--In a battle of top five nationally-ranked teams, Border Showdown foes No. 4/5 Kansas (23-5, 13-2) and No. 3 Missouri (25-3, 12-3) meet for the 267th time in men's basketball which will be the final regular-season meeting as members of the same conference. Missouri will be leaving the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference in 2012-13. KU and MU have been in the same league since 1908, or 104 years.
--A Kansas victory against Missouri would KU at least a share of an unprecedented eighth-straight Big 12 title. It would be KU's 12th Big 12 title in the 16-year history of the conference. KU would also add to its NCAA Division I-leading 55th conference regular-season title.
--This marks the fourth time Kansas and Missouri will meet when both were ranked in the Associated Press' Top 10. Earlier this season then-No. 4 Missouri edged then-No. 8 Kansas 74-71 on Feb. 4. The other two meetings of KU-MU Top 10 teams were: No. 2 Missouri defeated No. 1 Kansas, 77-71, in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 13, 1990 and earlier in the 1990 season when No. 4 Missouri defeated No. 1 Kansas, 95-87, in the Hearnes Center on Jan. 20.
--Prior to the Feb. 4 meeting earlier this season, the previous 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 4-3 against ranked foes this season. Kansas will be facing its sixth Top-10 team of the 2011-12 season. The Jayhawks are 30-11 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 39-21 against ranked opponents under Bill Self (2003-04).
No. 4/5 Kansas is 14-0 at home, 7-2 in road games and 2-3 on neutral courts this season after its 66-58 win at Texas A&M on Wednesday. KU's 20-game home court winning streak ranks tied for sixth nationally. KU's current five-game winning streak is the second longest of the season. Kansas averages 74.6 points per game and allows 60.4 for a +14.3 scoring margin, which ranks second in the Big 12. KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +6.5 and field goal percentage defense at 37.8 and is second in assists per game at 15.8.
The Jayhawks are led by national player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson, who is the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double with 17.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season, Robinson has 10 double-doubles in 15 conference games, including five of his last seven. His league-leading 19 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, leads KU in conference games with a 17.5 scoring average. He leads KU with 141 assists and 46 three-pointers made in 2011-12. Taylor is scoring 16.5 ppg overall. Junior center Jeff Withey averages 9.6 points and 6.6 rebounds for the season, but in his last five games he is averaging 16.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 5.4 blocked shots. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Feb. 13 and leads the conference with 3.4 blocked shots per game. His 61 blocked shots in league play are twice as many as any other player in the
Big 12. Junior guard Travis Releford, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, averages 9.6 ppg in league play and 9.0 in all games. Junior guard Elijah Johnson is coming off a 21-point effort at Texas A&M (2/22), his second 20-point game of 2011-12. He is second on the team with 45 three-pointers and leads KU with 44 steals this season. Johnson scores 9.1 points per game and is second on the team with 102 assists.
Senior guard Conner Teahan, an Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree, is third on the team with 41 three-pointers this season while averaging 6.3 points per game. Junior forward Kevin Young (3.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg), sophomore forward Justin Wesley (1.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg) and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe (1.0 ppg, 19 assists) are also KU regulars.
Located in Columbia, Mo., with an enrollment of 33,805, Missouri is 25-3 on the season, including 12-3 in Big 12 play. Coached by Frank Haith, who is in his first season at Missouri and 154-104 in his eighth season overall, MU is 15-1 at home, 6-2 away and 4-0 on neutral courts in 2011-12. A veteran team with five seniors in its top-seven rotation, the Tigers average 79.5 points, which is best in the Big 12. The Tigers also lead the conference in scoring margin (+15.0), field goal percentage (49.8), free throw percentage (76.8), steals (8.5), turnover margin (+4.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.5).
Senior guard Marcus Denmon leads Missouri in scoring at 17.8 points per game, which is second in the Big 12, and in three-pointers made with 78. He also averages 5.1 rebounds per contest and is making 90.0 percent from the free throw line. Senior guard Kim English is second on the team in scoring at 14.0 points per game and is first on the team in three-point field goal percentage at 45.6 percent.
Senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe is next in scoring at 13.5 points per game and is first on the team in rebounding with a 7.2 board average. Ratliffe also leads the nation in field goal percentage at 71.7 percent. Sophomore guard Phil Pressey and senior guard Matt Pressey complete the Tigers' starting lineup. Phil Pressey scores 9.9 points per game while leading the team in steals (59) and assists (167). Matt Pressey averages 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds. Junior guard Michael Dixon Jr. (12.9 ppg) is one of the top sixth men in the nation. He and senior forward Steve Moore (3.2 ppg, 2.8 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, 171-95. Since 2009, the Jayhawks have won five of the last six meetings against the Tigers. Kansas is 88-33 against Missouri in games played in Lawrence, including a 41-14 margin in Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won the last 12 meetings with MU in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to 2000. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 24-10 against Missouri - 22-9 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the Big 12 Championship.
Earlier this season, then-No. 4 Missouri went on an 11-0 run in the final three minutes to edge then-No. 8 Kansas 74-71 on Feb. 4 in Mizzou Arena. Thomas Robinson paced KU with 25 points and 13 rebounds, recording his 16th double-double of the season. Tyshawn Taylor added 21 points and Elijah Johnson 11 points for the Jayhawks. MU's Marcus Denmon led all scorers with 29 points as Missouri snapped a KU five-game winning streak in the Border Showdown series.
--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 37.8, which is in the top 20 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 leads the conference in rebound margin at +6.5. The Jayhawks have led the Big 12 in rebound margin in each of the last five seasons, all under Bill Self.
--Kansas also leads the Big 12 in scoring defense (60.4), rebound defense (31.0) and blocked shots (5.8). KU also ranks in the top three in scoring (second at 74.7), field goal percentage (second at 48.3), rebounding (third at 37.4), steals (third at 7.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.2). --Kansas' 20-game home court winning streak leads the Big 12 and is tied for sixth nationally. The 20-game streak followed a school-record 69-game home court winning streak. KU is 89-1 in its last 90 games at Allen Fieldhouse.
--Kansas has tied or outrebounded 23 of 28 opponents this season, including eight of the last 11 games. KU has nine games with a +10 rebound margin, including a season-best 50-21 (+29) vs. Oklahoma State (2/11).
--Six different Jayhawks - Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, Conner Teahan, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey - have led Kansas in scoring through 28 games. --KU has shot a higher percentage than 26 of 28 opponents this season. KU shot 56.3 percent against Texas Tech (2/18) and has shot 50 percent or better in four of its last seven games and 12 times this season.
--Kansas has blocked five or more shots in 14 games this season, including eight at Texas A&M (2/22) and 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).
--After its 68-54 win at No. 6 Baylor (2/8), Kansas is 4-3 against ranked teams in 2011-12, 30-11 versus ranked foes since 2006-07 and 39-21 against ranked foes under Bill Self (since 2003-04).
--Kansas has 137 dunks to its opponents' 45 through 28 games. Thomas Robinson leads KU with 61 dunks, while Jeff Withey has 30.
--Junior THOMAS ROBINSON, who recorded his Big 12-leading 19th double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds at Texas A&M (2/22), has been mentioned on many national player of the year lists. He has five double-doubles in his last seven games and 10 DDs in 15 conference games. Robinson has nine 20-point efforts in 2011-12. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season, 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 17.4 ppg and 11.9 rpg. His 19 double-doubles, like his 11.8 rebounds per game, lead the Big 12 and both are second nationally. Robinson's 17.4 points are third in the league and he ranks second in field goal percentage (54.0) and ninth in blocked shots (1.1).
