No. 3/4 Kansas (25-5, 15-2) plays host to Texas (19-11, 9-8) in its regular-season home finale Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Since 1983-84, Kansas has won 28-straight home finales, including 27 consecutive Senior Nights. In 2006-07, Kansas did not have a senior on its roster. Kansas won its seventh straight-game with a 70-58 win at Oklahoma State Monday. Texas brings a two-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse after its 72-64 victory against Oklahoma Wednesday.
Kansas' seniors who will be honored include Jordan Juenemann (Hays, Kan.), Conner Teahan (Leawood, Kan.) and Tyshawn Taylor (Hoboken, N.J.). Additionally, KU senior managers Kevin Glatt (Overland Park, Kan.) and Taeler Nieder (Lawrence, Kan.) will also be recognized Saturday.
With its victory at OSU, Kansas won its school-record eighth-straight, 12th Big 12 and 55th overall conference title. KU's 55 league titles are the most in NCAA Division I. KU's eight-straight titles are the nation's longest active streak in NCAA Division I.
No. 3/4 Kansas is 15-0 at home, 8-2 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season. KU's current seven-game winning streak is the second longest of the season. KU averages 74.9 points per game and allows 61.1 for a +13.8 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12. KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +6.3 and field goal percentage defense at 38.2, blocked shots at 5.7 and is second in assists per game at 15.8.
The Jayhawks are led by national player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double with 17.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game after his 17 points and 11 rebounds at Oklahoma State Monday. A four-time Big 12 Player of the Week and one time Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week this season, Robinson has 12 double-doubles in 17 conference games, including seven of his last nine. His league-leading 21 double-doubles and his 11.8 rpg average rank second nationally.
An All-American candidate, senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, scored 27 points at Oklahoma State and averages 17.1 ppg for the season, 18.4 ppg in Big 12 play. He leads KU with 148 assists and 53 three-pointers made in 2011-12. Taylor was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 16. Junior center Jeff Withey averages 9.2 points and 6.2 rebounds for the season and is having a solid conference campaign in which he is scoring 10.4 points and pulling down 6.6 rebounds per game. Named the Big 12 and USBWA national player of the week on Feb. 13, he leads the conference with 3.2 blocked shots per game and 3.6 in league games.
A lockdown defender, junior guard Travis Releford, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, averages 9.1 ppg in league play and 8.7 in all games. Junior guard Elijah Johnson leads Kansas with 46 steals to complement his 8.9 scoring average. Johnson is second on the team with 47 three-pointers made and 116 assists.
Senior guard Conner Teahan, an Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree, is third on the team with 46 three-pointers this season after his 4-for-4 effort from beyond the arc against Missouri on Feb. 25. Teahan averages 6.4 points per game. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), sophomore forward Justin Wesley (1.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.0 ppg, 19 assists) are also KU regulars.
Located in Austin, Texas, with an enrollment of 48,167, Texas is 19-11 on the season and 9-8 in Big 12 play. The Longhorns are coached by Rick Barnes who is 341-134 in his 14th season at UT and 543-268 in his 25th season overall. Texas is 15-3 at home, 4-6 on the road and 0-2 on neutral courts in 2011-12. UT averages 73.7 points per game and gives up 66.2 for a +7.5 scoring margin. The Longhorns make a league-high 18.2 free throws per game and are outrebounding foes by a +3.3 margin. Texas also averages 7.0 steals per contest in 2011-12.
Junior guard J'Covan Brown currently leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.6 points per game. He has made a team-high 74 three-pointers and also leads the team with 40 steals. His 116 assists are second on the team and he is making 85.2 percent from the free throw line. Freshman guard Myck Kabongo is a starter who leads UT with 158 assists and his 5.3 assists per game average ranks fourth in the Big 12. Kabongo scores 10.1 points per contest and is second on the team with 37 steals.
