No. 12 Kansas and No. 2 West Virginia set for Big Monday clash
Senior guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
|GM 18: at West Virginia|
|8 p.m. (CT)|
|WVU Coliseum (14,000)|
|Watch – ESPN|
|Record||14-3, 4-1||15-2, 4-1|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 12th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (14-3, 4-1) will hit the road for a Monday night contest against the No. 2 West Virginia Mountaineers (15-2, 4-1) on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. (CT). The game, which will be the eighth-straight KU-WVU meeting with both teams ranked, is the first of four ESPN Big Monday contests for the Jayhawks this season. Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Holly Rowe (reporter) will call the action.
- There’s a four-way logjam atop the Big 12 standings with four highly-ranked foes at 4-1, including the ESPN Big Monday battle between No. 12/12 Kansas (14-3, 4-1) at No. 2/2 West Virginia (15-2, 4-1). KU and WVU are joined by Texas Tech (15-2, 4-1) and Oklahoma (14-2, 3-1) in the league standings.
- No. 2, West Virginia is the highest ranked Associated Press team Kansas will face since hosting No. 2 Baylor last year on Feb. 1, 2017, a KU 73-68 win.
- Under Bill Self (since 2003-04) Kansas is 18-4 against teams ranked in the Associated Press top five. KU has won the last six meetings against AP top-five opponents with four of those being Big 12 foes.
- The KU-WVU contest will be the eighth-straight with both teams ranked. Kansas has a 4-3 edge in that span with WVU’s three victories all at home.
- Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, Kansas is 61-20 all-time on ESPN Big Monday (35-1 at home, 26-19 on the road), including 42-12 under head coach Bill Self (24-0 at home, 18-12 on the road).
- Kansas is the only league school that has three players ranked in the top 15 in scoring in the Big 12. Senior G Devonte’ Graham is second with 18.4 ppg, while senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is sixth at 16.5 ppg and junior G Lagerald Vick is 15th at 14.9 ppg.
- Senior G Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I to average 18.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 2.0-plus steals and 3.0 or fewer turnovers per game.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 77.3 percent. He is 18-for-20 in his last three games. Azubuike is one of only three players nationally to shoot 70 percent or better.
- Kansas has had five different players score 26 points or more in a game this season. Malik Newman’s 27 points against Iowa State (1/9) joined him with Azubuike, Graham, Mykhailiuk and Lagerald Vick as Jayhawks to have scored 26 or more points this season.
- Kansas is one of only five teams in NCAA Division I to have five players averaging 10.7 points or more per game. KU as well as Duke, Gonzaga, William & Mary and Michigan State each have five players averaging 10.7 ppg or better.
- In Kansas’ last seven games, senior guards Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have combined 38.3 scoring average, including 53 of Kansas’ 80 3-pointers made. The Jayhawks are averaging 84.7 points in that span.
- Kansas is scoring 85.6 points per game. The last KU team to average that many was the 2001-02 Final Four team at 90.9 and before then, it was the 1989-90 team at 92.1 ppg.
Kansas is ranked No. 12 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released Jan 8. The Jayhawks average 85.8 points per game and their plus-15.6 scoring margin is third in the conference. KU leads the conference in field goal percentage (51.0) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.5). KU also ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring offense (third at 85.8), scoring margin, 3-point field goal percentage defense (third at 32.8), assists (second at 18.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.5). Kansas pulls down 36.5 rebounds per game, has a plus-1.2 rebound margin and averages 4.9 blocked shots per contest.
