No. 4/5 Kansas Returns Home to Host Texas Tech
No. 4/5 Kansas (21-5, 11-2) returns home to face Texas Tech (8-17, 1-12) in Big 12 play, Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Network. The Jayhawks are coming off a 59-53 win at Sunflower Showdown rival Kansas State on ESPN's Big Monday. The game is part of a double-header with KU women's basketball (vs. Missouri at 1 p.m.) and is the PINK ZONE game from which money raised will go toward Jayhawks for a Cure.
For more information go to www.kuathletics.com. Texas Tech is 8-17 overall and 1-12 in Big 12 play after its 47-38 loss to Texas A&M on Feb. 14.
No. 4/5 Kansas has a 19-game home court winning streak in Allen Fieldhouse which ranks sixth in the nation. The Jayhawks are 88-1 in the Fieldhouse during their last 89 games. KU entered the week tied for first in the Big 12 standings with Missouri at 10-2. The Jayhawks are 13-0 at home, 6-2 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season. Kansas averages 74.6 points per game and allows 60.8 for a +13.8 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12. KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +6.2, field goal percentage defense at 37.7 and is second with 15.8 assists per contest.
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 12.0 rebounds per game. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson has nine double-doubles in 13 conference games, including four of his last five games. His league-leading 18 double-doubles on the season rank second nationally.
Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 16, leads KU in conference games with an 18.5 scoring average. He leads KU with 133 assists and 44 three-pointers made in 2011-12. Taylor is scoring 16.9 ppg overall. Junior center Jeff Withey has averaged 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.3 blocked shots in his last three games. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Feb. 13 and leads the Big 12 with 3.4 blocked shots per game.
Withey averages 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for KU in 2011-12 and has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games. His 53 blocked shots in conference play are twice as many as any other player in the Big 12. Junior guard Travis Releford, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, averages 9.8 ppg in league play and 9.0 in all games. Junior guard Elijah Johnson is second on the team with 41 three-pointers and leads KU with 41 steals this season. Johnson scores 8.7 points per game and is second on the team with 98 assists.
Senior guard Conner Teahan, an Academic All-Big 12 performer, is third on the team with 38 three-pointers this season while averaging 6.2 points per game. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley is a regular who averages 1.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.0 ppg, 18 assists) are also KU regulars.
About Texas Tech
Located in Lubbock Texas, with an enrollment of 30,000, Texas Tech is 8-17 on the season and 1-12 in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders lost to Texas A&M 47-38 on Feb. 14 in Lubbock. Long-time Bill Self assistant coach Billy Gillispie is Tech's head coach with an 8-17 record in his first season at TTU and a 148-102 record in his eighth season overall as a head coach. Texas Tech is 7-6 at home, 1-8 in road games and 0-3 at neutral sites this season. The Red Raiders average 60.2 points per game and give up 66.2.
Freshman Jordan Tolbert (6-7) leads Texas Tech in scoring and rebounding with 11.4 points per game and 5.9 boards per contest in 2011-12. Junior Ty Nurse (6-1) is second in scoring at 8.6 points per contest and he leads Tech with 34 three-pointers and 21 steals this season. Freshman Javarez Willis (5-11) has a team-best 44 assists this season to complement his 8.0 scoring average.
Senior Robert Lewandowski (6-10) leads Texas Tech with 24 blocked shots this season while averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest in 2011-12. Sophomore Jaye Crockett (6-7) leads the Red Raiders in conference games with a 10.1 scoring average. In all games he scores 8.0 points per outing and is second on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game.
Other Red Raider regulars include 5-9 freshman Luke Adams (4.2 ppg, 18 three-pointers made), 6-8 freshman Clark Lammert (4.0 ppg), 5-8 freshman Kevin Wagner (2.5 ppg,), 6-3 freshman DeShon Minnis (2.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, two starts) and 6-6 freshman Terran Petteway (3.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg).
The Kansas-Texas Tech Series
Kansas leads the overall series with Texas Tech 21-4; the Jayhawks have won four straight and five of the last six meetings. KU leads the overall series played in Lawrence, 11-0 with all 11 meetings in Allen Fieldhouse. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1997, Kansas is 14-4 against Texas Tech - 12-4 in regular-season match-ups and 2-0 in conference championship meetings. The first meeting between the two schools took place in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 7, 1959, at KU 85-71 victory.
