No. 4/5 Kansas Travels to Oklahoma State for ESPN's Big Monday
Fresh off its thrilling 87-86 overtime victory against Border Showdown rival No. 3 Missouri Saturday in Lawrence, Kan., No. 4/5 Kansas (24-5, 14-2) heads to Oklahoma State (14-15, 7-9) for its final road game of the season on ESPN's Big Monday at 8 p.m. With its win Saturday, Kansas claimed at least a share of its remarkable eighth-straight Big 12 Conference regular-season championship dating back to 2005. KU has won 12 of the 16 Big 12 regular-season titles and its 55 conference championships are the most in NCAA Division I. Oklahoma State has won two of its last three games after its 60-42 win against Texas A&M Saturday.
No. 4/5 Kansas is 15-0 at home, 7-2 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season. KU's current six-game winning streak is the second longest of the season. KU averages 75.0 points per game and allows 61.2 for a +13.8 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12. KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +6.1 and field goal percentage defense at 38.1, blocked shots at 5.8 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 11.9 rebounds per game after his 28 points and 12 rebounds against No. 3 Missouri. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week and one time Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week this season, Robinson has 11 double-doubles in 16 conference games, including six of his last eight. His league-leading 20 double-doubles and his 11.9 rpg average rank second nationally.
Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 16, scored 24 points against Missouri and averages 16.7 ppg for the season, 17.9 ppg in Big 12 play. He leads KU with 146 assists and 49 three-pointers made in 2011-12. Junior center Jeff Withey averages 9.3 points and 6.4 rebounds for the season and is having a solid conference campaign in which he is scoring 10.6 points and pulling down 6.9 rebounds per game. He was named the Big 12 and USBWA national player of the week on Feb. 13 and leads the conference with 3.3 blocked shots per game and 3.8 in league games.
A lockdown defender, junior guard Travis Releford, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, averages 9.4 ppg in league play and 8.9 in all games. Junior guard Elijah Johnson leads Kansas with 44 steals to complement his 9.0 scoring average. Johnson is second on the team with 47 three-pointers made and 110 assists.
Senior guard Conner Teahan, an Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree, is third on the team with 45 three-pointers this season after his 4-for-4 effort from beyond the arc against Missouri Saturday. Teahan averages 6.5 points per game. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), sophomore forward Justin Wesley (1.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.0 ppg, 19 assists) are also KU regulars.
About Oklahoma State
Located in Stillwater, Okla., with an enrollment of 35,000, Oklahoma State is 14-15 (7-9) after defeating Texas A&M 60-42 on Feb. 25 in Stillwater. The Cowboys are coached by Travis Ford who is 79-52 in his fourth season at OSU and 269-198 in his 15th season overall. OSU is 11-3 at home, 2-7 in road games and 1-5 on neutral courts in 2011-12. The Cowboys have won their last two home games by an average of 15 points. Oklahoma State averages 67.1 points per game and gives up 67.3 points. The Cowboys average 6.1 three-point field goals made and 4.6 blocked shots per outing this season.
Senior guard Keiton Page will be making his final home appearance when KU plays in Gallagher-Iba Arena Monday. He leads OSU in scoring with 16.2 points per game, including 18.0 ppg in Big 12 play. He also leads the team with 82 three-pointers made, 39 steals and an 85.6 free throw percentage. Page is second on the team with 60 assists.
Freshman guard/forward Le'Bryan Nash, who did not play against Texas A&M Saturday due to a hand injury, is next in scoring at 13.3 points per game and averages 5.0 rebounds this season. Sophomore guard Markel Brown is second on the team with 5.3 rebounds per game to complement his 10.7 scoring average. He leads OSU with 65 assists and is second with 38 steals this season.
Freshman guard/forward Brian Williams is a starter who averages 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest in 2011-12. Freshman forward Michael Cobbins leads the team in rebounds with 5.7 per game. Cobbins scores 5.5 points per contest and along with junior center Philip Jurick (1.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is tied for the team lead in blocked shots with 45. Freshman guard Cezar Guerrero (4.9 ppg) and freshman forward/center Marek Soucek (1.2 ppg) are top reserves for the Cowboys.
The Kansas-Oklahoma State Series
In a series that dates back to 1926, Kansas leads Oklahoma State 105-53, including a 33-31 record in meetings in Stillwater. The series is tied in Gallagher-Iba Arena at 31. Since the 2004 season, Kansas narrowly leads Oklahoma State in the series 8-4. Since the Big 12 Conference formed in 1996-97, KU holds a 16-6 series lead - 12-4 in regular-season play and 4-2 in the conference championship. The six KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 tourney make OSU the second-most team Kansas has faced in the event behind Kansas State, whom KU has a 7-0 record against in the event. The winner of the last three KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 Championship has gone on to win the title - OSU 78-75 in 2005 in Kansas City, KU 78-75 in Dallas in 2006 and KU 63-62 in Kansas City in 2011.
