No. 2 Kansas and No. 5 Tennessee to battle for NIT title Friday
Junior center Udoka Azubuike
|GM 5: vs. #5 Tennessee|
|Barclays Center (19,000)|
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – No. 2 Kansas (4-0) will face No. 5 Tennessee (4-0) in the finals of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. (CT). The contest will be played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on ESPN2. Dan Shulman (play-by-play) and Jay Bilas (analyst) will call the action.
WATCH JAYHAWK GAMEDAY LIVE FROM BROOKLYN
Jayhawk Gameday Live, a 30-minute pregame show and a 60-minute postgame show, will be live before KU’s NIT Championship match-up with Tennessee Friday night at 7:30 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.
- The Jayhawks are coming off a 77-68 win versus Marquette on Nov. 21 in the NIT semis. Tennessee defeated Louisville, 92-81, in its semifinal contest.
- Kansas is appearing in its fifth NIT Season Tip-Off championship game in six trips to the event. KU has won three of the four NIT title games it has appeared in (1989, 1993, and 1997).
- Tennessee is the second top-10 team Kansas will play this season. KU opened the 2018-19 campaign with a 92-87 win versus No. 10 Michigan State in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis.
- Kansas has won 12-straight regular-season meetings vs. top-10 ranked opponents. Since 2015-16, KU is 14-3 against Associated Press top-10 ranked squads, including a 6-1 mark against top-5 ranked teams.
- Kansas is looking to go 5-0 for the second-straight season and seventh time in Bill Self’s 16 seasons at KU.
- Kansas leads Tennessee 2-1 in all-time meetings, with the last meeting on Nov. 28, 2014, at KU 82-67 win in the semifinals of the Orlando Classic, an event the Jayhawks went on to win.
- Kansas is vying to win its fifth-straight in-season tournament, beginning with the Orlando Classic in 2014. KU since won the Maui Invitational in 2015, the CBE Classic in 2016 and the Miami Hoophall Invitational in 2017.
- Senior G Lagerald Vick’s 32 points against Vermont (11/12) and 33 points versus Louisiana marked the 29th and 30th time in Bill Self’s 16 seasons at KU that a Jayhawk has scored 30 or more points.
- Vick’s back-to-back 30-point efforts earned him Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. The announcement marked the 73rd time in the league’s history a Jayhawk has claimed the Player of the Week award and the second this season (Dedric Lawson, Nov. 12).
No. 2 Kansas is 4-0 for the second-straight season and eighth time under head coach Bill Self after its 77-68 win against Marquette on Nov. 21. Through three games, Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring offense at 85.5, 3-point field goal percentage at 47.3 percent and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5. KU averages 88.3 points and has a +11.3 scoring margin. The Jayhawks make 8.8 3-pointers per game and have a +8.0 rebound margin.
The Jayhawks are led by senior G Lagerald Vick who ranks second in the Big 12 with a 20.8 scoring averaging. Vick also leads the team with 18 3-pointers made with all of those in the last three contests. Vick is second on the team with seven steals. Redshirt junior F Dedric Lawson is coming off his second double-double of the season with 26 points and 12 rebounds versus Marquette (11/21). He is scoring 16.3 points per game, which is tied for seventh in the Big 12, and his 9.8 rebounds per game are tied for second in the conference. Dedric Lawson is second on the team with 14 assists. Junior C Udoka Azubuike is next in scoring at 15.8 points per game and his 6.5 rebound average is second on the squad. Azubuike leads the team with nine blocked shots and a 66.7 field goal percentage. Freshmen guards Quentin Grimes (10.0 ppg, team-high 17 assists) and Devon Dotson (9.3 ppg, team-high eight steals) round out the Kansas starters.
Sophomore G Marcus Garrett (6.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg) is tied with Grimes for third on the team with 10 assists. Garrett is coming off a season-high 11-point performance against Marquette (11/21). Other KU regulars include redshirt sophomore G Charlie Moore (2.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg), freshman F David McCormack (2.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg), redshirt sophomore G K.J. Lawson (1.5 ppg) and junior F Mitch Lightfoot (2.0 ppg).
Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, with an enrollment of 28,894, Tennessee is 4-0 on the season after its 92-81 win against Louisville (11/21). The Volunteers are coached by Rick Barnes who is 61-44 in his fourth season at Tennessee and 665-358 in his 32nd season over. His 665 wins are 26th most in NCAA Division I.
Tennessee averages 82.8 points per game and has a plus-22.8 scoring margin. The Volunteers dominate the boards averaging 42.8 rebounds per game with a plus-7.3 rebound margin. They shoot 51.2 percent from the field and hold opponents to a 32.8 field goal percentage. UT are also impressive with 21.0 assists per game and force 11.3 turnovers per contest.
Junior F Grant Williams leads Tennessee in scoring at 22.5 points and rebounds with an 8.5 average. He has 15 assists and four steals. Senior G Admiral Schofield is nest in scoring at 14.0 points per game and he is also second in rebounds with a 7.3 average. Schofield leads the team with 19 assists. Junior G Jordan Bone scores 13.5 points per contest and he is just behind Schofield with 18 assists and he leads the team with five steals. Senior F Kyle Alexander (11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) leads the team with 11 blocked shots and he and junior G Jordan Bowden (7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) round out the UT starters.
In his season debut, redshirt junior G Lamonte Turner scored 13 points with five rebounds versus Louisville (11/21). Other Tennessee regulars include redshirt sophomore F John Fulkerson (5.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and sophomore G/F Yves Pons (3.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg).
