After a two-game road swing in conference action, No. 2 Kansas plays host to Border Showdown foe Missouri on ESPN Big Monday. Kansas is 22-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12 after its 86-66 win at Nebraska Saturday. No. 14/15 Missouri is 18-5 overall and 4-4 in league play after its 89-73 win against Colorado Saturday in Columbia, Mo. This is a battle of the Big 12's top two scoring teams as Missouri scores 83.3 points per game and Kansas 82.9.
Kansas is 22-1 on the season and has won at least 22 games for the 22nd consecutive season dating back to 1989-90. The Jayhawks average 82.9 points and give up 63.0 for a +19.9 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +6.9 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.0 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+19.9), assists (18.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).
Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 18.6 points in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 16.7 scoring average. Marcus leads the Big 12 with his 60.3 percent field goal percentage. A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season and a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate, Marcus' 6.8 rebounds per game are second best on KU's team. Marcus' twin, Markieff Morris, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.5 boards per game and in double-doubles with eight. Markieff is averaging 13.1 points per game. He leads KU with 24 blocked shots.
Freshman guard Josh Selby missed the Nebraska game on Feb. 5 due to an ankle injury. Selby averages 12.0 points, 2.1 three-pointers, 3.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds per contest this season. Senior guard Tyrel Reed is averaging 9.7 points per game for the season. He leads KU with 46 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Thomas Robinson, a sophomore forward, is third on the team with a 6.4 rebound average to complement his 8.9 scoring average. He had 17 points and nine rebounds against Kansas State in an uplifting performance and 17 points and nine rebounds at Texas Tech (Feb. 1) as well.
Junior Tyshawn Taylor averages 8.4 points per game and ranks third in the Big 12 with 4.8 assists per contest. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Taylor has 30 steals this season. Senior guard Brady Morningstar is coming off a season-high 19 points at Nebraska (Feb. 5) where he was 5-for-7 from the field with all attempts from three-point range. Morningstar leads KU with 34 steals, three ahead of Reed. Morningstar is second on the team with 64 assists and is scoring 5.9 points per game.
Located in Columbia, Mo., with an enrollment of 30,200, Missouri (18-5, 4-4 Big 12) snapped a two-game losing streak with an 89-73 win against Colorado Saturday. MU is ranked No. 14 by the Associated Press and No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Jan. 31. Missouri leads the Big 12 in scoring offense at 83.3 points, just ahead of Kansas at 82.9. The Tigers have a +14.2 scoring margin and also lead the conference in blocked shots (5.6), steals (10.0) and turnover margin (+5.5). Through 23 games, MU is 14-0 at home, 1-4 on the road and 3-1 on neutral courts.
Junior guard Marcus Denmon leads Missouri in scoring at 16.7 points per game. He has made a team-high 56 three-point field goals and his 45.9 percent from three-point range is second in the Big 12. Denmon also leads the team with 48 steals, seven ahead of sophomore guard Mike Dixon Jr.'s 41. Dixon scores 10.4 points per game. Junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe is second on the team in scoring at 11.7 points and he leads Missouri with 6.8 rebounds per game and a 58.8 field goal percentage.
Junior guard Kim English, who grew up with Kansas freshman Josh Selby in Baltimore, is scoring 10.8 points per game. English is second on the team with 44 three-pointers and has 31 steals. Junior forward Laurence Bowers scores 10.7 points per game and is second on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game. His 2.1 blocked shots per game are second in the Big 12.
Other key contributors for MU are senior forward Justin Safford (6.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 11 starts), freshman guard Phil Pressey (6.3 ppg, 75 assists, four starts), junior guard Matt Pressey (7.1 ppg, eight starts) and junior center Steve Moore (2.3 ppg).
