--No. 8 Kansas (18-4, 8-1) travels to No. 4 Missouri (20-2, 7-2) in a Border Showdown matchup. Halfway through the league race, Kansas, seven-time defending Big 12 champion, holds a one-game edge over Missouri and Baylor in the conference standings.
--This will be the 266th meeting between Kansas and Missouri and the final one in Columbia, Mo., as members of the same conference. KU-MU have been in the same league since 1908 or 104 years.
--The game will be the setting for ESPN's College Gameday, which KU has been a part of seven of the eight seasons the show has existed. Previously, Kansas hosted College Gameday in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2011 and was at Texas in 2006 and at Kansas State in 2010.
--The last time Kansas and Missouri met when both were ranked in the Associated Press' top five was when No. 2 Missouri defeated No. 1 Kansas, 77-71, in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 13, 1990. The previous time was earlier in the 1990 season when No. 4 Missouri defeated No. 1 Kansas, 95-87, in Hearnes Center on Jan. 20.
--The last time Missouri was ranked higher than Kansas in the series was March 1, 2009, when No. 15 KU defeated No. 11 MU 90-65 in Allen Fieldhouse.
--Kansas is 3-2 against ranked foes this season and has won its last three meetings versus ranked opponents.
--Kansas will be facing its fifth top-10 team of the 2011-12 season. The Jayhawks lost to then-No. 2 Kentucky, 75-65, on Nov. 15 in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden and lost to then-No. 6 Duke, 68-61, in the championship game of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational on Nov. 25. KU defeated then-No. 2 Ohio State, 78-67 on Dec. 10 in Lawrence, and then-No. 3 Baylor, 92-74, on Jan. 16 in Lawrence.
--Kansas is 29-10 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 38-20 against ranked foes under Bill Self (2003-04).
--Kansas is looking to end a Big 12 opponents' undefeated home record for the third time this season. KU won at Oklahoma (which was then 7-0 at home) and won at Texas (which was then 11-0 at home).
Kansas is 18-4 and sits atop the Big 12 standings at 8-1 after its 84-62 win against Oklahoma Wednesday. The Jayhawks are 12-0 at home, 4-1 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season. Kansas averages 75.6 points per game and allows 60.7 for a +14.9 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12. KU is second in the Big 12 in rebound margin at +6.1 and leads the league in field goal percentage defense at 37.7. Additionally, KU averages 16.0 assists per contest.
The Jayhawks are led by national player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 Conference to average a double-double with 17.6 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson has six double-doubles in nine conference games after his 20 points and 17 rebounds against Oklahoma (2/1). His league-leading 15 double-doubles on the season rank second nationally.
Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 16, has scored 15-plus points in each of his last seven games after his 21 points against Oklahoma (2/1). Taylor leads Kansas with 116 assists and his 35 three-pointers are second-most on the team. Taylor's 18.8 scoring average in conference games are a team best and he is scoring 16.7 ppg overall.
Junior Travis Releford, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, averages 12.0 ppg in league play and 9.8 in all games. Junior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-best 36 three-pointers and also leads KU with 37 steals this season. Johnson scores 9.1 points per game and is second on the team with 79 assists.
Junior center Jeff Withey leads the Big 12 in blocked shots at 3.1 per game and rounds out the KU starters. Withey has scored in double figures in each of his last six games and is averaging 8.5 points for the season after his career-high 15 points against Oklahoma (2/1). He is second on the team with 5.9 rebounds per contest and has 33 blocked shots in nine league contests.
Senior guard Conner Teahan, who has one start in 2011-12, is third on the team with 34 three-pointers this season, while averaging 6.6 points per game. Sophomore forward Justin Wesley is a regular who averages 1.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.2 ppg, 18 assists) are the other KU regulars.
Located in Columbia, Mo., with an enrollment of 33,805, Missouri is 20-2 on the season, including 7-2 in Big 12 play. Coached by Frank Haith, who is in his first season at Missouri and is 149-103 in his eighth season overall, MU is 12-0 at home, 4-2 away and 4-0 on neutral courts in 2011-12.
A senior-laden team with five seniors in its top-seven rotation, the Tigers average 81.2 points, which is the best in the Big 12 and have a +17.4 scoring margin. They outrebound opponents by a +2.0 rebound margin and are the Big 12 leaders in turnover margin (+5.4), steals (9.3), field goal percentage (49.8) and free throw percentage (77.7 percent).
