No. 1 seed Jayhawks to face No. 8 seed Pirates Saturday
Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot
|GM 36: NCAA Championship – Second Round|
|6:10 p.m. (CT)|
|INTRUST Bank Arena (14,619)|
|Record||28-7, 13-5||22-10, 10-8|
WICHITA, Kan. – Coming off its 12th-straight opening round victory Thursday, No. 1 seed Kansas will look to punch its ticket to the Sweet 16 for the ninth time in 12 years when the Jayhawks meet No. 8 seed Seton Hall in the second round of the NCAA Championship Saturday inside INTRUST Bank Arena. The Jayhawks and Pirates will tip-off at 6:10 p.m. (CT) on TBS, with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Steve Lavin (analyst) and Evan Washburn (reporter) set to call the action.
- No. 1 seed Kansas won its 12th-straight NCAA Tournament opener with a 76-60 against Penn on March 15. The Jayhawks will face No. 8 seed Seton Hall, which defeated N.C. State, 94-83.
- At 28-7, Kansas has won 28 games for the third-straight year and ninth time in the Bill Self era, which began in 2003-04.
- Kansas is playing Seton Hall for the third time with the series tied at 1-1. The last time the Jayhawks and Pirates faced each other was Nov. 21, 2001, in the Maui Invitational. Kansas won the contest, 80-62.
- Kansas is making its 47th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 104-45 record in the event. The Jayhawks have advanced to 30 Sweet 16 contests, 14 Final Fours and three of their five national championships have been in NCAA Championship format (1952, 1988, 2008).
- Kansas’ 29-consecutive NCAA Championship appearances, beginning in 1990, is the active longest streak and the longest consecutive in NCAA tourney appearances 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).
- This is the ninth-straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. In head coach Bill Self’s 15 seasons, KU has never been seeded lower than a four seed.
- This season, Kansas is 18-3 against the 2018 NCAA Tournament field.
- Kansas has played five games in the NCAA Tournament in Wichita with a 5-0 record. The last time KU was in an NCAA game in Wichita was 1981.
- 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. Graham entered the NCAA Tournament ranked third nationally in assists per game at 7.5.
- Kansas saw all five starters named to at least one of the Big 12’s all-league teams. Bill Self was named the league’s co-Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his 15 seasons at KU and the second-straight year.
- Kansas won its NCAA-record breaking 14th straight, 18th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 61st overall conference regular-season title in 2017-18.
- Last week, KU won its 15th overall and 11th Big 12 Championship title. The Jayhawks have won eight league tournaments in the Bill Self era.
- At No. 4, Kansas holds the longest active streak for being ranked in the Associated Press polls, currently at 180 weeks.
Kansas (28-7, 13-5) is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press and No. 3 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released March 12. Kansas averages 81.3 points per game and has a plus-10.7 scoring margin. The Jayhawks shoot 49.6 percent from the field, including 40.3 percent from 3-point range where they make 10.1 threes per contest. KU also averages 16.8 assists, 6.7 steals and 4.2 blocked shots per game.
The 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year and on every national player of the year watch list, senior G Devonte’ Graham is coming off a 29-point effort in the NCAA Tournament opener against Penn (3/15). He is scoring 17.6 points per game for the season, which ranks in the top five in the Big 12. An all-conference first-team selection who has been named to three All-America first teams, Graham is among the conference leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), assists (7.4) and steals (1.7).
Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, an all-league second-team honoree, entered the week ranked second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (45.6) and third in 3-point field goals made (3.1) as he is the only player in the conference to rank that high in both 3-point stats. Mykhailiuk is averaging 15.0 points per game.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike, an All-Big 12 Third Team selection, leads the country in field goal percentage at 77.4 percent and is 42-for-49 (85.7 percent) from the field in his last eight games. Azubuike did not play in the Big 12 Championship due to a knee injury and played just three minutes in the NCAA Tournament opener against Penn (3/8).
Redshirt-sophomore G Malik 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, is averaging 13.0 points for the season and he is pulling down 4.9 rebounds per game.
