KU COMES HOME:
No. 6/7 Kansas (15-4, 6-0) returns home to host No. 16/18 Iowa State (15-3, 3-3) on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Jayhawks are coming off a 91-69 win at TCU, which kept them the only team in the Big 12 race to remain undefeated in league play. Iowa State ended a three-game losing streak with an 81-75 win against No. 22 Kansas State Saturday in Ames.
Kansas averages 79.6 points per game and has a +10.4 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 16 of 19 opponents, including five of six conference contests, and holds a +7.3 rebound margin after its 40-24 rebound advantage at TCU. KU boasts a league-best 51.0 field goal percentage, which checks in among the top-three in the country, and has shot 50 percent or better in five of its last six games. In all, KU has outshot 17 of its 19 opponents in 2013-14.
Coming off a career-high 27 points at TCU (1/25), freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 15.8 scoring average, which also leads the Big 12 freshman class and is ninth overall in the conference. Wiggins is 59-of-69 (85.5 percent) from the free throw line in his last 11 games after his 9-for-10 charity shots at TCU. He has made 22 threes this season, and is tied for the team lead with 17 steals. Wiggins' 6.0 rebound average is third on the team.
Sophomore F Perry Ellis is next in scoring at 12.9 points per game, tied for 16th in the league. Ellis had a team-high 18 points against Baylor (1/20) and has five 20-point games in 2013-14, while his 6.8 rebound average is second on the team and 12th in the Big 12. He pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds at TCU. Freshman C Joel Embiid has a team-high 53 blocked shots, including a KU and Big 12 freshman-record eight versus Oklahoma State (1/18). A two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week (1/21), Embiid's 2.8 blocked shots per game average is tied for the conference lead.
Embiid is tied with Wiggins for the team-lead in steals with 17, while his 7.4 rebounds per game are a team best and rank ninth in the conference. Embiid is shooting 66.7 percent from the field, averaging 11.2 points per game and has three double-doubles in his last eight games. Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., earned National Freshman of the Week accolades by multiple outlets after averaging 22 points in KU's first two league games. He is averaging 13.2 points in Big 12 play and 9.9 in all games. He has two 20-point efforts this season and his 23 three-pointers are second most on the team as are his 48 assists.
Like Selden, junior G Naadir Tharpe has also posted back-to-back 20-point efforts in conference play. Facing top-10 teams, Tharpe scored 23 points at then-No. 8 Iowa State (1/13) and followed that with 21 versus No. 9 Oklahoma State (1/18), which earned him Big 12 and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week accolades (1/21). Tharpe is scoring 9.0 points per game and his 5.1 assists rank fourth in the Big 12 and his 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio is third.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 6.8 points per game and is third on the team with 47 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 73.0 field goal percentage and is averaging 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest. Other contributors off the bench include senior F Tarik Black (3.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg), freshman G Brannen Greene (2.5 ppg), freshman G Conner Frankamp (1.8 ppg) and redshirt freshman F Landen Lucas (2.0 ppg).
ABOUT IOWA STATE:
Located in Ames, Iowa, with an enrollment of 33,241, Iowa State opened the year 14-0, but has lost three of its last four and bring a 15-3 record to Allen Fieldhouse. The Cyclones are coached by Fred Hoiberg who is 77-42 in his fourth season at ISU, his first head coaching stint. Iowa State leads the Big 12 in scoring offense (84.8), assists (18.2), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7) and three-point field goals made (8.7). The Cyclones have a +14.3 scoring margin and a +1.4 rebound margin. To accumulate their 8.7 threes a game, the Cyclones attempt 24.9 threes per contest.
Senior F Melvin Ejim leads the Big 12 in scoring at 17.9 points per game. His 7.3 rebound average is second best on the team and 10th in the league. Senior G DeAndre Kane is next in scoring at 16.3 points per game, good for eighth in the league. He is third for ISU, and 11th in the Big 12, in rebounds with a 7.1 per game average. Kane is second in the conference in assists with 5.8 per game. Kane has a team-high 28 steals.
Sophomore G Georges Niang averages 15.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He is second on the team with 66 assists. Junior F Dustin Hogue is second in the Big 12 in rebound average at 9.3 rpg to complement his 11.9 scoring average. Hogue shoots a team-best 54.5 percent from the field and his nine blocked shots are tied with Niang for the team lead. Freshman G Matt Thomas (6.7 ppg) rounds out the ISU starters. His 27 three-pointers are second most on the team.
Sophomore G Naz Long leads ISU with 34 three-pointers made. He is scoring 7.7 points per game and his 42.0 three-point field goal percentage is fifth in the Big 12. Freshman G Monte Morris is a regular who scores 6.3 points per game. He is third on the team with 53 assists and second with 20 steals.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State 174-59, dating back to 1908, and has won four straight and 17 of the last 18 meetings after its 77-70 win on Jan. 13 in Ames. ISU's last win was Jan. 28, 2012, 72-64 in Hilton Coliseum. Kansas holds an 89-15 advantage in games played in Lawrence, including a 48-9 lead in Allen Fieldhouse (AFH). KU has won the last eight meetings with ISU in AFH beginning in 2006.