Senior guard Marcus Denmon leads Missouri in scoring at 17.2 points per game, which is fourth in the Big 12, and in three-pointers made with 55. He also averages 5.3 rebounds per contest and is making 90.5 percent from the free throw line. Senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe is next in scoring at 14.7 points per game and is first on the team in rebounding with a 6.7 board average. Ratliffe also leads the nation in field goal percentage at 75.1 percent.
Senior guard Kim English is third on the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game and is first on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 49.5 percent. Sophomore guard Phil Pressey and senior guard Matt Pressey completes the Tigers starting lineup. Phil Pressey scores 9.9 points per game and leads the team in steals (53) and assists (133). Matt Pressey averages 7.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. Junior guard Michael Dixon Jr. (12.1 ppg) and senior forward Steve Moore (3.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg) round out the MU regulars.
The Kansas-Missouri Series
This series dates back to 1907 when both schools were pre-members of the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association and Kansas leads, 171-94. Since 2009, the Jayhawks have won five straight against the Tigers. Kansas is 65-53 against Missouri in games played in Columbia, including a 4-3 edge in games played in Mizzou Arena. Kansas has won the last two meetings against MU in Mizzou Arena. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 24-9 against Missouri - 22-8 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the Big 12 Championship.
--Kansas head coach Bill Self is 17-3 all-time against Missouri, including a 14-3 record while at Kansas.
--Missouri head coach Frank Haith has never faced Kansas.
Saturday's game marks the ninth Kansas-Missouri meeting in all sports of the 2011-12 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.
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 nine times with MU winning seven times - 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 - and KU twice in 2004 and 2006.
--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 37.7, which is in the top 10 nationally. KU has led the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense in five of the last six seasons, all under head coach Bill Self.
--KU is second in the conference in rebound margin at +6.1. The Jayhawks have led the Big 12 in rebound margin in each of the last five seasons, all under Bill Self.
--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 18 of 22 opponents this season, including 16 of the last 19 games. KU has seven games with a +10 rebound margin, including a season-best 50-26 vs. Kansas State (1/4) and a +16 (40-24) at Texas Tech (1/11).
--Five different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Conner Teahan and Travis Releford - have led Kansas in scoring through 22 games.
--KU has shot a higher percentage than 19 of 22 opponents this season.
--Kansas has blocked five or more shots in 11 games this season, including a season-high 13 against Florida Atlantic (11/30). KU had 12 blocked shots against Long Beach State (12/6) and Texas A&M (1/23) and 10 versus Iowa State (1/14). KU ranks second in the Big 12 with 5.7 blocked shots per game.
--Kansas is 3-2 against ranked teams in 2011-12, 29-10 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 38-20 against ranked foes under Bill Self (2003-04). KU has faced current Associated Press 1. Kentucky, 3. Ohio State, 6. Baylor, 7. Duke and 14. Georgetown. KU will play No. 4 Missouri twice later this season.
--Kansas has 105 dunks to its opponents' 32 through 22 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 50 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 20.
--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 15th double-double of the season with 20 points and 17 rebounds against Oklahoma (2/1), was named the No. 1 candidate for national player of the year in Dick Vitale's midseason lists released on Jan. 4. He has seven 20-point efforts this season. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Robinson had career highs with 30 points and 21 rebounds against North Dakota (12/31). It was the sixth 30-20 in Big 12 history and first at KU since 1961 (Wayne Hightower vs. Missouri). Robinson is the only player in the Big 12 Conference this season who is averaging a double-double with 17.6 ppg and 12.0 rpg. His 15 double-doubles, like his 12.0 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12 and both are second nationally. Robinson's 17.6 points are third in the league and he also ranks third in field goal percentage (54.2), ninth in blocked shots (1.2) and tied for 15th in steals (1.2).
--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has scored 15-plus points in each of his last seven games and 21-plus in four of his last six after his 21 points against Oklahoma (2/1). He had his first double-double of the season at ISU (1/28) with 16 points and 10 assists. Taylor had a career-high 28 points in back-to-back games against Iowa State (1/14) and Baylor (1/16). Named Big 12 Player of the Week Jan 16, he is second on the team with 16.7 points per game and leads KU in scoring in Big 12 games at 18.8 ppg. In all games, Taylor leads KU with 116 assists, a 44.3 three-point field goal percentage and is second on the team lead with 35 three-pointers. Taylor's 16.7 points per game average is fifth in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is seventh in field goal percentage at 48.0, sixth in three-point field goal percentage at 44.3, 13th in three-pointers made at 1.6, tied for fourth in assists at 5.3 and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.5. Taylor underwent knee surgery on Dec. 11 but returned to start the Davidson contest on Dec. 19, when he scored 15 points and had seven assists.