Senior G Devonte’ Graham leads KU with an 18.4 scoring average, which is second in the Big 12. Graham leads KU and is third in the Big 12 in assists (7.4), third in free throw percentage (88.1), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7), fourth in 3-point field goals made (3.2) and fourth in steals (2.0). Graham’s 55 3-pointers are second on the team to senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s 60. Mykhailiuk is second on the team, sixth in the Big 12, in scoring at 16.5 points per game. He is second in the conference in 3-point field goals made (3.5) and second in 3-point field goal percentage (48.0). Mykhailiuk’s 3-point field goal percentage is better than his field goal percentage (46.0). Junior G Lagerald Vick is next in scoring at 14.9 points per game, which is 15th in the Big 12. He is second on the team with a 6.0 rebound average, 14th in the league, and third with 31 3-pointers made.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike has a team-high four double-doubles this season and also leads KU with a 7.7 rebound average which is sixth in the Big 12. Azubuike’s 14.8 scoring average is 17th in the conference and he leads the NCAA with a 77.3 field goal percentage. Redshirt sophomore G Malik Newman rounds out the Kansas starters. Newman scores 10.7 points per game, which includes a career-high 27 points against Iowa State (1/9). He has made 27 3-pointers this season.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett has started the five games this season for Kansas. He averages 3.9 points and is third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per contest. Garrett is second on the team with 23 steals and his 1.4 thefts per game are tied for 10th in the Big 12. Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot leads Kansas with 30 blocked shots, including a career-high six at TCU (1/6). He averages 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and his 1.8 blocks per game are seventh in the Big 12.
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA
Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, with an enrollment of 31,287, West Virginia is 15-2 and 3-1 in Big 12 play after its 72-71 loss at No. 8/8 Texas Tech on Jan. 13. The Mountaineers are coached by Bob Huggins who is 244-121 in his 11th season at his alma mater and 834-332 in his 36th season overall. West Virginia averages 82.1 points per game and is second in the Big 12, ninth nationally, with a plus-16.8 scoring margin and scoring defense (65.4). The “Press Virginia” has West Virginia lead the Big 12 turnovers forced at 19.9, which is third nationally, and turnover margin at plus-7.9, which is second nationally. WVU also leads the conference in steals per game (9.9, sixth nationally). WVU averages 39.6 rebounds per game and has a plus-4.8 rebound margin. The Mountaineers also average 15.9 assists and 5.1 blocked shots per game.
West Virginia is deep with 10 players averaging 11-plus minutes per game. In a reserve role, junior F Esa Ahmad scored 18 points in his season debut at Texas Tech (1/13). Last season, Ahmad was second on the WVU team with an 11.3 scoring average. Senior G Jevon Carter is next in scoring at 16.8 points per game, which is fourth in the Big 12. Carter leads the conference with 3.6 steals per game and is fourth in the league with 6.5 assists per contest. Carter pulls down 5.4 rebounds per game and leads the team with 37 3-pointers made this season. Like KU’s Devonte’ Graham, Carter is on most All-America watch lists. Senior G Daxter Miles Jr., scores 13.2 points per game and he is second on the team with 62 assists and 28 steals. Sophomore F Lamont West is a starter who scores 12.3 points per game and pulls down 5.4 rebounds per game. West has made 28 3-pointers this season. Sophomore F Sagaba Konate leads WVU in rebounds with 7.8 per game which is fifth in the Big 12. He scores 8.9 points per game and is second in the league with 2.9 blocked shots per contest. Sophomore F Wesley Harris (6.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg) rounds out the WVU starters. Sophomore G James Bolden (9.8 ppg, 20 steals) is second on the team with 36 3-pointers made. Other WVU regulars include freshman F Teddy Allen (8.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and sophomore G Chase Harler (2.7 ppg).
