No. 13 Kansas plays host to No. 2 Ohio State in a much anticipated non-conference battle Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2:15 p.m. on ESPN. The Buckeyes are the second No. 2 team the Jayhawks will have played this season. KU lost to then-No. 2 Kentucky 75-65 in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 15 in Madison Square Garden. Ohio State is the highest-ranked team to come to Allen Fieldhouse since No. 1 Arizona defeated No. 6 Kansas, 91-74, on Jan. 25, 2003, in a non-conference battle. Since then, Kansas has faced either a No. 1 or a No. 2 team four times with a 3-1 record, all during the Bill Self era at KU.
No. 13 Kansas is 6-2 on the season after defeating Big West Conference favorite Long Beach State, 88-80, Tuesday, in Allen Fieldhouse. Both of Kansas' losses this season have been to teams ranked sixth or higher, including current No. 1 Kentucky. Kansas averages 75.0 points per game and allows 61.5 for a +13.5 scoring margin. KU is using solid defense as four opponents have scored 56 points or less this season. KU is outrebounding foes by 9.1 per game, including three games of +13 or better.
KU outrebounded Long Beach State 41-24 on Tuesday. Additionally, KU averages 14.6 assists per contest. The Jayhawks are led by All-American candidate Thomas Robinson who scored a career-high 26 points against Long Beach State and averages 17.4 points per game. He has seven double-doubles this season and leads the Big 12 with 12.0 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor is next in scoring at 16.8 points per game. He is shooting a team-best 57.1 percent from three-point range and is second on the squad with 29 assists, one behind junior guard Elijah Johnson's 30. Johnson scores 8.6 points per game and leads KU in assists with 30.
Rounding out the KU starters are juniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey. A guard, Releford averages 8.3 points per game and is second on the team with 11 steals. Withey, KU's center, had a near triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots against Long Beach State. Withey has scored 10-plus points in three of his last four games and is averaging 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. He leads KU with 23 blocked shots.
Senior guard Conner Teahan, who started against Long Beach State, scores 7.8 points per game and has made 14 three-pointers, including a career-best four against LBSU. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley joins Teahan as the first two off the bench. Wesley averages 2.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.1 ppg, eight assists) are the other KU regulars.
About Ohio State
Located in Columbus, Ohio, with an enrollment of 53,715, No. 2 Ohio State is 8-0 on the season and will be playing its first game away from home - Value City Arena - when it visits Allen Fieldhouse. OSU has dominated its opponents, averaging 82.5 points per game and giving up 53.2 for a +29.3 scoring margin. OSU also holds a +10.3 rebound margin, forces 19.6 turnovers per game and averages 9.0 steals per contest.
Sophomore forward Jared Sullinger leads the team, averaging a double-double with 19.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard William Buford is next in scoring at 16.0 points per game. He has made a team-best 12 three-pointers, is second on the squad with 27 assists and has a 4.4 rebound per game average. Sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas scores 12.9 points per contest and he is tied for second on the team with seven three-pointers.
Sophomore guard Aaron Craft leads OSU with 44 assists and 23 steals to complement his 9.8 scoring average. Sophomore guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. rounds out the OSU starters. He is second on the team with 5.0 rebounds per game and scores 5.1 points per contest. Other OSU regulars include junior forward Evan Ravenel (5.4 ppg), sophomore forward J.D. Weatherspoon (5.1 ppg), sophomore guard Jordan Sibert (4.1 ppg, seven three-pointers), freshman forward Sam Thompson (3.4 ppg), freshman guard Shannon Scott (3.0 ppg, 17 assists) and freshman center Amir Williams (1.9 ppg, eight blocked shots).
The Kansas-Ohio State Series
Kansas leads the all-time series with Ohio State 5-3 but the two teams have not met since the 2000-01 season, a Kansas 69-68 win in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 23, 2000. The Jayhawks have won three straight in the series which dates back to 1965 when the Jayhawks won the first two meetings - 81-68 on Dec. 23, 1965, in Columbus and 94-70 on Dec. 5, 1966, in Lawrence. The two teams played in the same calendar year, 1983, to start a three-game OSU victory run against Kansas.
The Buckeyes won 64-61 on Jan. 2, 1983, in Kansas City, Mo., and 79-74 on Dec. 22, 1983, in Columbus. In 1986, OSU edged KU 79-78 in overtime in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. The two schools' next meeting was 1997 in the Rainbow Classic, a Kansas 69-56 win. Before the Kansas win in 2000, the Jayhawks defeated the Buckeyes 80-67 on Dec. 16, 1999, in Lawrence.
