No. 13/12 Kansas ready for clash with Cornhuskers Saturday
Senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk
|GM 10: at Nebraska|
|Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000)|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 13/12 Kansas (7-2) looks to bounce back from consecutive losses when it faces former conference foe Nebraska (7-4) inside Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, Dec. 16. The Jayhawks, who will clash with the Cornhuskers for the 243rd time in the series that dates back to 1900, will visit Lincoln for the first time since 2011. The contest will tip-off at 7 p.m., and will be broadcast on FS1 with Joe Davis (play-by-play) and Donny Marshall (analyst) calling the action.
- The Jayhawks enter the Nebraska contest having lost consecutive games for the first time since the final game of the 2015-16 season versus Villanova and the first game of the 2016-17 season against Indiana. The last time KU lost consecutive games in the same season was 2013-14 (Dec. 7 at Colorado and Dec. 10 at Florida).
- Kansas ranks in the top-10 nationally in assists (second at 20.1), scoring margin (fourth at 21.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (sixth at 1.6) and field goal percentage (eighth at 52.0).
- Kansas and Duke are the only two schools in NCAA Division I that have five players averaging 11.6 points for better.
- Five Jayhawks are averaging double figures in scoring with junior Lagerald Vick leading the way at 18.7 points per game, which is third in the Big 12. Kansas is the only school in the league to have five players ranked in the Big 12’s top-30 in scoring.
- Vick is the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding. He is third in scoring at 17.9 ppg and tied for seventh in rebounds at 6.8 rpg.
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 78.4 percent. Through nine games, Azubuike is 58-for-74, which includes 35 dunks.
- Sophomore G Sam Cunliffe will make his Kansas debut at Nebraska. Cunliffe played at Arizona State last season starting ASU’s first 10 games before transferring to KU after the fall semester. Cunliffe averaged 9.5 ppg and 4.8 rpg for ASU.
- Kansas is 78-11 following a loss in the Bill Self era, which began in 2003-04. Since 2013-14, KU is 28-3 following a loss.
- In the Bill Self era, Kansas has only lost three-consecutive games twice and that was during the 2004-05 and 2012-13 seasons.
Kansas enters the week ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press and No. 12 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ polls. The Jayhawks average 88.1 points per game and their plus-21.7 scoring margin is first in the Big 12 and fourth in NCAA Division I. KU also leads the conference in assists (20.1), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6) and 3-point field goals made (11.1). Besides the aforementioned, KU ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring offense (second at 88.1 ppg), field goal percentage (second at 52.0) and 3-point field goal percentage (second at 41.0). Kansas pulls down 38.7 rebounds per game, has a plus-5.2 rebound margin and averages 8.3 steals and 5.0 blocked shots per game.
Junior G Lagerald Vick is averaging 24.3 points in his last three games and leads KU in scoring with an 18.7 scoring average. He has five 20-point efforts this season, including each of his last three contests. Vick’s 6.8 rebounds per game are second on the team. Senior G Devonte’ Graham is next on the team with 16.9 points per game and he leads KU with 69 assists and 21 steals. Graham also averages 4.1 rebounds per outing. Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk leads Kansas with 30 3-pointers made and averages 15.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest. Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 78.4 percent. He leads KU with a 7.4 rebound average and scores 13.9 points per game. Azubuike is second on the team with 14 blocked shots. Sophomore G Malik Newman rounds out the KU starters. Newman averages 11.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game and has made 17 3-pointers.
Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot leads Kansas with 17 blocked shots and he averages 4.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. His 1.9 blocks per game are fourth in the Big 12. Freshman G Marcus Garrett (4.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) rounds out the KU regulars.
Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, with an enrollment of 25,260, Nebraska is 7-4 on the season after its 75-65 loss at Creighton on Dec. 9. The Huskers are coached by Tim Miles who is 82-90 in his sixth season at NU and 365-210 in his 23rd season overall. Nebraska is 5-0 at home this season. The Huskers average 73.2 points per game and have a plus-2.1 scoring margin. NU pulls down 36.9 rebounds per game and also averages 14.7 assists, 6.9 steals and 5.6 blocked shots.
Junior G James Palmer Jr., leads Nebraska in scoring at 14.2 points per game. He is second on the team with 13 steals. Junior G Glynn Watson Jr., leads NU with 40 assists and 22 steals which complement his 13.9 scoring average. Junior F Isaac Copeland leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game and averages 12.7 points per contest. Senior G Evan Taylor (8.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and sophomore C Jordy Tshimanga (3.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) round out the NU starters. Taylor is second on the team with 35 assists, while Tshimanga is second on the team with 5.2 rebounds per game. Senior G Anton Gill has made a team-high 20 3-pointers in his nine games played. Anton scores 9.4 points per outing. Other NU regulars include sophomore F Isaiah Roby (6.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg), freshman G Thomas Allen (2.8 ppg), junior F Jack McVeigh (2.4 ppg) and senior C Duby Okeke (2.4 rpg).