The Kansas-Missouri Series:
Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 169-94, including an 87-33 record in games played in Lawrence and 40-14 in Allen Fieldhouse matchups. The Jayhawks have won the last 11 meetings with the Tigers in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 2000. Overall, Kansas has won three straight, eight of the last nine and 12 of the last 15 meetings with Missouri. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 22-9 series advantage against Missouri - 20-8 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference championship. Monday's game will mark the 41st KU-MU game with one or both of the teams ranked. The Jayhawks lost the first-ever meeting with Missouri, 34-31, on March 11, 1907, in Lawrence.
Monday's game marks the ninth Kansas-Missouri meeting in all sports of the 2010-11 academic year in the annual Border Showdown sponsored by M&I Bank. The winner of the KU-MU head-to-head competition is awarded points. Currently, Missouri holds a 10.5-3.5 advantage against Kansas. Though the state rivalry dates back to the pre-Civil War era, the athletics rivalry started in 1891 with football and 1907 in men's basketball. The Border Showdown trophy has been presented eight times with MU winning six times - 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 - and KU twice in 2004 and 2006.
--Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.0 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+19.9), assists (18.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).
--Kansas has held 10 opponents to 60 or less points this season.
--Kansas has outrebounded 19 of 23 opponents this season, including 13 of its last 15.
--KU has outshot all but two teams this season (USC on Dec. 18 and Texas on Jan. 22).
--The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 16 games this season. KU has shot 50 percent or better in each of its last four games and five of its last six.
--Kansas' bench averages 28.4 points compared to its opponents' 17.4 ppg. KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 18 of 23 games this season.
--Kansas is 21-1 when leading at the half this season and 22-0 when leading with five minutes remaining.
--KU has used six different starting lineups this season.
--Under Bill Self, Kansas has nine streaks of 10 or more victories, including the 18-0 start of 2010-11.
--KU is 1-1 against ranked foes this season with its win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden and a loss against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22).
--Kansas' 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse under Self.
--Junior MARCUS MORRIS is 22-for-32 (68.8 percent) from the field in his last four games. He is scoring 18.6 points in Big 12 games, which is fifth in the conference. Overall, Marcus' 16.7 scoring average is tied for sixth in the league. Marcus has six games with 20-plus points this season. Marcus leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 60.3 percent for all games and is making 63.2 percent from the field in Big 12 contests. He has shot 70 percent or better in eight games this season and has led Kansas in scoring 11 times this season. His 6.8 rebounds per game are tied for 11th in the Big 12. He has led KU in every stat at least once this season. Marcus has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice (Nov. 29 and Jan. 17) and was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6.
--Junior MARKIEFF MORRIS, twin of Marcus, was practically perfect at Nebraska Saturday going 6-for-6 from the field, including 3-for-3 from three-point range, and 2-for-3 from the free throw line scoring 17 points. In his last three games, Markieff is 19-for-24 (79.2 percent) from the field and averaging 16 points. He notched his Big 12-leading eighth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds at Texas Tech Feb. 1. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.5 rpg and has 10 games with double-figure boards. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is 17th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.1 ppg. He has been the leading rebounder for KU in 13 of 23 games.
--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR has been a mark of efficiency over his last five games, including a season-high 19 points at Nebraska Saturday. In that span, he is 20-for-30 (66.7 percent) from the field, including 11-for-18 (61.1 percent) from three-point range. Even more impressive is in his last two contests, Morningstar is 10-for-14 (71.4 percent) from the field, including 7-for-10 from beyond the arc. Also in his last two games, he has 10 assists and one turnover. He is scoring 7.8 points in Big 12 play and 5.9 points per game for the season. Morningstar leads KU with 34 steals. Morningstar, who graduated May 2010, has recorded a steal in 16 of 23 games played this season. He is 10th in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.5. In Big 12 play, Morningstar leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 6.0 (30 assists, eight turnovers).