The Kansas-West Virginia series started when WVU joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012-13, with KU holding a 7-4 advantage. KU is 5-0 against WVU in games played in Allen Fieldhouse and 1-4 at WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers have won each of the last four matchups at home against the Jayhawks. In 2017, Kansas went 1-1 against West Virginia with a come-from-behind overtime win in Allen Fieldhouse. KU head coach Bill Self is 7-4 against West Virginia, with all 11 meetings as Kansas’ coach. Bob Huggins is 4-11 all-time against Kansas, 4-7 while at WVU.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 15-3 or better for the four-straight year beginning in 2014-15 … Make Kansas 5-1 or better in conference play for the second straight season and 12th time in the Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas … Give Kansas its second-ever win at West Virginia, ending a four-game losing skid at WVU Coliseum … Make the KU-WVU series 8-4 in favor of Kansas … Make Kansas 4-0 in true road games this season and 7-1 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse … Make Self 8-4 all-time against West Virginia, 431-91 while at KU and 638-196 for his career … Make Bob Huggins 4-12 against Kansas, including 4-8 while at WVU … Make Kansas 2,232-844 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 14-4 on the season … Make Kansas 4-2 in conference play for the first time since the 2015-16 season and the fourth time in the Bill Self era, beginning in 2003-04 … Make the Kansas-West Virginia series 7-5 in favor of KU … Give WVU its fifth-straight win against KU in WVU Coliseum … Make Kansas 3-1 in true road games this season and 6-2 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse in 2017-18 … Make Self 8-5 all-time versus West Virginia, 430-92 while at Kansas and 637-197 as a head coach … Make Bob Huggins 5-11 all-time against Kansas, including 5-7 while at WVU … Make KU 2,231-845 all-time.
KANSAS STATE LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- The win made Kansas 14-3 or better for the four-straight year beginning in 2014-15 and 4-1 or better in conference play for the 12th-straight season, beginning in 2006-07.
- Kansas won its sixth-straight win against Kansas State and made the all-time series 194-93.
- Since the 2010-11 season the Jayhawks have been involved in 10 games when the winner was been decided by one point. Kansas is now 9-1 in such games. The Jayhawks are 23-10 in games decided by 3 points or fewer during that same span.
- For the first time this season the Jayhawks have won after trailing with five minutes remaining in the game. Kansas is now 1-3 in such instances this season and 28-74 in the Bill Self era.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham’s 23 points pushed him past Marcus Morris, Adonis Jordan and Richard Scott on the career scoring list. His 1,388 points is good for 26th in Kansas history and trails Wilt Chamberlin on the list by 45 points.
- Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk’s three 3-point field goals moved him past Tyrel Reed on the Kansas 3-point list. He now has 177 and sits in 11th position on the list trailing Adonis Jordan by two.
- With his 3-of-6 clip from beyond the arc, is now shooting 56.3 percent (40-of71) from 3-point range inside Allen Fieldhouse this season. Only three other Jayhawks have shot better than 50 percent from three inside Allen Fieldhouse in a season (with minimum of three attempts per game) – Kirk Hinrich (59.6%, 2001), Frank Mason III (58.8 percent, 2017) and Brandon Rush (52.8%, 2006).
- Azubuike shot 80 percent or better for the 10th time this season, going 8-of-9 from the field.
- Azubuike recorded a career high five blocked shots. He has nine blocked shots in his last two games.
- Freshman F Silvio De Sousa logged his first minutes as a Jayhawk, entering the game at 9:42 in the first half and playing a total of four minutes.
GRAHAM NAMED TO WOODEN MIDSEASON LIST
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham was named to the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s Midseason Top 25 list, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Jan. 11. Last season, KU’s Frank Mason III won the 2017 Wooden Award.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s. The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. The ten-man Wooden Award All American Team™ will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2018 John R. Wooden Award will be presented during the ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 6, 2018.
- Kansas ranked in the top 15 nationally in four statistics: field goals made per game (fourth at 32.2), field goal percentage (ninth at 51.0), assists per game (11th at 18.2), assist-to-turnover ratio (12th at 1.5) 3-point field goals made per game (12th at 11.0), scoring margin (12th at +15.6) and 3-point field goal percentage (eighth at 41.5).
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 77.3 percent, while senior G Devonte’ Graham is seventh nationally in assists per game at 7.4.
