Bill Self talks to reporters following KU's 64-57 win over Western Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament late Friday night. (Jovarie Downing, WIBW-TV)
Exhibition Play Arrives, No. 6 Kansas to Host Pittsburg State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Set for its earliest exhibition date inside Allen Fieldhouse, the sixth-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team unofficially opens the 2013-14 season when it hosts Pittsburg State, Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
KANSAS OPENS EXHIBITION PLAY
The game will be televised on Jayhawk IMG TV and can also be seen via the internet by fans outside of Kansas by visiting KUAthletics.com/ESPN. For more information on accessing Kansas video content, visit KUAthletics.com/TV.
Kansas is 61-9 in exhibition contests, including 29-2 under head coach Bill Self, who is starting his 11th season at KU. The Kansas contest will be the first action for Pittsburg State this season.
Preseason ranked No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, Kansas returns nine letterwinners from last season’s team which went 31-6 and won an NCAA-best 56th, the 13th Big 12 and an unprecedented ninth-straight regular-season conference title. The Jayhawks also won the Big 12 postseason championship, KU’s ninth in the Big 12 and 13th all-time.
The Jayhawks entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed and advanced to KU’s 30th Sweet 16. KU’s 31 victories marked the 12th time in school history the Jayhawks won 30 or more games, including six under Self.
Sophomore forward Perry Ellis is KU’s leading returning scorer at 5.8 points per game and rebounder at 3.9 boards per contest in 2012-13. Ellis came on strong down the stretch for KU last season being named to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team.
Junior guard Naadir Tharpe ranked 12th in the Big 12 in assists per game at 3.1. He averaged 5.5 points per outing.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jamari Traylor (2.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg) averaged nearly 10 minutes per game for KU in 2012-13. Sophomore guard Andrew White III scored 2.2 points per game and has proven he can be a three-point threat for the Jayhawks.
Redshirt freshman forward Landen Lucas could also have an immediate impact having been in the KU system for one season. Look for forward Justin Wesley and guard Niko Roberts to also provide leadership heading into their senior campaigns.
Reloading in a hurry from losing five starters from 2012-13, Self and his staff welcome eight newcomers to the 2013-14 roster, including the nation’s No. 1 recruit in guard Andrew Wiggins.
A transfer from Memphis, senior forward Tarik Black will provide leadership for his final year of playing collegiately. Assisting on the inside will be 7-foot freshman center Joel Embiid.
Joining Wiggins on the perimeter are newcomers Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene, Frank Mason and Wayne Selden, Jr. Forward Hunter Mickelson will sit out 2013-14 after transferring from Arkansas. He will be a junior for the Jayhawks in 2014-15. Together, KU’s class of 2013 comprises the second-ranked recruiting class in the country.
About Pittsburg State
Located in Pittsburg, Kan., with an enrollment of 7,127, Pittsburg State is playing its first exhibition game of the 2013-14 season at Kansas. The Gorillas are coached by Kevin Muff who is 48-37 in three seasons at PSU. Last year Pittsburg State went 18-10 and finished seventh in the MIAA with a 10-8 record. The Gorillas return four players from its 2012-13 team, including two players who made 10 or more starts a year ago: junior guard Sam Pugh and sophomore guard Jake Bullard. Bullard leads the Pitt State returners with a 7.0-point scoring average. He added 2.7 rebounds per game and dished out 37 assists in 23 games played (15 starts). Pugh chipped in with 3.8 points per game and dished out 47 assists in 27 games played (10 starts). Pittsburg State was picked to finish eighth in the MIAA preseason coaches’ poll.
A Kansas Win Would…
Make Kansas 62-9 all-time in exhibition games… Extend Kansas’ home exhibition winning streak to 39 games dating back to the 1994 season... Make Kansas 10-0 against Pitt State, including 6-0 in exhibition games… Improve Kansas head coach Bill Self to 30-2 in exhibition play while at KU… Make KU 53-4 in exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse... Make Bill Self 21-0 in home exhibition games while at Kansas.
A Kansas Loss Would…
Break KU’s 38-game home exhibition win streak, marking the first loss in an exhibition game in AFH since a 93-82 loss to Australia on Nov. 9, 1993… Give Pittsburg State its first win against Kansas making the all-time series 9-1 in favor of the Jayhawks, 5-1 in exhibition meetings… Drop Bill Self to 29-3 in exhibition games while at KU… Give KU a 52-5 record in exhibition play at Allen Fieldhouse and 61-10 all-time exhibition record.
--Kansas has scored 100-plus points in 24 exhibition games, including four of its last seven.
--Kansas has won 38-straight exhibition contests in Allen Fieldhouse.
In the Polls
Kansas men’s basketball enters the 2013-14 season at No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll released Oct. 16, marking the 22nd time in the 25-year history of the coaches’ poll that the Jayhawks have been ranked. The ranking is the eighth time in the Bill Self era that the Jayhawks enter the season slotted seventh or higher. Last season, KU entered the year No. 7 nationally in the coaches’ poll and finished at No. 8 on the final poll. The Jayhawks were ranked in the top 10 in all but two polls during the 2012-13 season.
In 2013-14, Kansas is scheduled to play four games against teams ranked in the 2013-14 preseason coaches’ poll: No. 4 Duke, No. 8 Florida and No. 12 Oklahoma State (twice). The Associated Press preseason poll is expected to be released Oct. 31.
Kansas’ 2013-14 men’s basketball schedule potentially includes 15 opponents which advanced to the 2013 postseason (12 NCAA, three NIT), including six foes that either won their regular-season or conference tournament titles last year. The 12 NCAA participants on the KU schedule for 2013-14 include: Colorado, Duke, Georgetown, Florida, Iona, Iowa State, Kansas State, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, San Diego State and possibly Villanova. Baylor won the 2013 NIT while Iowa and Tennessee, like Villanova, who are in the Battle 4 Atlantis event, also played in last season’s NIT.
Men’s Basketball GSR Perfect Again
Five Kansas Athletics programs achieved perfect scores as part of a department-wide effort that saw Jayhawk student-athletes collectively top the national Graduation Success Rate (GSR) average. Kansas posted an 84 percent GSR, one point off of the program record 85 set last year and three percentage points higher than the overall national average, in numbers released by the NCAA Oct. 24. Kansas men’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, softball and women’s tennis posted perfect GSRs, meaning for a four-year average all student-athletes either graduated or left the program in good academic standing. This year’s numbers reflect a four-year average for students who entered college from 2003-06.
Kansas set departmental records for GSR in each of the last two school years and maintained a level of excellence in the latest results. There is no NCAA penalty for a poor GSR score and conversely no reward, but the number provides a more accurate snapshot of student-athlete academic performance than the federal graduation rate. The Graduation Success Rate includes transfer students and student-athletes who leave in good academic standing, unlike the federal rate, which does not count transfers. The GSR and federal rate calculations measure graduation over six years from initial college enrollment.
Kansas men’s basketball posted its second-consecutive perfect, four-year GSR score and remains significantly better than the sport’s national rate of 70 percent.
This Date in Kansas Basketball History
Kansas has yet to play a game on Oct. 29 as it enters its 116th year of men’s basketball. KU has played out of the country exhibition games in September in 2004 in Canada and August in 2008 in Canada and 2012 in Switzerland and France. Last year’s Oct. 30 exhibition win against Emporia State was the earliest exhibition game in Allen Fieldhouse before this season’s Oct. 29 game against Pittsburg State.
Kansas will continue exhibition play when it hosts Fort Hays State Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.