--Kansas has outrebounded its last seven opponents, including three teams by 13 or more - 34-21 vs. UCLA (11/2), 53-32 vs. Florida Atlantic (11/30) and 41-24 vs. Long Beach State (12/6).
--Three different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson - have led Kansas in scoring through eight games.
--KU has shot better than seven of eight opponents this season.
--Kansas has shot 70 percent or better from the free throw line in all but two games this season, including its last five straight. Kansas is third in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 74.5 percent.
--KU has blocked four or more shots in seven of eight games this season, including a season-high 13 against Florida Atlantic (11/30). KU had 12 blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6).
--Kansas has 43 dunks to its opponents 14 through eight games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 21 dunks, while Jeff Withey has nine.
--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON is the only player in the Big 12 who is averaging at double-double with 17.4 points and 12.0 rebounds. He is coming off a career-high 26 points, with 11 rebounds, against Long Beach State (12/6). His seven double-doubles, like his 12.0 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12. Robinson's 17.4 points are third in the conference. Robinson is eighth in the league in field goal percentage at 51.0 percent and sixth in blocked shots at 1.5 per contest.
--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR did not start against Long Beach State yet logged 34 minutes and 12 points. He had a season-high 24 points against USF (12/3), which were two points shy of his career high. Taylor's 16.8 points per game are fifth in the Big 12. He leads the conference in three-point field goal percentage at 57.1 percent, is 10th in assists at 3.6 and 15th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 0.9. Taylor has two 20-point efforts this season.
--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON has started every game for KU and leads the team with 30 assists and 12 steals. His 12 three-pointers are tied with Taylor for second most on the team. Johnson is ninth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.8, tied for seventh in steals at 1.9 and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.6.
--Junior JEFF WITHEY nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6). His nine blocked shots rank No. 2 on the KU single-game records list and were just one shy of Cole Aldrich's 10 against Dayton in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Withey leads KU with 23 blocked shots this season and he has at least one blocked shot in seven of eight games. Withey ranks third in the Big 12 with 2.9 blocked shots per game and his 6.3 rebound average is tied for ninth in the conference.
--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD has started every game this season and with his 10 points against Long Beach State (12/6), has scored in double figures two of his last three games and four times this season. Releford has at least one steal in every game this season and his 1.4 steals per contest are tied for 14th in the Big 12.
--Senior CONNER TEAHAN has made eight three-pointers in his last three games, including a career-high four against Long Beach State (12/6), in scoring a career-high 14 points. Through eight games, Teahan's 62 points are a career best for a season. His previous high was 46 back in 2007-08, Kansas' national championship season. Teahan is sixth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 46.3 and tied for 11th in three-pointers made at 1.8.
--Sophomore JUSTIN WESLEY averages 15.3 minutes per game and is 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) from the field.
--Junior KEVIN YOUNG's six rebounds against USF (12/3) were the most since he pulled down a season-high seven rebounds in the season opener against Towson (11/11).
Kansas vs. Ranked Foes Under Bill Self
Ohio State enters Saturday's game ranked second nationally. Under Bill Self, since the 2003-04 season, Kansas is 35-20 against Associated Press ranked teams at tip. Since KU's 2007-08 NCAA National Championship season, the Jayhawks are 21-8 against ranked foes, including a 3-1 record against teams either No. 1 or No. 2. KU defeated then-No. 1 Florida, 82-80 in overtime, on Nov. 25, 2006, in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational.
The following season the Jayhawks defeated No. 1 North Carolina, 84-66, and No. 2 Memphis, 75-68 in overtime, in winning the 2008 NCAA National Championship. Earlier this season, then-No. 2 Kentucky defeated Kansas 75-65 in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 15, in Madison Square Garden.
2011 Kansas Men's Basketball Holiday Clinic Set for Dec. 27
The 2011 Kansas Men's Basketball Holiday Clinic will be Tuesday, Dec. 27, from 1-3:30 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse for boys and girls in grades second through sixth. The annual clinic, hosted by the current KU players, coaches and staff, will include fundamental instruction, an official camp T-shirt, a Junior Jayhawk Basketball, a 2011-12 Kansas Basketball team picture and one general admission ticket to KU's Dec. 29 home game against Howard.
Additionally, there will be an autograph session with the current KU team and coaches following the clinic. The clinic costs $85. To attend, one must apply online at www.billselfbasketballcamp.com as there will be no walk-up applications accepted.
Kansas takes a break from game action for final exams. The Jayhawks will play Davidson in the M&I Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The KU-Davidson contest is part of the Kansas season home ticket package. Following the Davidson contest, Kansas will head west to play at USC in Los Angeles on Dec. 22. The contest will start at 10 p.m. (Central) and will be televised on Fox Sports Net. KU will return home to play Howard on Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk IMG Television.