--Senior TYSHAWN TAYLOR has three 20-point efforts in his last seven games: 20 at Kansas State (2/13), 21 at Missouri (2/4) and 21 vs. Oklahoma (2/1). He recorded his first double-double of the season at ISU (1/28) with 16 points and 10 assists. Taylor scored 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 16.5 points per game and is scoring a team-best 17.5 ppg in Big 12 games. In all games, Taylor leads KU with 141 assists, 46 three-pointers made and a 43.0 three-point field goal percentage. Taylor's 16.5 ppg average is fifth in the Big 12. Also in the league, he is fifth in field goal percentage at 47.4, fifth in three-point field goal percentage at 43.0, 12th in three-pointers made at 1.6, tied for fourth in assists at 5.0 and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. 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 JEFF WITHEY is averaging 11.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.1 blocked shots in Big 12 play and 9.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 3.4 blocks in all games. Withey was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week and the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week after he scored a career-high 25 points at No. 6 Baylor (2/8) and had 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against Oklahoma State (2/11). Withey has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 12 games, including four double-doubles. Withey leads the Big 12 with 3.4 blocked shots per game, which ranks in the top 10 nationally. He has a Big 12-best 61 blocked shots in conference play (4.1 bpg average). Withey has multiple blocks in 12 of his last 15 games. His 6.6 rebound average, which is second best on the KU team, is eighth in the Big 12, while his 82.9 free throw percentage is seventh in the conference.
--Junior TRAVIS RELEFORD, the Big 12 Player of the Week on Jan. 9, pulled down seven rebounds at Texas A&M (2/22) and has scored in double figures in two of his last four games and 14 times this season. He is fourth on the team in scoring with 9.0 ppg in all games and is scoring 9.6 ppg in Big 12 contests. Releford opened Big 12 play with his first career double-double, recording 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 has 33 steals this season.
--Junior ELIJAH JOHNSON scored 21 points at Texas A&M (2/22) which were two shy of his career-high 23 against UCLA (11/22) earlier this season. He has 12 games with 10 or more points this season, including six of his last 12 contests. Johnson is second on the team with 45 three-pointers made and is the team leader with 44 steals. Johnson has started every game this season for KU and is second on the team in assists with 102. Johnson is eighth in the Big 12 in assists at 3.6, third in steals at 1.6, fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.9 and tied for 13th in three-pointers made at 1.6.
--Senior CONNER TEAHAN scored 11 points against Texas Tech (2/18) which was his conference high for 2012. He has made 41 three-pointers, which is third most on the team. In his first career start, Teahan 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). He was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team on Feb. 16.
--Junior KEVIN YOUNG averages 10.3 minutes per game. He scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting against Texas Tech (2/18). It marked the third time this season Young has scored in double figures. He had seven points at Texas Tech (1/11) and again against Iowa State (1/14). Young also pulled down seven rebounds at TTU. His 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 55.2 percent (37-for-67) from the field.
Robinson Looking to Join Elite
At 17.4 ppg and 11.9 rpg, junior F Thomas Robinson, national player of the year candidate, is vying to join some elite company at Kansas by averaging a double-double for a season. Below are the known KU season double-double averages. Included in the Bill Self era are Cole Aldrich and Wayne Simien. Note: rebounds started being recorded in 1950-51 and were started recording by the NCAA in 1955-56.
Senior Tyshawn Taylor continues to etch his name into the all-time Kansas career lists. A four-year starter, Kansas is 118-19 (86.1 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 116 all-time KU starts are ninth all-time. Statistically, against Duke, Taylor became the 54th player in school history to record 1,000 points. He currently sits 23rd with 1,394 points. He is eighth on the KU all-time assists list with 530. Taylor also ranks 18th with 154 career steals and his 38.7 percent career three-point percentage is 17th best at Kansas. Taylor is only the fourth player in KU history with the combination of at least 1,300 points, 500 assists and 150 steals in his career. He is in company with KU greats Darnell Valentine (1,821 points, 609 assists, 336 steals), Kirk Hinrich (1,753 points, 668 assists, 206 steals) and Adonis Jordan (1,373 points, 568 points, 181 steals) and when he reaches 1,400 career points, he will join only Valentine and Hinrich.
Kansas plays at Oklahoma State on ESPN's Big Monday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. and returns home for Senior Day against Texas on Saturday, March 3 at 8 p.m. on ESPN.