Earlier this season, Kansas won at Texas Tech, 81-46, on Jan. 11. Thomas Robinson paced KU with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Tyshawn Taylor scored 15 points and Travis Releford contributed 12 in the victory. Javarez Willis led Texas Tech with 12 points. KU led 35-20 at intermission and outscored TTU 46-26 in the second half. The margin of victory (35 points) was the widest in a conference road game during the Bill Self era at Kansas.
Texas Tech senior forward Robert Lewandowski is the older brother of Kansas football defensive end Pat Lewandowski. Pat, who is a redshirt sophomore and one year younger than Robert, suited up 12 games for the Jayhawks this past football season. The pari is originally from Omaha, Neb., but attended Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kan.
--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 37.7, 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 +6.2. 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 (31.2) and blocked shots (5.8) and ranks in the top three in scoring (second at 74.7), field goal percentage (second at 48.3), rebounding (third at 37.5), scoring defense (second at 60.8), assists (second at 15.8), steals (third at 7.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.1).
--Kansas' 19-game home court winning streak leads the Big 12 and is tied for sixth nationally. The 19-game streak followed a school-record 69-game home court winning streak. KU is 88-1 in its last 89 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 21 of 26 opponents this season, including six of the last nine games. KU has eight 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 26 games.
--KU has shot a higher percentage than 24 of 26 opponents this season. KU shot 51.1 percent at Baylor (2/8) and has shot 50 percent or better in three of its last five games and 11 times this season.
--Kansas has blocked five or more shots in 13 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 68-54 win at No. 6 Baylor (2/8), Kansas is 4-3 against ranked teams in 2011-12, 30-11 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 39-21 against ranked foes under Bill Self (since 2003-04).
--Kansas has 132 dunks to its opponents' 40 through 26 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 59 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 28.
--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 18th double-double of the season with 24 points and 14 rebounds against Oklahoma State (2/11), has been mentioned on many national player of the year lists. He has four double-doubles in his last five games and nine DDs in 13 conference games. Robinson, who is 37-of-61 (60.7 percent) from the field in his last five games, has nine 20-point efforts this season. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson had career highs with 30 points and 21 rebounds against North Dakota (12/31). It was the sixth 30-20 in Big 12 history and first at KU since 1961 (Wayne Hightower vs. Missouri). Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 Conference this season who is averaging a double-double with 17.8 ppg and 12.0 rpg. His 18 double-doubles, like his 12.0 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12 and both are second nationally. Robinson's 17.8 points are third in the league and he ranks second in field goal percentage (54.6) and ninth in blocked shots (1.2).
--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has averaged 18.6 points in his last five games, including three 20-point efforts: 20 at Kansas State (2/13), 21 at Missouri (2/4) and 21 vs. Oklahoma (2/1). He had his first double-double of the season at ISU (1/28) with 16 points and 10 assists. Taylor had 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 16.9 points per game and is scoring a team-best 18.5 ppg in Big 12 games. In all games, Taylor leads KU with 133 assists, 44 three-pointers made and a 43.1 three-point field goal percentage. Taylor's 16.9 points per game average is fifth in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is sixth in field goal percentage at 47.9, fifth in three-point field goal percentage at 43.1, tied for 10th in three-pointers made at 1.7, fifth in assists at 5.1 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 has averaged 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.3 blocked shots in his last three games. In that span he is shooting 64.5 percent from the field and 80.7 percent from the free throw line. 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 nine of his last 10 games, including four double-doubles: 13 points, 11 rebounds against Iowa State (1/14), 10 points, 10 rebounds versus Baylor (1/16), 18 points, 20 rebounds vs. OSU (2/11) and 18 points, 11 rebounds at Kansas State (2/13). He was one blocked shot from a triple-double at KSU. Withey leads the Big 12 with 3.4 blocked shots per game, which ranks in the top 15 nationally. He has a Big 12-best 53 blocked shots in conference play (4.1 bpg average) and has more than doubled every other player in the conference in league blocked shots. Withey has 14 games with 10-plus points scored and is also solid from the line with an 85.1 free throw percentage. Withey has multiple blocks in 15 of his last 19 games and 18 overall contests in 2011-12. His 6.5 rebound average, which is second best on the KU team, is seventh in the Big 12 while his 85.1 free throw percentage is fourth in the conference.
--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD, the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, has scored in double figures in 13 games this season, including three of his last six games: 10 vs. Oklahoma State (2/11), 12 points, six rebounds against Oklahoma (2/1) and 10 points at Iowa State (1/28). He is fourth on the team in scoring with 9.0 ppg in all games and is scoring 9.8 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 29 steals this season.