--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON is 17-for-22 (77.2 percent) from the field in his last three games with a 14.0 points per game average in that span. He had eight points at Nebraska Saturday and 17 points and nine rebounds in each of his two previous games at Texas Tech (Feb. 1) and versus Kansas State (Jan. 29). A 52.8 percent free throw shooter, Robinson is 11-for-13 (84.6 percent) from the line in his last two games. Robinson missed the Colorado contest on Jan. 25 tending to the funeral of his mother, Lisa, in Washington, D.C. Robinson has two double-doubles in 2010-11. He averages 8.9 points per game in 2010-11 and his 6.4 rebounds are 15th in the Big 12.
--Senior TYREL REED scored 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-for-6 from three-point range, at Nebraska Saturday. In conference play, Reed is scoring 10.4 points and 9.7 for the season. Reed leads Kansas with 46 three-pointers this season and has made multiple threes in 14 games. The guard is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed has an 83.3 free throw percentage (40-of-48). Reed had career-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with seven at California (Dec. 22). Ranked 12th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (38.0) and tied for 11th in three-pointers made per game (2.0), Reed is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award who graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine's physical therapy school. He is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection and has been nominated for Academic All-America for the third-straight year in 2010-11.
--Freshman JOSH SELBY missed the Nebraska game Saturday due to a stress reaction in his right ankle. X-Rays and MRI indicated no fracture to the ankle. He is averaging 14.3 points in his last three games and 12.0 for the season. With 17 points at Colorado, 12 versus Kansas State and 14 at Texas Tech, Selby's current string of three-straight double figure scoring games are the longest of the season for the guard. He has scored in double figures in nine of 13 games played this season. He is 17-for-32 (53.1 percent) from the floor in his last three games, including 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from three-point range. Selby has multiple three-pointers in nine games, including four of his last five contests. Selby averages 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals per contest on the season. He has scored 16 or more points in five games and is 21-for-26 (80.8 percent) from the free throw line. Selby is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).
--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR scored six points and had three rebounds and five assists at Nebraska Saturday. Taylor is averaging 8.4 points per game this season and has scored in double figures eight times. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is third in the Big 12 in assists per game at 4.8. He has led KU in assists in 14 of 23 games this season, including seven of the last 13 contests. Taylor is sixth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.
--Senior MARIO LITTLE scored nine points at Texas Tech (Feb. 1) on 4-of-5 shooting, including 1-for-1 from three-point range. At Nebraska Saturday, Little scored four points on 1-of-2 shooting. In his last three games, Little is 8-for-10 (80 percent) from the field with 19 points scored. He has two games in double figure points this season, including 10 points at Baylor (Jan. 15). Little averages 15.0 minutes, 5.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game and is shooting 54.1 percent from the field on the season.
--Sophomore TRAVIS RELEFORD logged nine minutes at Texas Tech (Feb. 1), the most for the guard since 18 minutes against UMKC on Jan. 5. Releford has played the last three games after missing the previous five contests due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). Releford is shooting 52.5 percent from the field. He is averaging 4.8 points this season and has scored in double figures four times. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford's windmill dunk against UMKC (Jan. 5) was No. 1 on ESPN's Top 10 List on Jan. 6.
--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON led Kansas with six assists against Kansas State (Jan. 29). In his last four games, Johnson has 12 assists and one turnover. He has appeared in 21 games this season with one start. He scored a career-high 13 points against UMKC (Jan. 5). Johnson had his first start of the season against UT Arlington (Dec. 29) and scored 11 points. He has a 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season. Johnson averages 3.6 points and 2.1 assists in 2010-11.
--Sophomore JEFF WITHEY played five minutes at Texas Tech (Feb. 1). He scored three points and pulled down four rebounds in eight minutes at Colorado (Jan. 25). Withey averages 6.6 minutes, 2.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots per game.
Kansas hosts Iowa State Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network before traveling to Kansas State for its third ESPN Big Monday appearance on Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. Kansas will then host Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. on ESPN. The game will mark the return of KU alum and CU head coach Tad Boyle and will be the final conference regular-season meeting between the two schools.