The last ISU win in AFH was 63-61 overtime contest on Feb. 19, 2005. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 30-8 against Iowa State with a 27-8 record in regular-season play and a 3-0 mark in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 20-3 all-time versus Iowa State, including 19-3 while at KU, while ISU's Fred Hoiberg is 1-7 all-time against KU.
Expect a close one as since Hoiberg's arrival at ISU, four of the last six meetings have been decided by nine points or less with two of those in overtime, both being last season's regular-season matchups.
Earlier this season, Naadir Tharpe scored a career-high 23 points as then-No. 15 Kansas defeated then-No. 8 Iowa State, 77-70, on ESPN Big Monday to improve to 12-4 and 3-0 in Big 12 play. Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and his 19 rebounds in the game were a career best and one shy of the KU freshman record of 20 held by Eric Chenowith. KU outrebounded ISU 53-36 in the victory.
-- Kansas is 12-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in the game and has eclipsed the 50 percent field goal percentage in each of its last three games and five of six Big 12 games.
-- In 12 of KU's 15 victories, the Jayhawks have scored at least 80 points.
-- KU has outrebounded 16 of its 19 opponents this season, including five Big 12 contests. KU has nine games with a +10 rebound advantage. It's +17 at Iowa State (1/13) was a season best and its +16 at TCU (1/25) tied for second. KU has a +10 rebound advantage in six of its last 10 contests.
-- KU has held all but one opponent (Duke, 51.7) under 50 percent shooting this season
-- Junior G Naadir Tharpe is shooting 80.0 percent (16-for-20) from the field in his last four games, including 8-for-10 (80 percent) from three-point range with a 16.7 ppg over that span. Tharpe has topped the team in assists 12 times, including three of six Big 12 contests
-- Sophomore F Perry Ellis has shot 60 percent or better in 10 games this season and the Jayhawks are 10-0 in those contests.
-- Freshman C Joel Embiid has 44 blocked shots in his last 13 games including a KU and Big 12-tying freshman eight against Oklahoma State (1/18). His 53 blocked shots third on the Kansas freshman list and nine from No. 1.
-- Freshman G Andrew Wiggins scored a career-high 27 points at TCU (1/25) on 8-of-13 (61.5 percent), his fourth 60 percent or better shooting game of the season. He leads the Big 12 freshman class in scoring (15.8 ppg) and has made 80 percent or better from the free throw line in eight games.
-- Freshman G Frank Mason is 7-for-8 (88.8 percent) from the field in his last two games. Shooting 44.2 percent for the season, Mason has shot 50 percent or better in six of his last seven games. He is 10-for-14 (71.4 percent) in his last four contests.
-- Sophomore F Jamari Traylor is 7-for-8 from the field and 7-for-9 from the line in his last three games, which included a career-high nine points against Oklahoma State (1/18). Traylor is 21-for-26 (80.8 percent) from the field in his last 12 games. He had six rebounds versus Baylor (1/20) and has pulled down five or more rebounds in seven games this season.
-- Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. has made at least one three-pointer in 12 of his last 13 games.
-- Senior F Tarik Black is 8-for-12 (66.7 percent) from the field in his last four games.
-- Freshman G Brannen Greene has 14 points in his last three games. He is 5-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range in that span.
Kansas starts three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. Frequently, Kansas will have four freshmen in the game at the same time. At TCU, and occasionally, there will be five frosh on the floor for the Jayhawks. In Kansas' win at TCU, Jayhawk freshmen accounted for 75 of KU's 91 points (82.4 percent). For the season, the KU freshmen account for three of Kansas' top four scorers and 63.2 percent of the scoring, 54.4 percent of the rebounding and 66.7 percent of the blocked shots.
IN THE POLLS:
Last week, Kansas climbed back into the Associated Press top 10, currently at No. 6 in the poll released Jan. 27. The Jayhawks were in the AP top 10 the first five polls of 2013-14 and seven total in 2013-14. This week, KU moved back into the USA Today Coaches' poll, currently tied for No. 7 with Louisville. In the Bill Self era, this is the 163rd week Kansas has been ranked in the AP top 25, which includes 114 times in the top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 97 polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked 190 times, including 138 in the top 10 in the Self era. KU has been listed in each of the last 101 coaches' polls.
KANSAS VS. RANKED FOES UNDER BILL SELF:
No. 16 Iowa State will be the eighth ranked team Kansas has faced in 2013-14. The Jayhawks are 5-2 against ranked foes this season. Kansas has played 80 games against Associated Press-ranked opponents in the 10-plus seasons under head coach Bill Self. Last year, Kansas went 5-2 against ranked foes. Under Self, KU is 53-28 (65.4 percent) against ranked competition. That percentage has an upward trend since the 2007-08 season as the Jayhawks are 43-18 (70.5 percent) versus ranked foes.
WHO SCHEDULED THIS:
In the latest RPI released by the NCAA (1/27), Kansas is No. 1 ahead of Arizona. The Jayhawks have the No. 1 strength of schedule and have faced, or will face, eight teams currently ranked in the Associated Press - No. 3 Florida, No. 5 San Diego State, No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Villanova, No. 16 Iowa State, No. 17 Duke, No. 23 Oklahoma and No. 25 Texas.
Kansas will take a two-game road trip to the Lone Star State when the Jayhawks play at No. 25 Texas on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m. on ESPN. KU will then travel to Baylor on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. The Jayhawks return home to host West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. on ESPN.