Freshman guard Julien Lewis, senior forward/center Alexis Wangmene and senior forward/center Clint Chapman are also starters for UT. Lewis, who did not play against Oklahoma Wednesday due to a sore back, averages 7.6 points and is second on the team with 30 three-pointers made. Wangmene, brother of former Jayhawk Chase Buford, averages 4.7 points and 4.8 rebounds and is second on the squad with 25 blocked shots.
Chapman leads UT with 5.3 rebounds per game and 47 blocked shots in his 30 games this season. He averages 7.1 points per outing. Freshman guard Sheldon McClellan comes off the bench and is UT's second-leading scorer at 11.6 points per game in 2011-12. He pulls down 3.4 rebounds per game.
Freshman forward Jonathan Holmes, who has 14 starts, scores 7.3 points per game and his 5.0 rebounds per game are second on the team. Freshman forward Jaylen Bond averages 4.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game to round out the UT regulars.
The Kansas-Texas Series
Year-in and year-out, the Kansas-Texas battles are some of the best in the Big 12 and nationally in a series that dates back to 1938. Kansas leads 19-7 and has won five of the last six meetings. These two teams have met in four of the last six Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship title games with KU claiming all four match-ups: 80-68 in Dallas in 2006, 88-84 in overtime in Oklahoma City in 2007, 84-74 in Kansas City in 2008 and 85-73 in Kansas City in 2011.
Kansas is 9-1 against Texas in games played in Lawrence, including 7-1 in Allen Fieldhouse. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas holds a 15-6 record against Texas with an 11-5 mark in regular-season play and 4-1 record in the Big 12 Championship. Last year, Texas defeated Kansas 74-63 on Jan. 22, 2011, to end KU's school-record 69-game home court winning streak.
Earlier this season, Kansas defeated Texas 69-66 on Jan. 21 in Austin, Texas. The Jayhawks were led by a 22-point, four-assist effort by senior Tyshawn Taylor. Thomas Robinson came up one rebound shy of a double-double as he finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jeff Withey was the only other Jayhawk in double-figures with 12 points. The Longhorns were paced by J'Covan Brown's 24 points. Kansas led by 12 at halftime, but a late Longhorn rally kept the game tight down the stretch.
--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.2, which is in the top 10 nationally. KU has led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense in five of the last six seasons, all under head coach Bill Self.
--KU leads the conference in rebound margin at +6.3. The Jayhawks have led the Big 12 in rebound margin in each of the last five seasons, all under Bill Self.
--Kansas also leads the Big 12 in rebound defense (30.9) and blocked shots (5.7). KU also ranks in the top three in scoring (second at 74.9), scoring defense (second at 61.1), scoring margin (+13.8), field goal percentage (second at 48.4), rebounding (third at 37.2), assists (second at 15.8), steals (third at 7.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.2).
--Kansas' 21-game home court winning streak leads the Big 12 and is tied for fourth nationally. The 21-game streak followed a school-record 69-game home court winning streak. KU is 90-1 in its last 91 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
--KU has tied or outrebounded 24 of 30 opponents this season, including nine of the last 13 games. KU has nine games with a +10 rebound margin, including a season-best 50-21 (+29) vs. Oklahoma State (2/11).
--Six different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Conner Teahan, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey - have led Kansas in scoring through 30 games.
--KU has shot a higher percentage than 28 of 30 opponents this season. KU shot 56.3 percent against Texas Tech (2/18) and has shot 50 percent or better in five of its last nine games and 13 times this season.
--Kansas has blocked five or more shots in 15 games this season, including a season-high 13 against Florida Atlantic (11/30). KU had 12 blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6) and Texas A&M (1/23) and 10 versus Iowa State (1/14).
--After its 87-86 overtime win against No. 3 Missouri (2/25), Kansas is 5-3 against ranked teams in 2011-12, 31-11 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 40-21 against ranked foes under Bill Self (since 2003-04).
--Kansas' 19-point deficit overcome against Missouri was the largest since KU was down 22 points to Texas on March 11, 2007.