Earlier this season, Kansas defeated Oklahoma State 81-66 on Feb. 11 behind a 24-point, 14 rebound effort by All-American candidate Thomas Robinson. Like Robinson, Jeff Withey also had a double-double scoring 18 points and pulling down a career-high 20 rebounds. Withey also had seven blocks in the victory.
All five of KU's starters reached double-figure scoring with Tyshawn Taylor 12 points, Elijah Johnson 11 points and Travis Releford 10 points. OSU's Markel Brown led the Cowboys with 21 points, while Keiton Page added 19. KU led 51-24 at halftime, while OSU outscored KU 42-30 in the second period.
--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.1, 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 +6.1. 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). KU also ranks in the top three in scoring (second at 75.1), scoring defense (second at 61.2), scoring margin (+13.9), field goal percentage (second at 48.3), rebounding (third at 37.3), 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.
--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 23 of 29 opponents this season, including eight of the last 12 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 29 games.
--KU has shot a higher percentage than 27 of 29 opponents this season. KU shot 56.3 percent against Texas Tech (2/18) and has shot 50 percent or better in four of its last eight games and 12 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 has 141 dunks to its opponents' 46 through 29 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 61 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 31.
--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 20th double-double of the season with 28 points and 12 rebounds against No. 3 Missouri Saturday, has been mentioned on many national player of the year lists. He has six double-doubles in his last eight games and 11 DDs in 16 conference games. Robinson has scored 20-plus points on 10 occasions in 2011-12. A three-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 who is averaging a double-double with 17.8 ppg and 11.9 rpg. His 20 double-doubles rank fourth on KU's single-season list and, like his 11.9 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 (53.7) and ninth in blocked shots (1.1).
--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has four 20-point efforts in his last eight games, including 24 points against No. 3 Missouri Saturday. He has nine 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 16.7 points per game and is tied with Robinson in KU's conference game scoring at 17.9 ppg. In all games, Taylor leads KU with 146 assists, 49 three-pointers made and a 43.0 three-point field goal percentage. Taylor's 16.7 ppg average is fifth in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is fourth in field goal percentage at 47.7, fifth in three-point field goal percentage at 43.0, 12th in three-pointers made at 1.7, sixth in assists at 5.0 and 10th 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 10.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots in Big 12 play and 9.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 3.3 blocks in all games. 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 13 games, including four double-doubles. Withey leads the Big 12 with 3.3 blocked shots per game, which ranks in the top 10 nationally. He has a Big 12-best 61 blocked shots in conference play (3.8 bpg average). Withey has multiple blocks in 12 of his last 16 games. His 6.4 rebound average, which is second best on the KU team, is ninth in the Big 12, while his 82.9 free throw percentage is eighth in the conference.
--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON tied his season high with eight assists, and no turnovers, against No. 3 Missouri on Saturday. Last week, 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 each of his last two games and 13 times this season. He is the team leader with 44 steals, has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 110. Johnson is ninth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.8, tied third in steals at 1.5, fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.0 and tied for 13th 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 8.9 ppg in all games and is scoring 9.4 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 45 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 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 Saturday. 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.
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.
Kansas Conference Regular-Season Titles - 55 (*tied for championship)
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13) - 1908-09-10-11-12*-14*-15-22*-23-24-25-26-27
Big Six (12) - 1931-32-33-34-36-37*-38-40*-41*-42*-43-46
Big Seven (5) - 1950*-52-53-54*-57
Big Eight (13) - 1960*-66-67-71-74-75-78-86-91*-92-93-95-96
Big 12 (12) - 1997-98-2002-03-05* -06*-07-08*-09-10-11-12*
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 119-19 (86.2 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 117 all-time KU starts are eighth all-time. Statistically, against Duke, Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points. He currently sits 23rd with 1,418 points. He is eighth on the KU all-time assists list with 535. Taylor also ranks 18th with 154 career steals and his 38.8 percent career three-point percentage is 17th 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 company with 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. 6, KU junior Thomas 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.
Withey National and Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior Jeff Withey was selected as the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week, chosen by the USBWA, announced Feb. 14. 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.
Kansas Student Section Advances to Semifinals of Naismith Voting
On Feb. 13, the Kansas men's basketball student section 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 Feb. 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 returns home for Senior Day against Texas on Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Since 1983-84, the Jayhawks have won 28-straight home finales, including 27-consecutive Senior Nights (in 2006-07, KU did not have a senior on the roster). KU will then play in the Big 12 Championship, March 7-10, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Based on its league record; KU's first action in the Big 12 Championship will be in the quarterfinals on March 8.