Kansas returns home to host Oklahoma State in a Saturday afternoon Big 12 Conference battle. The Jayhawks and Cowboys will square off at 3 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse and the game will be televised on the Big 12 Television Network. Kansas takes a 33-game home-court winning streak, the second-longest in the nation, into the OSU contest.
Kansas, ranked No. 2 by the Associated Press and No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches’ polls released Jan. 28, is 19-1 (7-0 Big 12) on the season after winning at new league foe West Virginia, 61-56, on ESPN’s Big Monday. Kansas’ 18-game winning streak is the nation’s longest and is the third longest during the Bill Self era. In his 10th season at Kansas, Self holds a 288-54 record for an 84.2 winning percentage. Overall, Self is nearing his 500th career victory with a 495-159 record in his 20th season as a head coach. Kansas averages 73.9 points per game and is giving up 58.7 for a Big 12-leading +15.3 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 38.8 to 32.5 and averages 7.4 steals while also leading the conference in field goal percentage at 48.2, field goal percentage defense at 35.0 and blocked shots at 7.5.
Kansas starts four seniors, including three fifth-year seniors, and one freshman. Named to the Sporting News Mid-Season All-American team Jan. 15, redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game, which leads all Big 12 freshmen and ranks second overall in the conference. The Jan. 14 Big 12 Player of the Week and two-time conference rookie of the week, McLemore leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage (86.7) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (45.1). McLemore, who is listed on the USBWA Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award Midseason list, has a team-high 37 three-pointers made and is second on the team with 24 steals. All-America candidate senior C Jeff Withey leads Kansas in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and has seven double-doubles this season. Withey leads the league in blocked shots at 4.3 per game, which ranks third nationally. A USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Midseason honoree and Wooden Award Mid-Season Top 25 honoree along with McLemore, Withey is scoring 13.1 points per outing. Senior G Travis Releford leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 61.7 percent and ranks second in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 86.4 percent. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford was 7-for-9 with 15 points at West Virginia Monday. He is scoring 12.9 points per contest. Senior G Elijah Johnson has a team-high 96 assists and is second on the team with 29 three-pointers made to complement his 9.4 scoring average. Senior F Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.3 points per game and is second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per outing. Young has two double-doubles this season. Other KU regulars include freshman F Perry Ellis (5.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg), sophomore G Naadir Tharpe (5.1 ppg, 2.5 apg) and redshirt freshman F Jamari Traylor (2.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg).
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE
Located in Stillwater, Okla., with an enrollment of 35,000, Oklahoma State is 14-5 on the season, 4-3 in Big 12 play after its 78-76 come-from-behind win against Iowa State Wednesday (1/30). The Cowboys are coached by Travis Ford who is 94-60 in his fifth season at OSU and 284-206 in his 16th season overall. Oklahoma State is 11-1 at home, 0-4 in road games and 3-0 on neutral courts in 2012-13. OSU averages 71.1 points and gives up 59.2 for a +11.8 scoring margin. OSU has a +3.6 rebound margin, leads the Big 12 Conference in free throw percentage at 75.1 percent and is second in the league in turnover margin (+2.6). The Cowboys also force 15.3 turnovers per game.
Junior G Markel Brown leads OSU in scoring at 14.8 points per game which ranks fifth in the Big 12. He is second on the team with 25 three-pointers made and at 4.5 rpg is one of six Cowboys who average 4.4 rebounds or better. Freshman G Marcus Smart leads the Big 12 with 2.8 steals per game to complement his 13.6 scoring average. His 88 assists are a team high and his 5.6 rebounds per outing are second best on the OSU squad. Sophomore G/F Le’Bryan Nash is next in scoring at 13.5 points per contest. He averages 4.4 rebounds per game. Redshirt sophomore F Michael Cobbins (6.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and senior C Philip Jurick (3.8 ppg, a team-best 7.2 rpg and 22 blocked shots) round out the OSU starters. Freshman G Phil Forte comes off the bench and has made a team-best 49 three-pointers this season. Forte averages 11.9 points per game, is second on the team with 28 steals and makes 89.1 percent from the free throw line. Other OSU regulars include freshman F Kamari Murphy (4.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and junior G Kirby Gardner (1.8 ppg).
Kansas leads the overall series with Oklahoma State 106-53. The Jayhawks have defeated the Cowboys in their last four meetings and five of the last six matchups. Kansas is 58-10 against Oklahoma State in games played in Lawrence, including a 43-8 record in Allen Fieldhouse. Since 1990, Kansas has defeated Oklahoma State 16-straight times in The Fieldhouse. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, KU is 16-6 versus OSU (12-4 in regular-season play and 4-2 in the Big 12 Championship). KU head coach Bill Self is 10-7 all-time against his alma mater, including 9-4 while at KU. Oklahoma State’s Travis Ford is 1-5 versus Kansas.
KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES
--Kansas is third in NCAA Division I and first in the Big 12 in blocked shots at 7.5 per game and also leads the conference in scoring margin (+15.3), field goal percentage (48.2) and field goal percentage defense (31.1). The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (third, 73.9), three-point field goal percentage (second, 36.4), free throw percentage (third, 72.1), rebounding (third, 38.8), rebound defense (second, 32.5), rebound margin (second, +6.3), assists (third, 15.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth, 1.2).
--The Jayhawks have held a double-digit lead in all but two contests this season, with the exceptions coming in their 67-64 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 13 when they held a seven-point lead and at Texas (1/19) when they led by five.