--Kansas has 149 dunks to its opponents' 47 through 30 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 63 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 33.
--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 21st double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds at Oklahoma State Monday, has been mentioned on many national player of the year lists. He has seven double-doubles in his last nine games and 12 DDs in 17 conference games. Robinson has scored 20-plus points on 10 occasions in 2011-12. A four-time Big 12 Player of the Week and one time Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week this season, Robinson had career highs with 30 points and 21 rebounds against North Dakota (12/31). Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 Conference this season that is averaging a double-double with 17.8 ppg and 11.8 rpg. His 21 double-doubles rank fourth on KU's single-season list and, like his 11.8 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12. Both are second nationally. Robinson's 17.8 points are third in the league and he ranks second in field goal percentage (53.1) and ninth in blocked shots (1.1).
--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has five 20-point efforts in his last nine games, including 27 points at Oklahoma State Monday. He has 10 20-point games in 2011-12. Taylor scored a career-high 28 points in back-to-back games against Iowa State (1/14) and Baylor (1/16). Named Big 12 Player of the Week Jan 16, he is second on the team with 17.1 points per game and leads KU in conference game scoring at 18.4 ppg. In all games, Taylor leads KU with 148 assists, 53 three-pointers made and a 43.8 three-point field goal percentage. Taylor's 17.1 ppg average is fourth in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is fifth in field goal percentage at 48.5, fifth in three-point field goal percentage at 43.8, tied for 11th in three-pointers made at 1.8, sixth in assists at 4.9 and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. Taylor underwent knee surgery on Dec. 11 but returned to start the Davidson contest on Dec. 19, when he scored 15 points and had seven assists.
--Junior JEFF WITHEY is averaging 10.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots in Big 12 play and 9.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 3.2 blocks in all games this season. Withey was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week and the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week after he scored a career-high 25 points at No. 6 Baylor (2/8) and had 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against Oklahoma State (2/11). Withey has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 14 games, including four double-doubles. Withey leads the Big 12 with 3.2 blocked shots per game, which ranks in the top 10 nationally. He has a Big 12-best 62 blocked shots in league play (3.6 bpg average). Withey has multiple blocks in 12 of his last 17 games. His 6.2 rebound average is ninth in the Big 12, while his 82.9 free throw percentage is seventh in the conference.
--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON tied his season high with eight assists, and no turnovers, against No. 3 Missouri (2/25). Johnson scored 21 points at Texas A&M (2/22) which were just two shy of his career-high 23 against UCLA (11/22) earlier this season. He has 12 games with 10 or more points this season. Johnson is second on the team with 47 three-pointers made and has made multiple threes in two of his last three games and 13 times this season. He has started every game this season for KU, is the team leader with 46 steals and is second on the team in assists with 116. Johnson is tied for eighth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.9, tied third in steals at 1.5, fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.0 and 14th in three-pointers made at 1.6.
--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD, the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, pulled down seven rebounds at Texas A&M (2/22) and has scored in double figures 14 times this season. He is fifth on the team in scoring with 8.7 ppg in all games and is scoring 9.1 ppg in Big 12 contests. Releford opened Big 12 play with his first career double-double, recording 16 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas State (1/4). Both were career highs at the time. He then scored 28 points at Oklahoma (1/7). A lockdown defender, Releford has 35 steals this season.
--Senior CONNER TEAHAN scored 12 points against No. 3 Missouri (2/25) on 4-for-4 shooting with all shots from three-point range. The four threes tied his career high, which he has done three times this season, and his 12 points were a conference career high. He has made 46 three-pointers, which is third most on the team. In his first career start, Teahan scored a career-high 14 points versus LBSU (12/6) and has chipped in 13 points twice (at USC, 12/22 and vs. Howard, 12/29). He ranks 15th in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 36.8 percent. Teahan was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team on Feb. 16.
