg) started seven games last season. Other KU regular returners include junior forward Mitch Lightfoot (3.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 blocked shots per game) and sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa (4.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
Three transfers from last season will have an immediate impact in 2018-19. Redshirt junior forward Dedric Lawson is the Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and on the Preseason All-Big 12 First Team. He averaged nearly a double-double in his two seasons at Memphis before coming to Kansas. His brother, K.J. Lawson, is a redshirt sophomore who also came from Memphis. He averaged 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds at Memphis in 2016-17. Redshirt sophomore guard Charlie Moore started every game in 2016-17 while at California and averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists.
Three of Kansas’ 2018-19 freshmen were McDonald’s All-Americans last year. The Woodlands, Texas, guard Quentin Grimes heads the list as he is the Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. The other two are guard Devon Dotson, from Charlotte, North Carolina, and forward David McCormack from Norfolk, Virginia. Freshman guard Ochai Agbaji is a Kansas City product who has also shined in the preseason.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE
Located in East Lansing, Michigan, with an enrollment of 39,143, Michigan State officially starts the season against Kansas in the Champions Classic. The Spartans defeated Northern Michigan, 93-47, in exhibition play on Oct. 30. MSU enters the season ranked No. 10 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY preseason polls. Michigan State is coached by Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Tom Izzo who is 574-225 entering his 24th season at MSU. Under Izzo, Michigan State has advanced to seven Final Fours, winning the 2000 NCAA title.
Michigan State returns three starters and 11 letterwinners from last season’s 30-5 team which won the Big Ten Conference regular season with a 16-2 league record. Preseason all-conference selections sophomore guard Cassius Winston and junior forward Nick Ward head the returners. Winston averaged 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds last season, while Ward scored 12.4 points and pulled down 7.1 rebounds per contest. Junior guard Joshua Langford is the third returning starter who averaged 11.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in 2017-18. Senior guard Matt McQuaid (6.0 ppg in 2017-18) and redshirt senior Kenny Goins (2.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg) round out the projected MSU starters.
Michigan State leads Kansas 7-6 in the series that dates back to 1960. Kansas has won two of the last three meeting with a 90-70 win in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2017, in Tulsa and a 61-56 victory in the title game of the 2014 Orlando Classic at Disney’s Wild World of Sports during Thanksgiving weekend. Michigan State won the game in between, 79-73, in the 2015 Champions Classic in Chicago. MSU also edged KU, 67-64, on Nov. 13, 2012, in the Champions Classic in Atlanta.
The teams met twice during the 2008-09 season with the Spartans claiming both matchups: 75-62 on Jan. 10, 2009 in East Lansing and 67-62 in a come-from-behind effort in the 2009 NCAA Midwest Regional Sweet 16 in Indianapolis.
Before the two 2009 battles, the previous meeting had then-No. 6 Kansas defeating then-No. 3 Michigan State 81-74 on Nov. 25, 2003, in Allen Fieldhouse in Bill Self’s first season at KU. Some of the more memorable games include KU’s 96-86 overtime win against Michigan State in the 1986 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Sweet 16 game in Kansas City. KU then defeated North Carolina State to advance to the Final Four in Dallas. In the next meeting, Michigan State defeated Kansas 66-54 in the Great Eight in Chicago, Illinois, on Dec. 7, 1999.
In the last meeting, a KU 90-70 win in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, current KU senior Lagerald Vick played 25 minutes and had seven points and five rebounds. Current junior Mitch Lightfoot played one minute in the contest.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 1-0 for the 15th time in head coach Bill Self’s 16 seasons at KU … Make Kansas 4-4 in the Champions Classic, giving KU its third-straight win in the event … Give the Jayhawks at least one win over an AP top-10 team for the fourth-straight season and the 15th year in Bill Self’s 16 seasons … Improve Kansas’ record to 22-10 as the AP’s No. 1-ranked team when playing a ranked opponent and 12-3 since 2010 … Improve the Jayhawks’ record to 26-6 at neutral sites since 2015-16 … Make KU 1-2 versus Michigan State in the Champions Classic and 7-7 in the all-time series … Improve Bill Self to 448-96 while at Kansas, 655-201 all-time and 7-7 in his coaching career against Michigan State … Make Kansas 2,249-849 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 0-1 for the second time in the 16 years under coach Bill Self … End a Kansas two-game winning streak in the Champions Classic, making KU 3-5 in the event … Make KU 0-3 versus Michigan State in the Champions Classic and give MSU an 8-6 all-time series advantage … Make Bill Self 447-97 while at Kansas, 654-202 all-time and 6-8 against Michigan State in his coaching career.