--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD, the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, has scored in double figures in 12 games this season, including each of his last two games: 12 points, six rebounds agaisnt Oklahoma (2/1) and 10 points at Iowa State (1/28). He is third on the team in scoring with 9.8 ppg in all games and 12.0 ppg in Big 12 contests. Releford opened Big 12 play with his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Kansas State (1/4). Both were career highs at the time. He then scored 28 points at Oklahoma (1/7). A lockdown defender, Releford is tied for 15th in the Big 12 with 1.2 steals per game.
--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting at Iowa State (1/28) and seven points against Oklahoma (2/1). He has nine games with 10 or more points this season, including three of his last six games. Johnson leads Kansas with 36 three-pointers made and is also the team leader with 37 steals. Johnson has multiple steals in six of his last nine games, including three against OU (2/1). He has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 79. Johnson is ninth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.6, third in steals at 1.7, 12th in three-pointers made at 1.6 and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.
--Junior JEFF WITHEY scored a career-high 15 points against Oklahoma (2/1) and has scored in double figures in each of his last six games, including two double-doubles: 13 points, 11 rebounds against Iowa State (1/14) and 10 points, 10 rebounds versus Baylor (1/16). Withey leads the Big 12 with 3.1 blocked shots per game, which ranks in the top 15 nationally. He has a Big 12-best 33 blocked shots in conference play (3.7 average). Withey has 11 games with 10-plus points scored and is also solid from the line with an 86.8 free throw percentage. Withey almost 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 the school record - Cole Aldrich's 10 against Dayton in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Withey has multiple blocks in 12 of his last 15 games and 15 contests in 2011-12. His 5.9 rebound average, which is second best on the KU team, is 11th in the Big 12.
--Senior CONNER TEAHAN has made 34 three-pointers which is third most on the team and two from first. He scored a career-high 14 points versus LBSU (12/6) and has chipped in 13 points twice (at USC, 12/22 and vs. Howard, 12/29). Teahan is 13th in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 35.1 and tied for 15th in three-pointers made at 1.5.
--Junior KEVIN YOUNG scored seven points at Texas Tech (1/11) and again against Iowa State (1/14). He also pulled down seven rebounds at Texas Tech. Young's best performance of the season came against then-No. 2 Ohio State (12/10) with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He has pulled down four or more rebounds seven times this season. In 2011-12, Young is shooting 57.1 percent (28-for-49) from the field, including a 2-for-2 effort against Oklahoma (2/1).
In the Polls
Kansas is ranked No. 8 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Jan. 30. This is Kansas' fourth appearance in the Top 10 of either poll in 2011-12. KU has been ranked in each of the last 60 Associated Press polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. Included are 43 times when the Jayhawks have appeared in the AP Top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 61 coaches polls with 46 appearances in the Top 10. Kansas has faced or will face six teams currently ranked. The Jayhawks are 3-2 against ranked foes 2011-12.
Taylor Climbing the Charts
Senior Tyshawn Taylor continues to etch his name into the Kansas career lists. A four-year starter, Kansas is 113-18 (86.2 percent) during Taylor's time in Lawrence with three Big 12 regular-season titles, two Big 12 Championship crowns and trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. His 110 all-time KU starts are 11th all-time at Kansas. Statistically, against Duke, Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points. He currently sits 28th with 1,301 points. He is eighth on the KU all-time assists list with 505. Taylor also ranks 18th with 148 career steals and his 38.8 percent career three-point percentage is 17th best at Kansas.
Robinson Named John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Candidate
Kansas junior Thomas Robinson was named a John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 candidate on Jan. 17, by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is made up of 25 student-athletes who, based on their performances in November, December, and the beginning of January, are the frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.
Kansas will finish up its two-game road trip when the Jayhawks play at Baylor on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. Earlier this season, Kansas handed Baylor its first loss of 2011-12, 92-74, on Jan. 16, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas will then return home to face Oklahoma State for the first time this season on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network and play on ESPN Big Monday at Kansas State on Feb. 13, at 8 p.m.