This 242-game series dates back to 1900 with Kansas leading 171-71. KU has won the last 18 meetings, including last season’s 89-72 win on Dec. 10, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse. The 18-game winning streak started March 3, 2004. The Jayhawks have also won 27 of the last 28 meetings against the Huskers dating back to the 1999 season. The last NU win was 74-55 in Lincoln on Feb. 15, 2004, in the Bob Devaney Sports Center. KU is 63-44 against NU in Lincoln and compiled a 19-16 record in the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Kansas won the last seven meetings with Nebraska in Devaney. This will be the first meeting in the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Kansas went 31-3 against Nebraska as members of the Big 12, i.e. from 1996-97 until 2010-11 (27-3 in regular season and 4-0 in the Big 12 Championship).
Last season, national player of the year Frank Mason III scored 18 points to lead Kansas to an 89-72 win in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 10, 2016, in the first meeting between the two former conference foes since 2011. Mason was one of five Jayhawks to score in double figures with Josh Jackson adding 17 points, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk 15, Devonte’ Graham 14 and Landen Lucas 12. Kansas shot a blistering 64.7 percent in the first half, outscoring NU 54-34 in the first 20 minutes. Nebraska’s Tai Webster led all scorers with 22 points, while teammate Ed Morrow Jr., had 16 points.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 7-2 or better for the fourth-straight year … Make Kansas 79-11 following a loss in the Bill Self era … Extend Kansas’ winning streak against Nebraska to 19 games, a run which started March 3, 2004 … Make the KU-NU series 172-71 in favor of Kansas … Give Kansas its eighth-straight win against Nebraska in games played in Lincoln … Make KU 64-44 against NU in games played in Lincoln … Make Bill Self 23-1 against Nebraska, 424-90 while at Kansas and 631-195 for his career … Make Kansas 2,225-843 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 7-3 on the season … Be Kansas’ first three-game losing streak since the 2012-13 season … Give Kansas three December losses for the first time since the 1998-99 season … End a Kansas 18-game winning streak against Nebraska, including seven-straight meetings in Lincoln … Make the KU-NU series 171-72 in favor of Kansas … Make Bill Self 22-2 against Nebraska, 423-91 while at Kansas and 630-196 as a head coach … Make KU 2,224-844 all-time.
ARIZONA STATE LEFTOVERS & NOTABLES
- Arizona State became the first team to score more than 90 points in Allen Fieldhouse in a 40-minute game since Baylor scored 90 in 100-90 loss, in Lawrence on February 9, 2008.
- The loss marked the second time in the Bill Self era that the Jayhawks have lost two in a row with the second game being in Allen Fieldhouse. The last time was February 19, 2005. After losing to Texas Tech in Lubbock, the Jayhawks fell to Iowa State 63-61 two days later in Lawrence.
- This marked just the 25th time in the Bill Self era that an opponent shot better than 50 percent from the field. Kansas is now 6-19 in those instances.
- Attempting to reduce the deficit it saw most of the second half resulted in the Jayhawks attempting 38 3-pointers, setting a new Kansas record for 3-point attempts in a game.
- The loss marked the 12th time that Kansas has lost under Bill Self when scoring 80 or more points in a game.
- The last opponent to win by 10 or more points in Allen Fieldhouse was Texas on Jan. 22, 2011, when the Longhorns defeated the Jayhawks 74-63.
- The last Jayhawk opponent to score 95 points in regulation in Allen Fieldhouse was Kentucky on Dec. 9, 1989, a game which Kansas won 150-95.
- Arizona State’s 58 second-half points were the most against a Bill Self-led Kansas team. The last opponent to score 58 points or more in a half against Kansas was Texas Tech on Feb. 13, 1999, when the Red Raiders dropped 60 points on the Jayhawks in the second half in Lubbock, Texas.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham moved into 35th on the KU career scoring list, currently at 1,227 points. He also jumped Nick Collison (2000-03) to move into 19th on the KU career steals list, currently at 156.
- Kansas and Duke are the only two NCAA DI programs that can boast five players averaging at least 11.6 points per game.
- The Jayhawks rank in the top-10 nationally in assists (second at 20.1), scoring margin (fourth at 21.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (sixth at 1.6) and field goal percentage (seventh at 52.0).
- Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 78.4 percent.
- Senior G Devonte’ Graham is sixth nationally in assists per game at 7.7 and 29th in steals per game at 2.3.
- Kansas is averaging 48.4 points in the first half and is outscoring its opponents by an average of 18.7 points in the opening 20 minutes of its games.
Udoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 78.4 percent going 58-of-74 in his first nine games of the 2017-18 season.
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.