This dates back to 2009 and Kansas leads 2-1. The two teams claimed home victories in a home-and-home series with Kansas defeating Tennessee, 92-85, on Jan. 3, 2009, in Allen Fieldhouse and UT posting a 76-68 win against KU on Jan. 10, 2010, in Knoxville. Kansas won the last meeting, 82-67, on Nov. 28, 2014, in the semifinals of the Orlando Classic. Kansas went on to win the event.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 5-0 for the second-straight season and seventh time in head coach Bill Self’s 16 seasons at KU … Make Kansas 20-3 all-time in the NIT Season Tip-Off and give KU its fourth NIT title … Give the Jayhawks their 13th-straight regular-season victory over a top-10 ranked team … Move KU’s record to 15-3 against AP top-10 teams since the 2015-16 season … Give the Jayhawks their fifth-straight in-season tournament championship, a streak which began in 2014 … Make Kansas 3-1 all-time versus Tennessee, giving KU a two-game series winning streak … Make Self 452-96 while at Kansas and 659-201 overall … Make Kansas 2,253-849 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 4-1 … Make Kansas 19-4 in the NIT Season Tip-Off, giving KU its second runner-up finish with the other in 1985 … Hand the Jayhawks their first regular-season loss against a top-10 ranked team since 2014, ending a streak of 12 games … Tie the Kansas-Tennessee series at 2-2 … Make head coach Bill Self 451-97 while at Kansas and 658-202 overall … Make Kansas 2,252-850 all-time.
LAST TIME OUT
A commanding second-half performance by forward Dedric Lawson sparked the Jayhawks in a 77-68 victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Nov. 21 inside Barclays Center. Lawson collected a double-double with a season-high 26 points and a team-leading 12 rebounds.
It was another shaky opening half for the Jayhawks who faced an eight-point deficit for the third-consecutive game, finding themselves trailing by 12 points, 42-30, with just over two minutes before the intermission. Marquette was able to build the lead with help from 11 first-half 3-pointers and headed to the locker room with a 47-38 advantage, the Jayhawks largest deficit at the break this season.
The Jayhawk the defense got to work in the second half though, while the offense quickly went into motion. Lawson shot in two of his 26 points within the opening 20 seconds after the restart to kick off a momentum-swinging KU run. Kansas amassed a 22-0 run over the first nine minutes of the half to turn what once was a 12-point hole, into a 13-point advantage, with 11:02 to play in the second frame.
From there, the Jayhawk defense took the reins, holding Marquette to a 25.9 field goal percentage in the second frame. Lawson added nine more points over the final 10 minutes of regulation.
- Kansas improved to 65-65 under Bill Self when trailing at halftime.
- After falling behind 42-30 at the 2:16 left the first half, the Jayhawks have now trailed by eight or more points in each of their last three outings.
- Kansas began the second half on a 22-0 run. In that span (first 9:15 of 2nd), KU forced Marquette to go 0-for-10 from the field and commit five turnovers.
- After falling behind by 12 points (42-30) with 2:16 remaining in the first half, Kansas outscored Marquette 38-14 over the next 14 minutes of game action to flip the score and give KU a 12-point lead (68-56) with 7:13 left in regulation.
- The Jayhawks committed just three turnovers in the second half and their eight total turnovers were a season low.
- Marquette’s 11 3-pointers in the first half, marked the most treys by a KU opponent since Villanova connected on 13 from beyond the arc in the first half of the Final Four semifinal contest on March 31, 2018.
- After shooting a 54.5 percent (18-33) in the first half, Marquette was held to 25.9 percent shooting (7-27) in the second stanza.
- RS-Junior F Dedric Lawson’s 26 points and 12 rebounds marked the 38th of his collegiate career and his second as a Jayhawk.
- The performance also give Lawson the second 20+ point outing as a Jayhawk and the 16th of his collegiate career, coming nine points shy of his career high (35 vs. Iowa, 11-26-16).
- Senior G Lagerald Vick went 3-for-5 from 3-point range and is now 18-of-25 (72 percent) from behind the arc in his last three games.
With its win versus Marquette on Nov. 21 in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals, Kansas is 19-3 in the NIT Season Tip off having won event three times – 1989, 1993 and 1997. The Jayhawks placed second in 1985 and fourth in 2002. In the early format, KU has advanced to the event’s semifinals and finals/consolation finals in Madison Square Garden all five times it has played in it.
Many talk about how tough the Kansas schedule is for 2018-19. One look at KU’s nonconference opponents shows that six foes were preseason selections in their respective league races, with an additional five picked for second-place finishes.
|KU’S NON-CON OPPONENTS IN
PRESEASON LEAGUE POLLS
|Big Ten||Michigan State||1st|
|WAC||New Mexico State||1st|
|Preseason polls included both those from coaches and media panels|
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
With its win over No. 10 Michigan State to open the season on Nov. 6, Kansas added to an impressive record against ranked teams during the Bill Self era. Under Self, Kansas is now 91-45 against AP-ranked opponents. In his first 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 36-16 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 17-4 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14, including 4-1 in 2017-18. Last season, KU’s top-10 wins included Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas Tech and Duke. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-3 against AP top-10 teams inside Allen Fieldhouse, which includes KU’s current streak of nine-straight home victories against top-10 foes.
Kansas returns home to host Stanford on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 4:30 p.m. (Central) on ESPN. Stanford is coached by former KU guard Jerod Haase, who is in his third season with the Cardinal. Haase played three seasons at Kansas from 1995-97. In a series that dates back to 1932, Kansas is 10-3 versus Stanford and the Jayhawks have won the last two meetings in each of the last two seasons: 89-74 on Dec. 3, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse and 75-54 on Dec. 21, 2017, in Sacramento, California.
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