Eight-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Kansas begins the 2012-13 season by hosting Southeast Missouri State in the opening round of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, Friday at 7 p.m. Ranked No. 7 preseason, Kansas is looking to win its 40th-straight home opener in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to the 1973-74 season. Since 2001-02, the Jayhawks have won their last 10 season openers. Southeast Missouri State is coming off a 15-16 season in which it placed fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) with a 9-7 record.
Kansas returns three starters from a spectacular team that advanced to the NCAA championship game, won the school's eighth-straight Big 12 regular-season title with a 16-2 record and finished 32-7 overall. KU welcomes nine freshmen, once again making the Jayhawks one of the youngest teams in the nation for head coach Bill Self--who enters his 10th season at KU with a 269-53 record for an 83.5 winning percentage.
Three seniors comprise the returning starters in guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford and center Jeff Withey. Johnson is KU's leading returning scorer averaging 10.2 points per game in 2011-12, while Releford scored 8.5 points per contest and averaged 4.2 rebounds per outing. Last season, Withey, the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, broke the Kansas and Big 12 Conference single-season blocked shots record with 140 blocks, including an NCAA Tournament-record 31 blocked shots in six games.
Withey averaged 9.3 points per game as well as 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots per contest to make him the returning stat leader in each of those categories. Other KU regulars from last year include senior forward Kevin Young (3.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg), junior forward Justin Wesley (1.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg) and sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (0.9 ppg, 0.7 apg). Walk-on guards Niko Roberts and Christian Garrett will provide depth on the perimeter for Kansas in 2012-13.
Kansas has nine freshmen on its roster this season with two - Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor - who were NCAA partial qualifiers last season. The redshirt duo practiced with the team following the fall 2011 semester.
Located in Cape Girardeau, Mo., which is in the southeast corner of Missouri, approximately 395 miles from Allen Fieldhouse, Southeast Missouri State officially opens the 2012-13 season at Kansas. A member of the Ohio Valley Conference with an enrollment of 11,510, Southeast Missouri State returns seven letterwinners, including three starters, from last season's 15-16 team which finished fifth in the league at 9-7.
The Redhawks are coached by Dickey Nutt who is in his fourth season at Southeast Missouri State with a 32-61 record and his 17th season overall with a 221-248 mark. Junior forward Tyler Stone, an OVC preseason all-league selection, is Southeast Missouri State's leading returning scorer and rebounder from last season having averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest. Senior guards Marland Smith (12.3 ppg) and Nick Niemczyk (9.2 ppg) are also Redhawk returning starters from 2011-12.
Smith joined Stone on the OVC preseason team. Junior guard Lucas Nutt started 16 games last season and averaged 5.1 points, while sophomore forward Nino Johnson (2.2 ppg in 2011-12) started Southeast Missouri State's first exhibition game. Junior transfer forward A.J. Jones led the Redhawks with 18 points in the exhibition opening win against Ouachita Baptist.
Southeast Missouri State was tabbed to finish second in the West Division in the Ohio Valley Conference coaches and sports information directors 2012-13 preseason poll behind Murray State.
Though only divided by a state line, Kansas and Southeast Missouri State have never played each other in men's basketball. The Jayhawks are a combined 18-0 against current membership of the Ohio Valley Conference: 9-0 vs. Murray State; 2-0 vs. Morehead State; 2-0 vs. Tennessee-Martin; and 1-0 vs. Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.
Preseason Exhibition Recap
Kansas went 2-0 in its preseason exhibition with an 88-54 win against Emporia State on Oct. 30 and a 62-50 victory versus Washburn on Nov. 5. The Jayhawks shot 49.5 percent from the field and had a +10.5 rebound margin average in its two victories. Freshman Ben McLemore led three KU players who averaged double figures in the two exhibition contests at 14.0 ppg. Freshman Perry Ellis and senior Elijah Johnson each averaged 12.5 points per game and Johnson led the team with 10 assists and five three-point field goals in the two wins.
