JAYHAWKS HIT THE ROAD
Kansas (19-2, 7-1 Big 12) hits the road to face new Big 12 member TCU (9-12, 0-8) on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Jayhawks had their 18-game overall and 33-game home-court winning streak end Saturday with an 85-80 loss to Oklahoma State. KU has a one-game lead in the Big 12 standings ahead of Kansas State (6-2). TCU is looking to end its eight-game losing streak when the Jayhawks come to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
Kansas, ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls released Feb. 4, is 19-2 (7-1 Big 12). In his 10th season at Kansas, Bill Self holds a 288-55 record for an 84.0 winning percentage. Overall, Self is nearing his 500th career victory with a 495-160 record in his 20th season as a head coach. Kansas averages 74.2 points per game and is giving up 59.9 for a Big 12-leading +14.3 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 38.9 to 32.8 and averages 7.5 steals, while leading the conference in field goal percentage at 47.8, three-point field goal percentage at 36.9, field goal percentage defense at 35.4 and blocked shots at 7.4.
Kansas starts four seniors, including three fifth-year seniors, and one freshman. Named to the Sporting News Mid-Season All-American team Jan. 15, redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.4 points per game, which leads all Big 12 freshmen and ranks second overall in the conference. The Jan. 14 Big 12 Player of the Week and two-time conference rookie of the week, McLemore leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage (87.1) and three-point field goal percentage (45.5).
McLemore, who is listed on the USBWA Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award Midseason list, has a team-high 40 three-pointers made and is tied for second on the team with 24 steals. All-America candidate senior C Jeff Withey leads Kansas in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and has seven double-doubles this season. Withey leads the league in blocked shots at 4.2 per game, which ranks third nationally. An USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Midseason honoree and Wooden Award Mid-Season Top 25 honoree along with McLemore, Withey is scoring 13.0 points per outing.
Senior G Travis Releford leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 61.0 percent and ranks second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 86.9 percent behind McLemore. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford is scoring 12.9 points per contest. Senior G Elijah Johnson has a team-high 102 assists and is second on the team with 30 three-pointers made to complement his 9.3 scoring average.
Senior F Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.5 points per game and is second on the team with 6.8 rebounds per outing. Young had 12 points and seven boards against Oklahoma State (2/2).
Other KU regulars include freshman F Perry Ellis (5.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg), sophomore G Naadir Tharpe (5.2 ppg, 2.6 apg) and redshirt freshman F Jamari Traylor (2.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg).
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, with an enrollment of 9,518, TCU is 9-12 on the season and 0-8 in its first season of Big 12 competition in men's basketball. The Horned Frogs are coached by Trent Johnson who is 9-12 in his first season at TCU and 235-197 in his 14th season overall. TCU is 7-6 at home this season and has a -4.4 scoring margin (54.1 to 58.5). TCU ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing 58.5 points per game.
Sophomore G Kyan Anderson leads TCU in scoring with 11.2 points per game. He is also the team leader with 28 three-pointers, 70 assists and 32 steals. Senior F Garlon Green is next in scoring at 10.2 points per game and is second on the team with 16 three-pointers made. Senior F Adrick McKinney is the TCU leader in rebounds with 6.9 per contest, which ranks ninth in the Big 12. McKinney scores 8.5 points per outing in 2012-13.
Nate Butler is a starter who scores 4.6 points per game and is second on the team with 33 assists and 19 steals. Senior F Connell Crossland started the last game at Texas, a 60-43 loss in Austin. He is second on the team with a 5.3 rebound average. Sophomore F Devonta Abron has 12 starts for the Horned Frogs this season and averages 6.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Freshman G Charles Hill, Jr., rounds out the TCU regulars. He's started five conference games and scores 3.5 points per contest.
Though this is the first conference meeting between Kansas and TCU, the men's basketball series between the two schools dates back to 1952 when the Jayhawks defeated the Horned Frogs 68-64 on March 21 in the NCAA Midwest Regional at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas is 4-0 against TCU with two games on neutral floors: the 1952 contest and a KU 94-78 win vs. TCU on Dec. 20, 1997, at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.
KU swept a home-and-home series with TCU in 2003 and 2004 with an 85-66 win in Fort Worth on Dec. 1, 2003, and a 93-74 victory on Dec. 9, 2004, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 8-3 all-time against TCU, including 2-0 while at Kansas. TCU head coach Trent Johnson is 1-0 against Kansas. In Self's first season at Kansas, Johnson's Stanford team defeated KU 64-58 on Dec. 6, 2003, in Anaheim, Calif., in the Wooden Classic.
KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES
--Kansas is third in NCAA Division I and first in the Big 12 in blocked shots at 7.4 per game and also leads the conference in scoring margin (+14.3), field goal percentage (47.8), three-point field goal percentage (36.9) and field goal percentage defense (35.4). The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (third, 74.2), free throw percentage (third, 72.4), rebounding (third, 38.9), rebound defense (third, 32.8), rebound margin (second, +6.1), assists (third, 15.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth, 1.2).
--The Jayhawks have held a double-digit lead in all but three contests this season, with the exceptions coming in their 67-64 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 13 when they held a seven-point lead, at Texas (1/19) and versus Oklahoma State (2/2).