KU FROM DOWNTOWN
Kansas is averaging 11.0 3-point field goals made per game with a 41.5 3-point field goal percentage. KU’s 3-point field goal percentage leads the Big 12 and its 11.0 made are second. Kansas has made 10 or more 3-pointers in each of its last three games and four of its last five. The Jayhawks are 10-1 in games where they have made 10 or more threes this season.
Last season, KU set the school single-season 3-point record, making 318 from beyond the arc for 8.8 per game. 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.
SELF NEARING 200 BIG 12 VICTORIES
What has seemed like a nearly every-week occurrence lately, KU head coach Bill Self is nearing yet another coaching milestone. Now in his 15th year at the helm, Self’s Jayhawks have collected 199 Big 12 regular-season victories. That number ranks Self No. 1 among the league’s all-time coaches, 123 victories ahead of former Texas head man Rick Barnes.
On Kansas’ all-time coaches list, which features five Naismith Hall of Famers, Self’s 199 league wins is second behind Dr. Phog Allen, who collected 334 victories in league play over his 39 seasons when KU was a member of the Missouri Valley, Big Six and Big Seven Conferences.
During Self’s tenure, KU has never won fewer than 12 Big 12 regular-season contests in a season and has claimed 15 or more league wins on four occasions. The Jayhawks have won at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season crown in all but one of Self’s 14 years in Lawrence, his first season in 2003-04, which saw KU claim a runner-up finish that year.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is establishing itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. Already this year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 115 of KU’s 187 3-pointers, which is 61.5 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, only one other Kansas duo has tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 391 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich are the most prolific 3-point shooting twosome in school history as they netted 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02. Last game, Graham and Mykhailiuk passed Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers (2006-08) are who made 385. Graham is also one half of another sharp-shooting pair after he and Frank Mason III combined for the fourth-most threes (353) among KU duos during the last three seasons (2015-17).
Graham and Mykhailiuk are also among the most-accurate Jayhawk pairs. They have teamed up to shoot 42.0 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.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY
Kansas is 21-8 all-time on Jan. 15.
Jan. 15, 1986: Four players scored in double-digits to lead Kansas to an 81-70 victory versus Nebraska in Kansas’ first conference game of the 1985-86 season. Sophomore Danny Manning led the way with 21 points and six rebounds, while senior Greg Dreiling added 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Kansas went on to a 13-1 conference record to win its only Big Eight regular-season title under head coach Larry Brown. KU also won the Big Eight Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Final Four in Dallas. Kansas finished the season ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll with its 35-4 record.
UUdoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 77.3 percent and is just ahead Central Florida’s Tako Fall at 76.8 percent.
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 and 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.
KANSAS IN THE POLLS
Kansas men’s basketball enters this week at No. 12 in the Associated Press and No. 12 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ polls released on Jan. 8.
Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 171 AP polls dating back to Feb. 3, 2009, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. Kansas was preseason No. 4 by AP entering 2017-18. Under 15th-year and Hall of Fame head coach Bill Self, this is the 12th time that Kansas entered the season ranked seventh or higher in the Associated Press preseason poll and historically, the No. 4 ranking marks the 20th time since the 1992-93 season that Kansas entered the season seventh or higher.
At No. 3 in the coaches’ preseason poll, 2017-18 marked the fourth-straight year the Jayhawks have opened the season in the top five in the coaches’ poll. Kansas is ranked in the preseason for the 26th time in time in the 29-year history of the coaches’ poll. The No 3 ranking marked the eighth time KU has been preseason No. 3 or higher in the coaches’ poll. Additionally, it is the 12th time in the Self era the Jayhawks have been preseason seventh or higher, including each of the last six seasons.
At No. 3 in the coaches’ preseason poll, 2017-18 marked the fourth-straight year the Jayhawks have opened the season in the top five in the coaches’ poll. Kansas is ranked in the preseason for the 26th time in time in the 29-year history of the coaches’ poll. The No 3 ranking marked the eighth time KU has been preseason No. 3 or higher in the coaches’ poll. Additionally, it is the 12th time in the Self era the Jayhawks have been preseason seventh or higher, including each of the last six seasons. In 2016-17 Kansas opened the year No. 2 in the preseason coaches’ poll and ended No. 4.
