Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, right, gets to the ball ahead of Kansas State's Wesley Iwundu (25) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kans., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
KANSAS HITS THE ROAD
No. 8/11 Kansas (14-4) takes its undefeated Big 12 record (5-0) on the road when it plays at TCU, Saturday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Jayhawks are coming off their fourth-straight win versus a nationally-ranked foe when they defeated No. 24/23 Baylor, 78-68, on ESPN Big Monday. It was the first time a team had beat four-straight ranked teams since North Carolina did it in 1996-97. TCU is 9-9 overall and 0-6 in Big 12 play after its 77-69 loss at No. 25 Oklahoma Wednesday in a game which was tied with just under four minutes remaining. Last season these two teams were in a similar situation with KU at 7-1 in Big 12 play and TCU at 0-8 when the Horned Frogs defeated the Jayhawks 62-55 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
Kansas' four losses in 2013-14 have been by a combined 17 points with three versus teams currently ranked in the AP top 10 (No. 4 Villanova, No. 6 Florida, No. 7 San Diego State) and the fourth against Colorado which is currently receiving votes.
Kansas averages 78.9 points per game and has a +9.7 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 15 of 18 opponents, including four of five conference contests, and holds a +6.8 rebound margin. KU boasts a league-best 50.6 field goal percentage and has shot 50 percent or better in four of its last five games and five of its last seven contests. In all, KU has outshot 16 of its 18 opponents in 2013-14. KU's bench has outscored 10 opponents this season and averages 22.6 points per contest.
Freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 15.2 scoring average, which also leads the Big 12 freshman class and is 10th overall in the conference. Wiggins is 50-of-59 (84.7 percent) from the free throw line in his last 10 games after his 10-for-12 charity shots in scoring 17 points in the win versus Baylor. He has made 20 threes this season, leads KU with 17 steals and his 6.1 rebound average is third on the team. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is next in scoring at 13.2 points per game, 16th in the league, after his team-high 18 points against Baylor. He has five 20-point games in 2013-14 while his 6.4 rebound average is second on the team and 13th in the Big 12. Freshman C Joel Embiid has a team-high 50 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 second on the team with 16 steals, while his 7.4 rebounds per game are a team best, lead the Big 12 freshmen and rank eighth in the conference. Embiid is shooting 67.9 percent from the field, averages 11.1 points per game and has three double-doubles in his last seven 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 13.4 points in Big 12 play and 9.8 in all games. He has two 20-point efforts this season and his 23 three-pointers are third most on the team as are his 44 assists. Like Selden, junior G Naadir Tharpe also posted back-to-back 20-point efforts in conference play. Facing top-10 teams, Tharpe scored 23 points at No. 8/10 Iowa State and followed that with 21 versus No. 9/8 Oklahoma State, which earned him Big 12 and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week accolades. Tharpe leads KU in conference games with a 14.2 ppg. Tharpe's 5.1 assists are fourth in the Big 12.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 6.9 points per game and is second on the team with 46 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 72.7 field goal percentage and is averaging 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. Other contributors off the bench include senior F Tarik Black (3.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg), freshman G Brannen Greene (2.2 ppg) and freshman G Conner Frankamp (1.7 ppg).
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, with an enrollment of 9,725, TCU is 9-9 (0-6) after its 77-69 loss at No. 25 Oklahoma on Wednesday. The Horned Frogs are coached by Trent Johnson who is 20-30 in his second season at TCU and 246-215 in his 15th season overall. TCU is 5-4 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. TCU averages 66.1 points per game and has a -2.6 scoring margin. The Horned Frogs are third in the Big 12 in scoring defense allowing 68.6 points per game. TCU is getting outrebounded by 5.3 boards per game, yet winning the turnover margin with a +1.7 average. The Horned Frogs force 6.1 steals per game. TCU's 71.9 free throw percentage is third in the league.