--Out of its 21 games, Kansas has held 15 of its opponents to 60 points or less, including six of the last seven conference foes: 46 at Texas Tech, 44 vs. Baylor, 59 at Texas, 55 at Kansas State, 54 vs. Oklahoma and 56 at West Virginia.
--KU has outrebounded 18 of 21 opponents this season, including 14 of its last 15 foes. KU has had four games with 10-plus rebounds over its opponent.
--Kansas has out shot all but three opponents in 2012-13. Michigan State outshot KU (52.1 to 50.0 percent), Texas outshot KU (44.6 to 39.2 percent) and Oklahoma State (43.3 to 41.0 percent). Additionally, KU has shot 50 percent or better in nine games this season, including eight of the last 14 contests. KU's 54.1 percent at West Virginia (1/28) was its league best during 2012-13.
--Kansas has held a 40-plus point lead in four different games this season.
--Kansas had four players score in double figures in nine times this season, including five against Iowa State (1/9).
Kansas has out shot all but three opponents in 2012-13 and has shot 50 percent or better from the field in nine games. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 47.8 percent and three-point field goal percentage at 36.9 percent. Individually, senior G Travis Releford leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 61.0 and is 88-for-131 (67.2 percent) from the field in his last 18 games. Redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore has shot 50 percent or better from three-point range in 10 of his last 13 games, including a 6-for-6 effort vs. Iowa State (1/9), a 2-for-3 game at Texas (1/19), a 1-for-2 night at Kansas State (1/22), a 3-for-5 outing vs. Oklahoma (1/26) and a 3-for-6 day vs. Oklahoma State (2/2).
Senior C Jeff Withey has shot 50 percent or better in 17 of 21 games this season, including 10 games at 60 percent or higher. Withey was 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) at Texas, 3-for-6 at Kansas State, 6-for-11 vs. Oklahoma and 6-for-8 at West Virginia (1/28). Senior F Kevin Young has seven games of shooting 60.0 percent or better, including three in conference play: 7-of-9 at Texas Tech, 2-of-3 at Texas and 3-of-5 vs. Oklahoma State.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas is ranked No. 5 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls released Feb. 4. Kansas' No. 1 ranking in last week's coaches' poll (Jan. 28) was its first since Feb. 14, 2011, and KU has been the nation's top team 38 times, including 20 weeks in the Bill Self era.
Also in the coaches' polls, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 76 week, including 63 times in the Top 10. In the Associated Press poll and dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 71st-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, including 61 times in the Top 10.
Here are some block party notables for Kansas All-American candidate Jeff Withey:
--Withey leads the Big 12 and is third nationally with 4.2 blocked shots per game. KU's record for single-season blocked shot average is 3.6 set by Withey in 2012.
--The 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Withey set the KU and Big 12 single-game record with 12 blocked shots versus San Jose State (11/26).
--Withey's 89 blocks in 2012-13 are more than six Big 12 teams this season and rank sixth on the KU single-season list.
--Withey ranks second on the KU career blocked shots list with 254. He is four blocked shots from the KU career record of 258 held by Greg Ostertag (1992-95). He is 10 blocked shots from the Big 12 career record of 264 (Chris Mihm, Texas, 1998-2000).
--For his career, Withey has had 10 games with seven or more blocked shots, including three in 2012-13.
--Withey broke the NCAA Tournament record for blocked shots with 31 in the 2012 event.
--Withey broke the Kansas and Big 12 single-season blocked shots record with 140 last year (3.6 per game). He became only the second Jayhawk to pass 100 blocked shots for a single season (125, Cole Aldrich in 2009-10).
Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 16.4 scoring average, which is second overall in the conference. He leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 87.1 and three-point field goal percentage at 45.5 percent. KU's leading scorer as well, McLemore has six games with 20 points or more this season, including a 33-point effort against Iowa State (1/9) in the Big 12 opener and a 23-point day against Oklahoma State (2/2).
Kansas freshman record-wise, McLemore's:
...16.4 ppg would surpass the KU freshman record of 14.6 ppg held by Danny Manning in 1985.
...5.4 rebound average would rank eighth on the KU freshman list.
...40 three-pointers made in 2012-13 are eighth on the KU freshman list.
...45.5 three-point field goal percentage is third on the KU freshman list.
McLemore's 33 points against Iowa State (1/9):
--Were the most by a Jayhawk since Marcus Morris tallied 33 points against Iowa State on Jan. 12, 2011.
--Are the most points scored in a game this season in the Big 12 Conference for all players.
--Were the most by a Kansas freshman since Danny Manning scored 35 points against Oklahoma State on March 2, 1985.
--Consisted of him connecting on 6-of-6 three-point field goal attempts, marking the best three-point field goal percentage since Rex Walters went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc against Ball State in 2003.
Kansas will continue its road swing at Oklahoma on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m. on ESPN. The Jayhawks defeated the Sooners 67-54 on Jan. 26 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU returns home to host Kansas State on ESPN's Big Monday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks will then host Texas on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. ESPN College GameDay will originate from Allen Fieldhouse on that day.