Kansas guard Frank Mason, left, and Fort Hays State's Craig Nicholson (3) chase a loose ball during the first half of an exhibition game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 in Lawrence, KS. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
KANSAS CONTINUES ROAD SWING IN THE LONE STAR STATE
No. 8/9 Kansas (16-5, 7-1) continues its two-game road swing to the Lone Star state when it plays at Baylor (14-7, 2-6) on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. KU is looking to rebound from its first Big 12 loss of the season at No. 25 Texas, 81-69, on Feb. 1. KU remains atop the conference standings with a one-game lead on the Longhorns. Baylor ended a five-game losing streak with a 76-70 win at No. 8/10 Oklahoma State Saturday. The Bears have been ranked as high as No. 7 during the 2013-14 season. Kansas defeated Baylor, 78-68, on Jan. 20 in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas averages 79.7 points per game and has a +9.3 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 17 of 21 opponents, including six of eight Big 12 contests, and holds a +6.8 rebound margin. KU boasts a league-best 50.3 field goal percentage and has shot 50 percent or better in four of its last five games and six of its last eight contests. In all, KU has outshot 18 of its 21 opponents in 2013-14. KU also ranks in the top four in the Big 12 in scoring offense (fourth, 79.7), scoring margin (third, +9.3), rebound margin (third, +6.8), assists (second, 15.7) and blocked shots (second, 6.0).
Freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 16.0 scoring average, the best among Big 12 freshmen and 10th overall in the conference. Wiggins' 29 against Iowa State (1/29) surpassed his previous high of 27 points at TCU, the game prior on Jan. 25. He is 66-of-77 (85.7 percent) from the free throw line in his last 13 games. He has made 27 threes this season, and is the team leader with 19 steals. Wiggins' 6.0 rebound average is third on the team and 15th in the conference. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is next in scoring at 13.1 points per game, good for 16th in the league. Ellis has six 20-point games on the season with his last being 20 points versus Iowa State (1/29). His 6.6 rebound average is second on the team and 11th in the Big 12. He pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds at TCU (1/25). Freshman C Joel Embiid has a team-high 56 blocked shots which ranks second on the all-time KU freshman list. A two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week (1/21), Embiid's 2.7 blocked shots per game average is second in the conference. Embiid is second on the team with 18 steals, while his 7.7 rebounds per game are a team best, lead the Big 12 freshman class and rank sixth overall in the conference. Embiid is shooting 63.6 percent from the field, which would lead the Big 12 had he made 5.0 per game. He is averaging 11.2 points per game, has five double-doubles on the season and six games with 10-plus rebounds. Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., is coming off his third 20-point game of season, all in league play, with 21 points at Texas (2/1). He earned National Freshman of the Week accolades by multiple outlets (1/10) and is second on the team in Big 12 games with 13.9 ppg. Selden is scoring 10.5 in all games and his 27 three-pointers tie him with Wiggins for second most on the team and his 53 assists are second. Junior G Naadir Tharpe posted his first career double-double with 12 points and 12 assists versus Iowa State (1/29). Tharpe earned Big 12 and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week accolades (1/21) and is scoring 8.9 points per game. His 5.3 assists rank third in the Big 12 and his 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio is second. Tharpe has made a team-best 29 three-pointers.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 6.7 points per game and is third on the team with 50 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 70.7 field goal percentage and is averaging 4.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per contest. Other contributors off the bench include senior F Tarik Black (3.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg), freshman G Brannen Greene (2.5 ppg), freshman G Conner Frankamp (1.8 ppg) and redshirt freshman F Landen Lucas (1.8 ppg). Black missed two games due to an ankle injury but returned with two points at Texas.
Located in Waco, Texas, with an enrollment of 15,616, Baylor is 14-7 (2-6) after its 76-70 win at No. 8/10 Oklahoma State Saturday. BU is coached by Scott Drew who is 192-145 in his 11th season at Baylor and 212-156 in his 12th season overall. Baylor averages 75.7 points per game and has a +7.9 scoring margin. BU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +8.6 as it averages 39.1 boards, which is second in the league. The Bears also lead the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage (40.1) and are third in the conference in scoring defense (67.8) and assists (15.1).
Baylor is a deep team as nine Bears average 12-plus minutes per game. Senior F Cory Jefferson leads Baylor in scoring at 12.5 points per game, 17th in the Big 12, and in rebounding with an 8.4 average, third in the league. Jefferson is second on the team with 31 blocked shots. Senior G Brady Heslip comes off the bench to score 11.3 points per game and leads the Big 12 with 3.0 three-point field goals made per game. His 47.3 three-point percentage is second in the conference. Heslip has two starts on the season, including at OSU Saturday. Junior G Kenny Chery is a starter who averages 11.0 points per game and is fourth in the league with 5.0 assists per outing. He missed the Oklahoma State game due to injury and is listed day-to-day. Sophomore C Isaiah Austin is leads the conference in blocked shots per game at 2.7 to complement his 10.2 scoring and 5.5 rebounding averages. Rounding out the Baylor starters are senior G Gary Franklin (6.9 ppg, 51 assists) and junior F Royce O'Neale (5.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg). Sophomore F Taurean Prince comes off the bench to score 8.1 points per game, while sophomore F Rico Gathers leads BU in rebounds with a 7.6 per game average, seventh in the Big 12, to nearly match his 7.9 points per game. Freshman G/F Ish Wainright (2.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg) is also a key contributor for the Bears.