CHAMPIONS CLASSIC HISTORY
Beginning in 2011, the State Farm Champions Classic is a neutral site doubleheader series featuring men’s basketball powers Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State. The inaugural Champions Classic was held at Madison Square Garden in 2011 followed by the Georgia Dome in 2012 and the United Center in Chicago in 2013.
Kansas is 3-4 in the Champions Classic, while Kentucky and Duke are 4-3 and Michigan State is 3-4. In 2011, Kansas and Kentucky’s Champions Classic meeting also became the matchup for the 2012 NCAA National Championship title game in New Orleans. The Wildcats defeated the Jayhawks, 75-65, in the Champions Classic.
In 2012, KU fell to Michigan State in Atlanta, 67-64. KU won its first game in the Classic with a 94-83 win against Duke in Chicago in 2013. In 2014, No. 1 Kentucky defeated Kansas 72-40 in Indianapolis. In 2015, Kansas lost to Michigan State, 79-73, in Chicago, and defeated Duke, 77-75, in Madison Square Garden in 2016.
In the 2016-17 season, Kansas defeated all the other three teams in the Champions Classic. KU defeated then-No. 1 Duke, 77-75, in the event and won at then-No. 4 Kentucky, Jan. 28, in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. KU completed the feat with a 90-70 win versus Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Tulsa on March 19.
Last year, the Jayhawks defeated Kentucky, 65-61 in Chicago. KU will face Duke in New York City in 2019, Kentucky in 2020 in Chicago, Michigan State in 2021 in New York City and Duke in 2022 in Indianapolis.
LAST TIME OUT
Jayhawk juniors Dedric Lawson and Udoka Azubuike combined for 35 points, while senior Lagerald Vick added 16 of his own to help No. 1 Kansas sprint past the Washburn Ichabods, 79-52, Nov. 1 in exhibition play. The Jayhawks outscored the visitors 44-24 over the final 18 minutes of the contest to complete close out their 29th-consecutive exhibition victory, including their 50th consecutive in Allen Fieldhouse.
For the second-straight outing, Dedric Lawson led all scorers with 18 points, going 4-4 from three-point range. Azubuike and Vick showed the Kansas depth as they totaled 17 and 16 points, respectively. Freshman guard Quentin Grimes led all Jayhawks with eight rebounds and was joined by four of his teammates to pull down five or more boards on the night.
KU ended the game with 23 assists on its 30 field goals. Sophomore Marcus Garrett led all players with five assists, with redshirt-sophomore Charlie Moore and Grimes tallying four dimes apiece.
- In Kansas’ two exhibition victories, redshirt junior F Dedric Lawson led Kansas in scoring (24.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.5 rpg). Included was a 31-point, 15-rebound double-double versus Emporia State (10/25). He led KU in scoring in both games, including an 18-point effort versus Washburn (11/1).
- KU’s two wins improved Bill Self’s exhibition record to 56-2 at Kansas, including 32-0 in Allen Fieldhouse.
- In their two exhibition outings, the Jayhawks hit 23-of-56 from beyond the arc (41.1 percent).
- Junior C Udoka Azubuike, who led the NCAA in field goal percentage last year at 77.0 percent, was 7-for-7 from the field in the two games.
- Senior G Lagerald Vick had a team-high eight assists in the two exhibition games. KU posted 45 assists on 63 field goals (71.4 percent) in the two wins.
- Sophomore G Marcus Garrett dished out seven assists with one turnover in the two exhibition contests.
- Redshirt sophomore G Charlie Moore and Azubuike each had a team-best three steals in the two exhibition contests.
- The Jayhawks committed 20 or more turnovers in both of their preseason exhibitions. Only twice over the past two regular seasons (76 games) have the Jayhawks turned the ball over 20 or more times in a game.
Kansas will host Vermont in a campus round game of the NIT Tip-off on Monday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. Kansas won the only series meeting with Vermont, 68-61, on Nov. 19, 2005, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas is 17-3 in the NIT and last participated in the event in 2002-03, where the Jayhawks finished fourth. Prior to this year, KU has played in five NITs in 1985-96, 1989-90, 1993-94, 1997-98 and 2002-03. KU has won three NIT titles in 1989, 1993 and 1997.
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