TCU has eight players who average 16 or more minutes per game. Junior G Kyan Anderson leads TCU in scoring at 15.1 points which is 11th in the Big 12. He has a team-best 87 assists and 27 steals while his 21 three-pointers are second most on the squad. Anderson's 4.6 assists per game are fourth in the conference and his 1.5 steals are third. Junior F Amric Fields is next in scoring 13.8 points per game and his 5.5 rebounds are also second on the team. His 45.9 field goal percentage is barely behind team leader Jarvis Ray's 46.0. Ray, a senior guard, scores 9.6 points per game and his 23 steals are second behind Anderson. Ray also averages 4.0 rebounds per contest. Freshman G Brandon Parrish has made a team-best 24 three-pointers this season and scores 10.2 points per outing. Freshman C Karviar Shepherd rounds out the TCU starters. His 2.1 blocked shots per game are fourth in the Big 12 as he scores 8.4 points per game. Shepherd's 7.6 rebound average is fifth in the conference. Other key contributors for TCU include sophomore G Charles Hill, Jr. (5.1 ppg), freshman G Michael Williams (4.5 ppg) and sophomore G Christian Gore (3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg).
Though this is the third 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 5-1 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 9-4 all-time against TCU, including 3-1 while at Kansas. TCU head coach Trent Johnson is 2-1 against Kansas, 1-1 while at TCU. 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 is 11-1 when shooting 50 percent or better in the game and has eclipsed the 50 percent field goal percentage in four of five Big 12 games. The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 12 games, including seven of their last nine contests and eight of the last 11 outings.
In 11 of KU's 14 victories, the Jayhawks have scored at least 80 points.
KU has outrebounded 15 of its 18 opponents this season, including four Big 12 contests. KU has eight games with a +10 rebound advantage and its +17 at Iowa State (1/13) was a season best. KU has a +10 rebound advantage in five of its last nine 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 three 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 five Big 12 contests.
After going 6-for-8 (75 percent) with a team-high 18 points against Baylor, 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 is 40-for-56 (71.4 percent) from the field in his last nine games. Embiid has 41 blocked shots in his last 12 games including a KU and Big 12-tying freshman eight against Oklahoma State (1/18).
After his 19 rebounds at Iowa State (1/13), freshman G Andrew Wiggins has led Kansas in rebounds three times this season. He leads the Big 12 freshman class in scoring (15.2 ppg) and has made 80 percent or better from the free throw line in seven games this season.
Freshman G Frank Mason was 4-for-5 against Baylor (1/20). Shooting 42.4 percent for the season, Mason has shot 50 percent or better in five of his last six games. He is 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) in his last three contests.
Sophomore F Jamari Traylor was 4-for-4 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line in his last two games, which included a career-high nine points against Oklahoma State (1/18). Traylor is 18-for-22 (81.8 percent) from the field in his last 11 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-straight 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 eight points in his last two games. He is 3-for-5 from the field, including 2-for-4 from three-point range in that span.
TURNING IT UP IN BIG 12 PLAY
The only undefeated team in the Big 12 at 5-0, Kansas has turned it up statistically in conference play.
Kansas' Conference Play Improvement (*leads the Big 12)
Big 12 All
Scoring 82.2* 78.9
Scoring Margin +10.4* +9.7
Rebound Margin +8.2* +6.8
FG Pct. 54.4 50.6*
3FG Pct. 41.0* 35.2
FT Pct. 75.8 69.9
FG Pct. Def. 39.3* 40.3
Blocked Shots 6.6* 6.4
Kansas' 78-68 win against No. 24 Baylor on Jan. 20 marked the first time in program history that the Jayhawks defeated four-straight top-25 opponents (No. 25 Kansas State, No. 8 Iowa State, No. 9 Oklahoma State, No. 24 Baylor). The last school to win as many as four-consecutive regular season games, all against schools ranked in the AP top 25, was when North Carolina did so in February/March 1997. The Tar Heels beat No. 4 Wake Forest, No. 14 Maryland, No. 12 Clemson, and No. 7 Duke in four-consecutive games. Since then, there have been 58 schools to play at least four-consecutive regular-season games against AP-ranked opponents with none of them winning all four games.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas has climbed back into the Associated Press top 10 at No. 8 in the poll released Jan. 20. The Jayhawks were in the AP top 10 the first five polls of 2013-14. KU is No. 11 in the Jan. 20 USA Today Coaches' poll. In the Bill Self era, this is the 162nd week Kansas has been ranked in the AP top 25, which includes 113 times in the top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 96 polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked 189 times, including 137 in the top 10 in the Self era. KU has been listed in each of the last 100 coaches' polls.
Kansas will play its second 2014 contest against Iowa State when the Cyclones come to Lawrence on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. KU will then take a two-game road trip to the Lone Star State when the Jayhawks play at 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 either ESPN or ESPN2.