The Kansas-Baylor series dates back to 1951 with the Jayhawks leading 20-4. The series is tied at 2-2 in the last four meeting as Baylor's wins have been away from Allen Fieldhouse: 81-72 in the semifinals of the 2012 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo., and 81-58 last season in the regular-season finale for both teams in Waco, Texas. The Jayhawks are 8-2 versus the Bears in games played in Waco with every meeting in the Ferrell Center. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU is 18-4 versus BU: 18-2 in regular-season play and 0-2 in the Big 12 Championship. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 12-4 all-time against Baylor, including 12-3 while at Kansas, while Baylor's Scott Drew is 3-12 versus Kansas.
Earlier this season, Kansas defeated Baylor, 78-68, on Jan. 20, in Allen Fieldhouse to become the fourth-straight ranked opponent KU defeated in 2013-14. KU's Perry Ellis led the Jayhawks with 18 points, while Andrew Wiggins added 17 and seven rebounds and Joel Embiid scored 12 points. Kansas shot 57.5 percent from the field for the game and led 37-35 at intermission. BU's Brady Heslip led all scorers with 19 points, including six three-pointers. Current KU players' stats versus Baylor are on the last page of the KU game notes.
Kansas is 13-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in the game and has eclipsed the 50 percent field goal percentage in four of its last five games and six of eight Big 12 games.
In 13 of KU's 16 victories, the Jayhawks have scored at least 80 points.
KU has outrebounded 17 of its 21 opponents this season, including six of eight Big 12 contests. KU has 10 games with a +10 rebound advantage after its 38-28 advantage against Iowa State (1/29). Kansas' +17 margin at Iowa State (1/13) was a season best and its +16 at TCU (1/25) is tied for second. KU has a +10 rebound advantage in seven of its last 12 contests.
KU has held all but one opponent (Duke, 51.7) under 50 percent shooting this season.
Junior G Naadir Tharpe is shooting 64.5 percent (20-for-31) from the field in his last six games, including 11-for-16 (68.7 percent) from three-point range.
Tharpe leads the Big 12 with a 3.0:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in league only games.
Sophomore F Perry Ellis has shot 60 percent or better in 11 games this season, including three conference contests. The Jayhawks are 11-0 when Ellis shoots 60 percent or better this season.
Freshman C Joel Embiid pulled down 10 rebounds at Texas and has 21 in his last two games. Embiid has six games of 10-plus rebounds this season, including three in Big 12 play.
Embiid has 47 blocked shots in his last 15 games including a KU and Big 12-tying freshman eight against Oklahoma State (1/18). Embiid now has 56 blocks on the season which is second on the all-time freshman blocks list at Kansas, trailing only Eric Chenowith (62, 1998).
Freshman G Andrew Wiggins' 56 combined points at TCU (27 on 1/25) and versus Iowa State (29 on 1/29) marked the most by a Jayhawk in a two-game span since Tyshawn Taylor also scored 56 versus Iowa State (28, 1/14/12) and Baylor (28, 1/16/12). He has five games of shooting 60 percent or better this season.
Wiggins was 2-for-2 from the line at Texas (2/1) and has made 80 percent or better from the free throw line in each of his last four games, five Big 12 contests and 10 total.
After his 21 points at Texas (2/1), freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., has three 20-point efforts this season, all against Big 12 competition. Selden has made two three-pointers in each of his last two games and multiple threes in six games this season.
Freshman G Frank Mason has shot 50 percent or better in six of his last nine games.
Sophomore F Jamari Traylor is 9-for-12 from the field and 7-for-9 from the line in his last five games, which included a career-high nine points against Oklahoma State (1/18). Traylor is 23-for-30 (76.7 percent) from the field in his last 14 games. He had six rebounds in three of his last four games (at UT, vs. ISU and vs. BU).
Senior F Tarik Black is 9-for-13 (69.2 percent) from the field in his last five games played. He played six minutes at Texas (2/1) after having missed the previous two games due to an ankle injury.
Freshman G Brannen Greene has made a three-pointer in each of KU's last five games.
Kansas starts three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior with an average age of 19.4 years old. Frequently, Kansas will have four freshmen in the game at the same time and it's not uncommon to have five frosh on the floor. In Kansas' win at TCU (1/25), 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 61.4 percent of the scoring, 51.9 percent of the rebounding and 63.8 percent of the blocked shots.
KANSAS VS. RANKED FOES UNDER BILL SELF
Kansas is 6-3 against ranked foes this season and have defeated five of its last six top-25 opponents. Kansas has played 82 games against Associated Press-ranked opponents in the 10-plus seasons under head coach Bill Self. Under Self, KU is 53-29 (64.6 percent) against ranked competition. That percentage has an upward trend since the 2007-08 season as the Jayhawks are 39-17 (69.6 percent) versus ranked foes.
Kansas returns home to host West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. on ESPN and then play at Kansas State on its third of four ESPN Big Mondays on Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. The Jayhawks will host TCU on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network.