--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON has scored 11 points in two of his last four games: 11 vs. Oklahoma State (2/11) and at No. 4 Missouri (2/4). He has 11 games with 10 or more points this season, including five of his last 10 contests. Johnson is second on the team with 41 three-pointers made and is the team leader with 41 steals. Johnson has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 98. Johnson is ninth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.8, third in steals at 1.6, fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8 and 15th in three-pointers made at 1.6.
--Senior CONNER TEAHAN has made 38 three-pointers which is third most on the team. He is 4-for-10 (40 percent) from beyond the arc in his last four games. 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 was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team on Feb. 16.
--Junior KEVIN YOUNG scored four points in 13 minutes against Oklahoma State (2/11). He had seven points at Texas Tech (1/11) and again against Iowa State (1/14). He also pulled down seven rebounds at Texas Tech. Young's best 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 seven times this season. In 2011-12, Young is shooting 53/6 percent (30-for-56) from the field.
In the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press and No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Feb. 13. This is Kansas' sixth appearance in the Top 10 of either poll in 2011-12. KU has been ranked in each of the last 62 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. Included are 45 times when the Jayhawks have appeared in the AP Top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 63 coaches polls with 48 appearances in the Top 10. Kansas has faced six currently-ranked teams, with all six ranked in the current Top 10. The Jayhawks are 4-3 against ranked foes (at tip) in 2011-12.
Withey National and Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior Jeff Withey was been selected as the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week, chosen by the USBWA, announced Feb. 14. As the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Player of the Week, Withey was nominated for the award, which was chosen by a representative of the USBWA board of directors from a list of Division I conference players of the week. Withey began the week with a career-best 25 points to go along with five rebounds and three blocks in a 68-54 win at No. 8 Baylor. He then grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds in an 81-66 win over Oklahoma State, while scoring 18 points and adding seven blocks. Withey is just the second Big 12 player to collect at least 20 rebounds in a game this season, with the other being junior teammate Thomas Robinson. Withey is the second Kansas player to be named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week this season. Robinson earned the honor during the week of Dec. 11, 2011. Kansas is the only school this season to have more than one player receive the weekly honor.
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 116-19 (85.9 percent) during Taylor's time in Lawrence with three Big 12 regular-season titles, two Big 12 Championship crowns and trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. His 114 all-time KU starts are tied for 10th all-time with Darnell Valentine (1978-81). Statistically, against Duke, Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points. He currently sits tied for 24th (Adonis Jordan, 1990-93) with 1,373 points. He is eighth on the KU all-time assists list with 522.
Taylor also ranks 18th with 152 career steals and his 38.7 percent career three-point percentage is 17th best at Kansas. Taylor is only the fourth player in KU history with the combination of at least 1,300 points, 500 assists and 150 steals in his career. He is in company with KU greats Darnell Valentine (1,821 points, 609 assists, 336 steals), Kirk Hinrich (1,753 points, 668 assists, 206 steals) and Adonis Jordan (1,373 points, 568 points, 181 steals) and when he reaches 1,400 career points, he will join only Valentine and Hinrich.
KU Seniors Named Academic All-Big 12
Kansas seniors Jordan Juenemann and Conner Teahan were named to the Academic All-Big 12 Team it was announced Feb. 16. Juenemann was selected as one of 11 members to 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).
Kansas Student Section Advances to Semifinals of Naismith Voting
The University of Kansas basketball student section has advanced to the semifinal round of the inaugural Naismith Student Section of the Year Award balloting. KU garnered the most votes in the preliminary round among nearly 80 Division I basketball schools vying for the award. That vote narrowed the field to 16 semifinal schools, and now the voting begins. Jayhawk alumni, students, staff and fans -- and all their Facebook friends -- can make the KU student section Number One in the country by voting often until February 24. KU fans can vote by visiting www.facebook.com/ILoveCollegeHoops. Fans are allowed to vote once per day. The top eight schools receiving the most votes in the semifinal round will be sent to the Naismith Awards Board of selectors for final award selection. Complete details on the selection process can be found at Facebook.com/ilovecollegehoops. The Naismith Student Section of the Year Award, which is presented through a partnership of The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), a division of IMG College, and the Atlanta Tipoff Club, administrators of the Naismith Awards, is dedicated to celebrating fans that love college hoops and provide support to their college basketball team with devotion and passion.
Kansas will travel to Texas A&M on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 before returning home to host Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. on CBS.