Baylor's Gary Franklin (4) defends as Kansas' Naadir Tharpe (10) drives to basket for a shot attempt in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
JAYHAWKS RETURN HOME TO HOST TEXAS
With a two-game lead in the Big 12 standings, No. 8/8 Kansas (20-6, 11-2) plays host to second-place No. 19/17 Texas (20-6, 9-4), on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU. KU is coming off a 64-63 win at Texas Tech Tuesday, while Texas had its two-game winning streak snapped with a 70-64 loss at No. 11/14 Iowa State the same night.
Kansas and Texas are the two winningest programs in the Big 12 since the inception of the conference in 1996-97. Kansas is first with 242 league victories, while Texas is next at 192. Kansas has won a conference-best 13 regular-season championships, including each of the last nine, and nine Big 12 postseason championships. Texas' three Big 12 regular-season titles are second behind KU.
Kansas averages 79.5 points per game and has a +9.8 scoring margin. KU has outrebounded 22 of 26 opponents, including 11 of 13 Big 12 foes, and holds a +7.5 rebound margin. KU boasts an NCAA-best 50.3 field goal percentage and has shot 50 percent or better in six of its last 10 games, including a season-best 61.5 percent against TCU (2/15). In all, KU has outshot 21 of its 26 opponents in 2013-14. KU also ranks in the top four in the Big 12 in scoring offense (fourth, 79.5), scoring margin (third, +9.8), rebound margin (third, +7.5), assists (third, 15.7) and blocked shots (second, 5.7).
After his 19 points at Texas Tech (2/18), which included the game-winning shot with 1.7 seconds remaining, freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 16.2 scoring average, the best among Big 12 freshmen and ninth overall in the conference. He has made 31 threes this season and is the team leader with 28 steals. Wiggins' 5.8 rebound average is third on the team and 19th in the conference. Sophomore F Perry Ellis was named the co-Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time this season on Feb. 17, after his career-high 32 points on 13-of-15 shooting against TCU (2/15). Ellis is KU's second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game, which is 15th in the Big 12. Ellis' 6.7 rebound average is second on the team (10th in the Big 12) and he leads the league with a 54.6 field goal percentage. Freshman C Joel Embiid is tied for the KU freshman record with 62 blocked shots this season and his 2.5 blocked shots per game are second in the league. Embiid leads KU with 7.8 rebounds per game, which sixth in the Big 12. Embiid is shooting 62.3 percent from the field, which would lead the league if he made 5.0 per game. The seven-footer averages 11.0 points per game and is third on the team with 18 steals. Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., is scoring 10.2 points per game and has three 20-point scoring games this season, all in league play. His 33 three-pointers are second on the team, as are his 67 assists. Junior G Naadir Tharpe's 5.2 assists rank third in the Big 12 and his 2.6 assist-to-turnover ratio is also third. Tharpe has made a team-best 36 three-pointers this season and is scoring 8.9 points per game.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 5.8 points per game and is third on the team with 59 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 74.5 field goal percentage and is averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in his 15 minutes per contest. Other contributors off the bench include senior F Tarik Black (4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg), freshman G Brannen Greene (2.5 ppg), freshman G Conner Frankamp (1.9 ppg) and redshirt freshman F Landen Lucas (1.8 ppg). Black started for an injured Embiid against TCU (2/15), his ninth start of 2013-14.
Located in Austin, Texas, with an enrollment of 52,076, Texas won 10 of its first 11 games to start the season and is now 20-6 overall and 9-4 in Big 12 play. The Longhorns are coached by Rick Barnes who is 378-161 in his 16th season at UT and 580-295 in his 27th season overall. Texas averages 76.9 points per game with a +6.4 scoring margin. UT leads the Big 12 with 42.0 rebounds per game and is second in the league with a +8.1 rebound margin. Texas also leads the conference in blocks with 6.1 per game, with KU's 5.7 being second. The Longhorns are second in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 40.1 percent and average 28.5 free throw attempts per game.
Texas is deep, as the Longhorns have 10 players who average 10 or more minutes per game. Junior F Jonathan Holmes and freshman G Isaiah Taylor lead the team with 13.1 scoring averages. Holmes' 7.4 rebound average is second on the team and seventh in the Big 12. He has 29 blocked shots this season. Taylor is the team leader in assists with 97 and his 3.7 apg are ninth in the Big 12. He is second on the team with 28 steals and he has made a team-best 124 free throws. Sophomore G Javan Felix is next in scoring at 12.8 points and leads UT with 44 three-pointers made this season. Felix is second on the team with 70 assists and third with 25 steals. Sophomore C Cameron Ridley leads UT with 7.9 rebounds per game, which is fifth in the league. His 2.3 blocked shots are third in the league and he scores 10.8 points per game. Sophomore G Demarcus Holland (7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg) rounds out the UT starters. Freshman G Damarcus Croaker (4.0 ppg, 22 three-pointers), sophomore C Prince Ibeh (4.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 49 blocked shots), sophomore F Connor Lammert (5.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), freshman G Kendal Yancy (3.6 ppg) and freshman G Martez Walker (3.5 ppg) are the Texas regulars off the bench.