BIG 12 RUN NO CAKEWALK
Kansas ended 2016-17 ranked No. 4 in the NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and its strength of schedule was 19th nationally. In Self’s first 14 seasons, KU has ranked 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’ RPI is 13th nationally but third in the conference behind Oklahoma (4) and West Virginia (12). Kansas does lead the league in strength of schedule at 10th nationally. Oklahoma is second at 17th.
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
Kansas is 2-2 against ranked foes this season with a wins over then-No. 7 Kentucky on Nov. 14 in the Champions Classic and at then-No. 16 TCU on Jan. 6 and losses to No. 16/17 Arizona State on Dec. 10 and No. 18 Texas Tech on Jan. 2. Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 84-43 against Associated Press ranked opponents. In his first 14 seasons, Self’s Jayhawks have collected four wins or more over top-25 ranked foes in 11 of those seasons, which includes a 29-14 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 13-3 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14. This number includes the Jayhawks’ victory over Kentucky on Nov. 14. 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.
CELEBRATING 120 YEARS IN 2017-18
Kansas Athletics will host numerous events throughout the 2017-18 season to celebrate 120 years of KU men’s basketball and other Jayhawk basketball milestones. The first celebration will be for 120 years of Kansas basketball. It will be held Saturday, Feb. 3 when KU hosts Oklahoma State in Allen Fieldhouse. Players, coaches and staff from every era of KU basketball will be recognized during the game; the weekend’s festivities will also celebrate the 30-year anniversary of KU’s 1988 NCAA National Championship team.
The 2017-18 season marks the 10th anniversary of the 2008 NCAA National Championship team, which will be honored when KU hosts West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 17. That weekend, which is also the NBA All-Star Game weekend, KU will retire the jersey of former Jayhawk All-American Cole Aldrich. Additionally, plans are in place to retire the jersey of 2010 Consensus All-America First-Team selection Sherron Collins on KU’s ESPN Big Monday game against Oklahoma on Feb. 19.
Including 2016-17, Kansas has won 17 of the 21 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 13, which is tied for the NCAA record. Kansas’ 60 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 54 and Penn third at 37. KU’s 13-straight league titles are the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history. Kansas is now tied with UCLA, which from 1967-79, also won the NCAA record of 13 straight, which was under two coaches. Kansas’ current run has been under head coach Bill Self.
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 Tech (1/2), Graham became the 31st player in KU history to score 1,300 career points. He currently sits 26th with 1,388 points and 12 points from becoming the 26th Jayhawk to reach 1,400.
- Against Iowa State on Jan. 9, Graham moved into third all-time on the KU 3-point field goal list, currently at 241. He passed Kirk Hinrich who made 236 threes from 2000-03. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) is first at 338 and Billy Thomas (1995-98) is second at 269.
- Graham is 241-578 (41.7 percent) all-time from 3-point range. His 3-point attempts are fourth on the KU career list and his 3-point field goal percentage is ninth.
- Graham has 475 career assists, which is 13th on the KU career assists list. Additionally, his 169 steals are 13th on the KU career list. Against Iowa State (1/9), he passed former teammate and KU All-American Frank Mason III who had 165 from 2014-17.
- 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%).
- The Jayhawks are pursuing their 14th-conseuctive Big 12 regular-season championship. A 14th-league title would break UCLA’s NCAA record mark of 13-consecutive conference championships from 1967-79.
Kansas returns home to face Baylor on Saturday, Jan. 20. The game will start at 5 p.m. and be televised on ESPN. Kansas leads the overall series with Baylor, 29-4, and has won the 10 match-ups though the last four battles have been decided by six points or less. The Jayhawks are 15-0 against the Bears in meetings in Lawrence, including a 14-0 record in Allen Fieldhouse.
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