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is beginning to establish itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. Already this year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 56 KU’s 100 3-pointers. The torrid 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 three other Kansas duos have tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 332 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich are the most prolific 3-point shooting duo in school history as they netted 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02. Graham is also one half of another sharp-shooting pair after he and Frank Mason III combined for the third-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 41.0 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 17-2 all-time on Dec. 16
Dec. 16, 1995: No. 1 Kansas avenged a previous season loss to fellow blue blood Indiana with a 91-83 victory at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. Junior Scot Pollard notched his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The entire starting five for Kansas scored in double figures led by Paul Pierce who had 21, two points ahead of Jerod Haase’s 19 in the win. Jacque Vaughn also had 14 points, while Raef LaFrentz added 11 for KU. The Jayhawks would go on to finish 29-5 in 1995-96, winning the final Big Eight Conference regular-season title with a 12-2 league record and advancing to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
SELF MOVES TO NO. 2 IN ALL-TIME WINS AT KU
Bill Self surpassed yet another coaching milestone early this season. Now in his 15th year at the helm of the Jayhawks, Self has amassed 423 victories, which is second-most among the eight men who have roamed the sidelines in Lawrence. Self’s 423 wins surpassed his predecessor, Roy Williams, who reached 418 victories in 15 years (1988-2003) at KU. Self sits only behind the all-time winningest coach in Kansas history, Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, who amassed 590 victories in 39 seasons with the Jayhawks.
KANSAS VS. RANKED TEAMS
Kansas is 1-1 against ranked foes this season with a win over then-No. 7 Kentucky on Nov. 14 in the Champions Classic and a loss to No. 16/17 Arizona State on Dec. 10. Under head coach Bill Self, Kansas is 83-42 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.
KANSAS IN THE POLLS
Kansas men’s basketball enters this week at No. 13 in the Associated Press and No. 12 in the USA TODAY Coaches’ polls released on Dec. 11.
Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 167 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. Last season, KU entered the year No. 3 nationally in the Associated Press poll and ended at No. 3.
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.
In Bill Self’s 14 seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense nine times and finished no lower than fourth. Nationally, Self-coached Jayhawks have ranked eighth or higher in all but four seasons in field goal percentage defense and have ranked in the top five on eight occasions, including first in 2005-06 and 2012-13.
After posting its highest field goal percentage defense numbers in Self’s 14 seasons a year ago (42 percent), the stingy KU defense appears to be back on the right track, having allowed its first nine opponents to shoot just 38.6 percent. That number is the lowest for KU since the Jayhawks held opponents to an NCAA-leading 36.1 in 2012-13.
PRESEASON NATIONAL HONORS
Kansas guards Devonte’ Graham and Malik Newman have both been named to preseason watch lists by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Graham is one of 20 candidates for the 2018 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, while Newman is one of 20 on the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch lists for each award.
Named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic and Holy Cross guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor, now in its 15th year, recognizes the top point guard in NCAA Division I men’s basketball. Graham is vying to become the second-straight Jayhawk to win the award as Frank Mason III was KU’s first-ever Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award winner last season.
Named after Hall of Famer and 1959 NCAA Final Four Most Valuable Player Jerry West, the annual honor, in its fourth year, recognizes the top shooting guard in Division I men’s college basketball. On Nov. 6, the USBWA named Graham one of 32 on the Oscar Robertson Trophy Watch List, an award also won by Mason last season.
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.
BILL SELF INDUCTED INTO NAISMITH BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME
Kansas head coach Bill Self, along with 10 others, was officially enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Sept. 8 at Springfield Symphony Hall in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
Joining Self in the evening’s enshrinement festivities were the other 10 Class of 2017 inductees: Zack Clayton (player, posthumous), Nick Galis (player), Robert Hughes (coach), Mannie Jackson (contributor), Tom Jernstedt (contributor), Jerry Krause (contributor, posthumous), Tracy McGrady (player), Rebecca Lobo (contributor), George McGinnis (player) and Muffet McGraw (coach).
Self becomes the 19th person associated with Kansas basketball to be inducted, the last being coaching legend John McClendon, who was inducted in 2016 for the second time. As only the eighth coach in KU history, Self is the fifth KU mentor to be inducted into Hall joining James Naismith, Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, Larry Brown and Roy Williams. Kansas has the highest percentage of coaches in the Hall of Fame, 63 percent, than any other school. KU’s five matches North Carolina’s five for the most inducted in college coaching with St. John’s third with four.
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 TO LOOK FOR IN 2017-18
- 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. Through nine games, Graham is No. 35, currently at 1,227 points. He is 88 points from KU’s top 30 in scoring. Against Syracuse on Dec. 2, he became only the sixth player in KU history to have made 200 threes for his career. Graham is 212-517 (41.0 percent) all-time from 3-point range. His 3-pointers made and attempted are fifth most in KU history. He is 20 3-pointers made from fourth and 29 attempted from fourth. Graham has 419 career assists and is two from cracking the top15. Additionally, Graham has surpassed the 150 plateau in steals and his 156 are 19th on the KU career list.
- 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.
- Should Kansas advance to the 2018 NCAA Tournament it would be its 29th-consecutive NCAA tourney appearance. The current 28 straight is the NCAA Tournament longest -consecutive appearance streak with North Carolina (1975-2001) second at 27.
Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse to host Omaha on Monday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m., on ESPN2 with Jason Benetti and Dan Dakich calling the action. This will be the first meeting between Kansas and Omaha in men’s basketball.
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