--Out of its 20 games, Kansas has held 15 of its opponents to 60 points or less, including each of its last six conference foes: 46 at Texas Tech, 44 vs. Baylor, 59 at Texas, 55 at Kansas State, 54 vs. Oklahoma and 56 at West Virginia.
--KU has outrebounded 17 of 20 opponents this season including 13 of its last 14 foes. KU has had four games with 10-plus rebounds over its opponent, including a 41-31 advantage versus Oklahoma (1/26).
--Kansas has out shot all but two opponents in 2012-13. Michigan State outshot KU (52.1 to 50.0 percent) and Texas outshot KU 44.6 to 39.2 percent. Additionally, KU has shot 50 percent or better in nine games this season, including eight of the last 13 contests. KU's 54.1 percent at West Virginia (1/28) was its league best during 2012-13.
--Kansas has held a 40-plus point lead in four different games this season.
--Kansas had four players score in double figures in nine times this season, including five against Iowa State (1/9).
Kansas has out shot all but two opponents in 2012-13 and has shot 50 percent or better from the field in nine games. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 48.2 percent and is second three-point field goal percentage at 36.4 percent. Individually, senior G Travis Releford leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 61.7 and is 86-for-126 (68.3 percent) from the field in his last 17 games. Redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore has shot 50 percent or better from three-point range in nine of his last 12 games, including a 6-for-6 effort vs. Iowa State (1/9), a 2-for-3 game at Texas (1/19), a 1-for-2 night at Kansas State (1/22) and a 3-for-5 outing vs. Oklahoma (1/26). Senior C Jeff Withey has shot 50 percent or better in 16 of 20 games this season, including 10 games at 60 percent or higher. Withey was 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) at Texas, 3-for-6 at Kansas State, 6-for-11 vs. Oklahoma and 6-for-8 at West Virginia (1/28). Senior F Kevin Young has six games of shooting 66.7 percent or better, including two in conference play: 7-of-9 at Texas Tech and 2-of-3 at Texas.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas moved up to No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches' poll released Jan. 21. Kansas was last No. 1 on also on Feb. 14, 2011, and has been the nation's top team 38 times, including 20 in the Bill Self era. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 75 polls, including 62 times in the Top 10.
KU is No. 2 in the Jan. 28 Associated Press poll and dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 70th-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, including 60 times in the Top 10.
Here are some block party notables for Kansas All-American candidate Jeff Withey:
--Withey leads the Big 12 and is third nationally with 4.3 blocked shots per game. KU's record for single-season blocked shot average is 3.6 set by Withey in 2012.
--The 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Withey set the KU and Big 12 single-game record with 12 blocked shots versus San Jose State (11/26).
--Withey's 86 blocks in 2012-13 are more than six Big 12 teams this season and rank sixth on the KU single-season list.
--Withey ranks third on the KU career blocked shots list with 251. He is seven blocked shots from the KU career record of 258 held by Greg Ostertag (1992-95).
--For his career, Withey has had 10 games with seven or more blocked shots, including three in 2012-13.
--Withey broke the NCAA Tournament record for blocked shots with 31 in the 2012 event.
--Withey broke the Kansas and Big 12 single-season blocked shots record with 140 last year (3.6 per game). He became only the second Jayhawk to pass 100 blocked shots for a single season (125, Cole Aldrich in 2009-10).
Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 16.1 scoring average, which is second overall in the conference. He leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 86.7 and is second three-point field goal percentage at 45.1 percent. KU's leading scorer as well, McLemore has five games with 20 points or more this season, including a 33-point effort against Iowa State (1/9) in the Big 12 opener.
Kansas freshman record-wise, McLemore's:
...16.1 ppg would surpass the KU freshman record of 14.6 ppg held by by Danny Manning in 1985.
...5.4 rebound average would rank eighth on the KU freshman list.
...37 three-pointers made in 2012-13 are eighth on the KU freshman list.
...45.1 three-point field goal percentage is fifth on the KU freshman list.
McLemore's 33 points against Iowa State (1/9):
--Were the most by a Jayhawk since Marcus Morris tallied 33 points against Iowa State on Jan. 12, 2011.
--Are the most points scored in a game this season in the Big 12 Conference for all players.
--Were the most by a Kansas freshman since Danny Manning scored 35 points against Oklahoma State on March 2, 1985.
--Consisted of him connecting on 6-of-6 three-point field goal attempts, marking the best three-point field goal percentage since Rex Walters went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc against Ball State in 2003.
MCLEMORE AND WITHEY NAMED TO MIDSEASON TEAMS
Kansas' Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey were named to the USBWA Oscar Robertson Player of the Year Midseason Watch List on Jan. 31. On Jan. 10, the duo was selected to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Oscar Robertson award consisted of 12 players and Kansas and Indiana were the only schools with multiple players listed with two each. For the Wooden Award, Kansas is one of three schools to have two players among the 25, along with Duke and Missouri. The 2013 Wooden Award Gala will take place April 11-13, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Gala will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, All Americans and the Legends of Coaching Award winner, Kansas head coach Bill Self.
MCLEMORE SPORTING NEWS MID-SEASON ALL-AMERICAN
Kansas redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore was named to the Sporting News Mid-Season All-America First Team it was announced Jan. 15. McLemore is joined on the first team by Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart, Michigan sophomore Trey Burke, Creighton junior Doug McDermott and Duke senior Mason Plumlee.
Kansas will play at TCU on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU and at Oklahoma on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2. KU returns home to host Kansas State on ESPN's Big Monday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m.