Junior G Lagerald Vick, an honorable mention all-conference honoree, scored 14 points against Penn (3/15) and is averaging 12.1 points per game. He pulls down 4.9 rebounds per game and has made 51 3-pointers this season.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett averages 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per contest. He has started seven games this season and plays 19.8 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 53 blocked shots and averages 4.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Lightfoot leads KU with 15 charges taken this season. Freshman F Silvio De Sousa (3.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg) led Kansas with a 9.7 rebound average in the Big 12 Championship (March 8-10). He also averaged 10.0 points per game and shot 77.8 percent from the field in KU’s tourney title run.
ABOUT SETON HALL
Seton Hall (22-11, 10-8 Big East) is coming off a 94-83 win against N.C. State in its opening round of the NCAA Tournament on March 15. The Pirates are coached by Kevin Willard who is 150-113 in his seventh season at Seton Hall and 195-162 in his 10th season overall. Seton Hall finished tied for third in the Big East and climbed as high as No. 13 in the Associated Press poll on Jan. 8.
Seton Hall averages 79.5 points per game and has a plus-5.8 scoring margin. The Pirates pull down 38.2 rebounds per contest with a plus-4.4 rebound margin. Seton Hall shoots 46.9 percent from the field and makes 7.3 3-pointers per contest. The Pirates also average 15.7 assists, 6.3 steals and 3.5 blocked shots per game.
Senior G/F Desi Rodriguiez leads Seton Hall with a 17.9 scoring average. He is third on the team with a 4.9 rebound average and has made 55 3-pointers and has 31 steals this season. Sophomore G Myles Powell has made a team-high 90 3-pointers and scores 15.5 points per game. Powell is second on the team with 90 assists and has 33 steals. Senior G Khadeen Carrington averages a team-high 4.5 assists per game and he also leads the Pirates with 36 steals. Carrington scores 15.2 points per game. Senior C Angel Delgado leads Seton Hall with 11.5 rebounds per game. He scores 13.3 points per game and is third on the team with 89 assists and second with 22 blocked shots. Senior F Ismael Sanogo leads the Pirates with 29 blocked shots. He is second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per game and scores 5.6 points per contest. Other Seton Hall regulars include freshman G/F Myles Cale (4.4 ppg) and junior F Michael Nzei (3.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg).
THE KANSAS-SETON HALL SERIES
This two-game series dates back to 1988 and is tied at 1-1. Seton Hall won the first meeting, 92-81, on Nov. 28, 1988, in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska. Kansas won the second meeting, 80-62, on Nov. 21, 2001, in the fifth-place game of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 29-7 and give KU 29 victories for the third-straight season and eighth time in the 15-year career of head coach Bill Self … Advance KU its third-straight and 31st all-time NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 … Make Kansas 2-1 all-time against Seton Hall … Make KU 14-3 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season … Make Kansas 105-45 all-time in NCAA Tournament games … Make Bill Self 445-95 while at Kansas, 652-200 all-time and 45-18 in the NCAA Tournament (35-13 while at KU)… Make Kansas 2,246-848 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
End Kansas’ season at 28-8 … Make the KU-Seton Hall series 2-1 in favor of the Pirates … Make Kansas 14-4 away from Allen Fieldhouse this season … Make Bill Self 444-96 while at Kansas, 651-201 all-time and 44-19 in the NCAA Tournament (34-14 while at Kansas) … Make Kansas 2,245-849 all-time.
PENN LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- Kansas opened the game hitting just five of its first 20 shots (25 percent) but hit 53.7 percent (22-of-41) of its tried over the final 27 minutes of game action.
- KU trailed by 10 points (21-11) 12 minutes into the game, but closed the half on a 22-5 run to take a 33-26 lead into halftime.
- Kansas hit 88.2 percent of its tries (15-of-17) from the free throw line, tying for the Jayhawks’ best free throw percentage in a game this season when hoisting 15 or more attempts.
- The Jayhawks committed just eight turnovers, their second-fewest in a game this season. In their last 10 outings, Kansas is averaging 11 turnovers, with five of those the Jayhawks posting 10 giveaways or fewer.