--Junior KEVIN YOUNG led Kansas in blocked shots with four against No. 3 Missouri (2/25). He also pulled down a KU career-best eight rebounds against the Tigers. Young averages 10.9 minutes per game. He scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting against Texas Tech (2/18). It marked the third time this season Young has scored in double figures. His best scoring performance of the season came against then-No. 2 Ohio State (12/10) with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He has pulled down four or more rebounds eight times this season. In 2011-12, Young is shooting 53.4 percent (39-for-73) from the field.
In the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press and No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Feb. 27. This is Kansas' eighth appearance in the Top 10 of either poll in 2011-12. KU has been ranked in each of the last 64 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. Included are 47 times when the Jayhawks have appeared in the AP Top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 65 coaches' polls with 50 appearances in the Top 10. Kansas has faced six currently-ranked teams and is 4-3 against ranked foes (at tip) in 2011-12.
With its eighth-straight Big 12 regular-season championship and Gonzaga not winning the 2012 Big West title, Kansas is now the nation's active consecutive conference regular-season champion leader. Kansas' 55 conference regular-season titles are first among NCAA Division I schools.
Taylor To Join Elite Company
Senior Tyshawn Taylor continues to etch his name into the all-time Kansas career lists. A four-year starter, Kansas is 120-19 (86.3 percent) during Taylor's time in Lawrence with four Big 12 regular-season titles, two Big 12 Championship crowns and trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. His 118 all-time KU starts are tied for eighth all-time with Kirk Hinrich (2000-03). Statistically, against Duke, Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points. He currently sits 22nd with 1,445 points. He is eighth on the KU all-time assists list with 537. Taylor also ranks tied for 17th (Nick Collison, 2000-03) with 155 career steals and his 39.2 percent career three-point percentage is 16th best at Kansas. Taylor is only the third player in KU history with the combination of at least 1,400 points, 500 assists and 150 steals in his career. He is in the company of KU greats Darnell Valentine (1,821 points, 609 assists, 336 steals) and Kirk Hinrich (1,753 points, 668 assists, 206 steals).
Robinson Named to Midseason National Player of the Year Lists
On Feb. 29, Kansas junior Thomas Robinson was named to the Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Midseason Watch List, announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Robinson is one of 30 players from around the country named to the prestigious watch list. The Naismith Men's Basketball Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T Midseason 30 Watch List was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the 2011-12 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy, presented by AT&T, will be awarded at the 2012 NCAA Men's Final Four in New Orleans.
On Feb. 6, Robinson was named one of 20 players by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for its 2012 Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List. Members of the association's board of directors chose the players to be included on the list as contenders for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, to be presented to the national player of the year by its namesake in New Orleans at the USBWA's College Basketball Awards Breakfast on March 30.
Robinson was named a John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 candidate on Jan. 17, by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is made up of 25 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and the beginning of January, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
KU Seniors Named Academic All-Big 12
Kansas seniors Jordan Juenemann and Conner Teahan were named to the Academic All-Big 12 Team announced Feb. 16. Juenemann was selected as one of 11 members of the first team, while Teahan was named to the second team. To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team's scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible. First-team selections have a 3.20 GPA or higher, while second-team members have 3.00-3.19 GPAs.
Kansas leads the Big 12 with 48 all-time Academic All-Big 12 selections since the inception of the conference in 1996-97. Texas is second with 37 all-time selections. KU has 37 Academic All-Big 12 First Team selections and 11 second team selections, which are 16 more than Texas and Kansas State's 21 (first team) each. In the Bill Self era, Kansas has had 25 Academic All-Big 12 selections, which is best in the Big 12, for an average of almost three per year (2.8 average).
KU will play in the Big 12 Championship, March 7-10, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. As the No. 1 seed, Kansas will face the winner of the March 7, Oklahoma-Texas A&M on March 8 at 2 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Kansas is two-time defending Big 12 Championship champions and has won eight postseason Big 12 titles and 12 total postseason conference tournaments.