Year-in and year-out, the Kansas-Texas battles are some of the best in the Big 12, and nationally, in a series that dates back to 1938. Kansas leads the all-time series 22-8, and has won four of the last five meetings and eight of the last 10 matchups, starting with the 2008 Big 12 Championship title game. These two teams have met in four of the last seven Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship title games with KU claiming all four match-ups: 80-68 in Dallas in 2006, 88-84 in overtime in Oklahoma City in 2007, 84-74 in Kansas City in 2008 and 85-73 in Kansas City in 2011. Kansas is 11-1 against Texas in games played in Lawrence, including a 9-1 record inside Allen Fieldhouse. On Jan. 22, 2011, UT ended KU's 69-game home-court winning streak, its lone win in Lawrence. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas holds an 18-7 record against Texas with a 14-6 mark in regular-season play and 4-1 record in the Big 12 Championship. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 12-8 all-time against Texas, including 12-6 while at KU. Texas head coach Rick Barnes is 7-16 all-time versus Kansas.
Earlier this season, Texas handed Kansas its first Big 12 loss of 2014 with an 81-69 win on Feb. 1 in Austin. UT used solid defense holding Kansas to 25.8 percent shooting in the first half as the Longhorns led 38-23 at intermission. Texas outrebounded KU 44-37 for the game. KU was led by freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr., who scored 21 points, while sophomore F Perry Ellis was the only other KU double-figure scorer with 11 points. Freshman C Joel Embiid just missed a double-double with eight points and a team-best 10 rebounds. Texas' Isaiah Taylor led all scorers with 23 points, one ahead of teammate Jonathan Holmes' 22.
AFTER ONLY ONE SEASON
Last season, Ben McLemore broke the Kansas freshman scoring record, which was held for 28 years by KU legend Danny Manning, set in 1985. Manning scored 496 points, while McLemore became the first freshman in school history to surpass the 500-point barrier with 596 in 2012-13. This season, KU freshman G Andrew Wiggins' 16.2 points per game is just ahead of McLemore's KU frosh-record average of 15.9 ppg and Wiggins' 421 points rank fifth on the KU freshman list. Wiggins already owns the KU freshman record for free throw attempts (165) and free throws made (124).
EMBIID KU FROSH RECORD HOLDER
Freshman C Joel Embiid is tied with former Kansas basketball great Eric Chenowith for the KU freshman blocked shots record at 62. Chenowith swatted his 62 shots in 1998, although he didn't set it as consistently as Embiid's pace. Embiid has blocked at least one shot in 19-consecutive games played heading into the Feb. 22 game versus Texas. Chenowith's longest streak stopped at five-straight. Embiid's eight blocked shots against Oklahoma State (1/18) set the KU freshman game record and tied the Big 12 freshman game record.
Embiid's 7.8 rebound average in 2013-14 is just ahead of Danny Manning's KU freshman record of 7.6 set in 1985. Embiid's 194 boards rank seventh on the KU freshman list. Also if maintained, Embiid's 62.3 field goal percentage would set the KU freshman record (59.5 by Jeff Gueldner in 1987) and rank fifth on KU's overall single-season list.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas is ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press in the poll released Feb. 17. The Jayhawks were in the AP top 10 the first five polls of 2013-14 and 10 total in 2013-14. KU is No. 8 in the Feb. 17 USA Today Coaches' poll. In the Bill Self era, this is the 166th week Kansas has been ranked in the AP top 25, which includes 117 times in the top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 100 polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked 193 times, including 141 in the top 10 in the Self era. KU has been listed in each of the last 104 coaches' polls.
HOME SWEET HOME
Bill Self is 172-9 in games played at Allen Fieldhouse for a 95.0 winning percentage. Self's Big 12 Conference titles (nine) match his home losses while at Kansas (nine). Included was a school-record 69-game home-court winning streak which led the nation for more than two seasons and ranks 11th all-time in the NCAA records book as well as a 33-game home-court winning streak that ended Feb. 2, 2013, tied for fourth most in KU history. Kansas is 118-3 in Allen Fieldhouse in its last 121 games and has won 112-straight games against non-ranked teams in the venue dating back to the 2006-07 season. Kansas is 710-109 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse in regular-season games and won victory No. 700 in the 2013-14 season opener against ULM, 80-63, on Nov. 8.
KANSAS VS. RANKED FOES UNDER BILL SELF
Texas will be the 10th Associated Press ranked team Kansas will face in 2013-14. Kansas is 6-3 against ranked foes this season and has defeated five of its last six top-25 opponents. KU 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 KU IS 39-17 (69.6 percent) versus ranked foes.
WHO SCHEDULED THIS
In the latest RPI released by the NCAA (2/10), Kansas is No. 1 ahead of Arizona. The Jayhawks have the No. 1 strength of schedule and have faced six teams currently ranked in the Associated Press poll – No. 3 Florida, No. 5 San Diego State, No. 6 Villanova, No. 8 Duke, No. 11 Iowa State and No. 19 Texas.
Kansas will host Oklahoma in its fourth ESPN Big Monday appearance of 2013-14 on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. KU will then travel to Oklahoma State on March 1 at 8 p.m. on ESPN. ESPN College Gameday will originate from Stillwater that day. Kansas returns home for Senior Night on Wednesday, March 5, against Texas Tech at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Network.