- KU scored 14 points of eight offensive rebounds. In their last eight games, the Jayhawks have averaged 12.9 second chance points.
- Seniors Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk have both now each hit 100 3-pointers in 2017-18, marking the first time in program history two Jayhawks have hit 100 threes in the same season.
- Kansas has now hit seven or more 3-pointers in 30 of its 35 games, which includes each of the Jayhawks’ last 10 games.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham’s 29 points marked the most by a Jayhawk in an NCAA Tournament game since Sherron Collins scored 32 points in a first round win over North Dakota State on March 25, 2009.
- Graham moved into a tie with Kevin Pritchard at No. 13 on KU’s all-time scoring list, now with 1,692 points in his career.
- Graham’s six assists moved him past Darnell Valentine to No. 5 on KU’s all-time assist list with 610 career helpers.
- Graham has made at least one 3-pointer in 35-straight games, just one game shy from tying Jeff Boschee’s record of 36-consecutive games with a three during the 2002 season.
- Graham’s 3-pointer with 57 seconds remaining in the first half was his 100th of the season and makes him just the fifth Jayhawk in school history to hit 100 or more threes in a season.
- Graham’s 24 field goal attempts were the most by a Jayhawk since Perry Ellis put up 28 shots in KU’s triple overtime win over Oklahoma on Jan. 4, 2016. It was the most by a Jayhawk in a 40-minute contest since Sherron Collins tallied 26 shots against North Dakota State in 2009.
- RS-Sophomore G Malik Newman has now pulled down six rebounds in 14 games this season including each of his last three outings.
- Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds and was just one point shy from notching the first double-double of his career.
SELF AIMS FOR MOST NCAA WINS IN KU HISTORY
With Kansas’ win over Penn in the first round Thursday, Bill Self claimed his 34th victory in the NCAA Tournament as the head coach of the Jayhawks. That number tied him with Roy Williams, who also 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 444 victories trail Phog Allen, who picked up 590 wins in his 39 years in Lawrence.
KANSAS VS THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD
Kansas has faced 13 NCAA Tournament teams in 2017-18 with a 18-3 record. Those include No. 3 seed Texas Tech (1-1), No. 5 seed West Virginia (3-0), No. 5 seed Kentucky (1-0), No. 6 TCU (2-0), No. 7 seed Texas A&M (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).
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 36-12 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 48 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 WICHITA FOR THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Kansas has played five games in the NCAA Tournament in Wichita with a 5-0 record, including its 76-60 win against Penn (3/8). The Jayhawks first played in the city in 1971 at the Wichita State’s Levitt Arena, defeating Houston (78-77) and Drake (73-71) to advance to the Final Four in Houston, where KU finished fourth. In 1981, KU returned to the Levitt Arena, defeating Mississippi (69-66) and Arizona State (88-71) in the Midwest Sub-Regional. KU lost its following game to Wichita State in New Orleans in the first game of the Midwest Regional.
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.
- Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 33-13 (71.7 percent) in the NCAA Tournament with nine Sweet 16s, seven Elite Eights, two Final Fours, one NCAA National Championship and one NCAA runner-up finish.
- 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 43-15 (74.1 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), four Final Four (2002-03-08-12) and nine Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08-11-12-16-17) 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 104-45. Entering the 2018 event, the Jayhawks’ 103 wins trail only Kentucky (124), North Carolina (123) and Duke (108).
- The Jayhawks will play their 150th NCAA Tournament game on Saturday. Entering the 2018 event, the Jayhawks’ 148 games in the event rank 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 14 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 (14) 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).
- Five different Jayhawks have been named NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, including B.H. Born in 1953 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1957, who both won the award even though KU lost in the title game. Clyde Lovellette (1952) and Danny Manning (1988) also won the honor. Mario Chalmers won the Most Outstanding Player Award for the 2008 NCAA Championship.
- In 2007-08, Kansas became the fourth school to win a BCS game, and then play in the Final Four the same academic year. The 2007 KU football team won the FedEx Orange Bowl and the men’s basketball team captured the NCAA National Championship. Other schools to accomplish the feat include Ohio State (1999), Wisconsin (2000) and Florida (2007).
- When Phog Allen’s 1952 team won the NCAA title, Allen was 66 years old. That was the oldest age for the head coach of a championship team until Jim Calhoun (68) of Connecticut won in 2011. Allen became the fourth coach to win the NCAA National Championship at his alma mater, a feat that has been accomplished 14 times.
- 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).
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 7-2 all-time on March 17
March 17, 2017: National player of the Year Frank Mason III scored 22 points to lead Kansas to a 100-62 win against UC Davis in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Tulsa. Freshman sensation Josh Jackson added 17 points, while Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk scored 16. Landen Lucas recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. KU led 50-28 at halftime en route to the victory. KU senior Tyler Self, son of head coach Bill Self, drained a late 3-pointer to give the Jayhawks their 100th point, a bucket that would later be featured on the NCAA’s famous “One Shining Moment” video.
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 has crushed the single-season 3-point record, currently at 352. The previous record was 318 set by last year’s squad.
- Senior Svi Mykhailiuk recently became the 60th player in KU history to score 1,000 points, currently at 1,135, which is 44th. He is the 15th player in Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas to reach the milestone.
- Record Book Review (cont.)
- Mykhailiuk is third on the KU single-season 3-point field goals made list with 108. He is three from “Downtown” Terry Brown KU single-season record with 111 treys in 1990-91.
- Against Texas (2/26), senior Devonte’ Graham became the 15th player in KU history to record 1,600 career points. He currently sits tied for 13th at 1,692 with Kevin Pritchard (1987-90). Graham is the third player in school history to tally 1,600 points, 600 assists and 190 steals in a career. Darnell Valentine and Kirk Hinrich are the only other Jayhawks to hit those numbers.
- In the Oklahoma contest (2/19), Graham moved into second on the KU career 3-point field goals made list, currently at 287. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) holds the season record at 338.
- Sophomore Udoka Azubuike is primed to become the most-efficient shooting Jayhawk in a single season. His 77.4 shooting clip is more than 12 percentage points better than Mark Randall’s record mark of 64.6 percent achieved during the 1988-89 campaign.
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 begins its final month. The senior made the first two steps in becoming Kansas’ 23rd player to be a consensus First Team All-American, earning a spot on The Sporting News’ All-America First Team and the USBWA All-America First Team. Below is the ever-growing list for Graham’s postseason honors attained after the conclusion of the regular season (in chronological order):
- 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 First Team All-American
- 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-American First Team
- Citizen Naismith Trophy Finalist (1 of 4)
- NABC District 8 First Team
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
With its 81-70 win against No. 18 West Virginia in the Big 12 Championship title game, Kansas improved to 6-3 against ranked foes this season. Under Bill Self, Kansas is 88-44 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 33-15 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 15-3 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14. 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 made 10 or more 3-pointers in eight conference games and 16 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks are 14-2 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, 352, and attempted, 874, 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 209 of KU’s 352 3-pointers, which is 59.4 percent of the team’s threes. The prolific outside shooting from these two is nothing new as they continue to move up the all-time KU 3-point charts.
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 485 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 41.7 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 77.4 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.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR…
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is quickly moving up the school’s all-time career lists. Graham entered his senior season No. 45 on the KU scoring list with 1,075 points. Against Texas, (2/19), Graham became the 15th player in KU history to score 1,600 career points. He currently sits tied for 13th with 1,692 points.
- Against Oklahoma (2/19), Graham moved into second all-time on the KU 3-point field goal list, currently at 287. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) is first at 338.
- Entering 2017-18 with a 247-48 (83.7 percent) record since 2010, Kansas is the winningest program, by percentage, this decade: 1. KANSAS (247-48, 83.7%); 2. Gonzaga (239-47, 83.6%); 3. Kentucky (249-53, 82.5%); 4. Wichita State (233-53, 81.7); 5. Duke (238-56, 81.0%).
Should Kansas defeat Seton Hall, the Jayhawks would advance to their third-straight and 31st NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. KU would play in Omaha’s CenturyLink Center on Friday, March 23.
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