McLemore also led the team in rebounding with an 8.0 average. Senior Jeff Withey amassed a team-best seven blocked shots to go along with 8.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg in the exhibition contests. The victories extended KU's home exhibition win streak to 38 games, including 20-0 in the Bill Self-era.
In the Polls
Kansas enters the 2012-13 season No. 7 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches' preseason polls. The AP ranking is the seventh time in the Bill Self-era that the Jayhawks enter the season slotted seventh or higher, including two of the last three years: No. 1 in 2009-10 and No. 7 in 2010-11. The No. 7 AP ranking marks the 15th time since the 1992-93 season that Kansas will enter the season seventh or higher.
Last season, KU entered the year No. 13 nationally in the Associated Press poll and ended at No. 6. The AP's final poll is released prior to the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks were ranked in the top 10 in each of the final nine AP polls of 2011-12.
Much like the AP poll, the coaches' ranking is the seventh time in the Bill Self-era that the Jayhawks enter the season slotted seventh or higher. Last season, KU entered the year No. 13 nationally in the coaches' poll and ended up No. 2. The Jayhawks were ranked in the top 10 in each of the final 11 coaches' polls of 2011-12.
Fourteen Jayhawks on NBA Opening Day Rosters
Fourteen former Kansas men's basketball players were on NBA opening day rosters for the 2012-13 season. Ten of the 14 played under current head coach Bill Self. Last season, Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat became only the second Jayhawk to win both NCAA and NBA titles, joining Clyde Lovellette who was the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) of the 1952 NCAA Tournament in which Kansas won in Seattle. He later won three NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954 and the Boston Celtics in 1963 and 1964.
Clyde Lovellette to be Inducted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
Kansas basketball legend Clyde Lovellette will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame it on Nov. 18 at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City. Lovellette, who played for the Jayhawks from 1950-52, was a three-time All-American for KU and was a key piece in Kansas' march to its first NCAA title in 1952.
Playing for Hall of Fame coach Dr. Forrest C. "Phog" Allen at Kansas, Lovellette was the first player to win championships in the NCAA, AAU, NBA and Olympic Games. The 6-9 center was a three-time All-America selection for the Jayhawks and led the Big Seven Conference in scoring in each of his three seasons. He was the nation's top scorer in 1952 with 28.6 points per game and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1952 NCAA Tournament.
Lovellette is joined in the induction class of 2012 by Georgetown's dominating center Patrick Ewing, North Carolina's star guard Phil Ford, coaches Joe B. Hall and Dave Robbins, players Kenny Sailors, Earl Monroe and Willis Reed and contributors Jim Host and Joe Dean.
This Date in Kansas Basketball History
Nov. 9, 2007: Kansas defeated Louisiana-Monroe, 107-78, in the 2007-08 regular-season opener. Sophomore Sherron Collins led the team with 22 points, while senior Darnell Jackson added a career-high 21 points behind 8-of-9 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 mark from the free throw line. Tyrel Reed went 3-for-4 from three point range, setting a then-school record for most three-pointers made in a freshman debut.
Kansas would win its first 20 games of the season en route to a school-record 37 victories, its fourth consecutive Big 12 regular season title, its third consecutive Big 12 Tournament championship and the 2008 National Championship.
Noting Kansas Basketball
--Kansas has gone 243 games without consecutive losses, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. KU's last two straight losses were Jan. 14 vs. Kansas State (59-57 in Allen Fieldhouse) and Jan. 16 at Missouri (89-86 overtime in Mizzou Arena), during the 2005-06 season.
--Kansas has 2,070 all-time victories, second most in NCAA Division I.
--Kansas won its 1,000th all-time conference game with the 83-50 win against Texas Tech on Feb. 18, 2012.
--Kansas has held 178 of its last 184 opponents to under 50 percent shooting.
--KU has held opponents to fewer than 100 points in 373 consecutive games. The last team to score 100 on Kansas was Texas on Feb. 11, 2002, a KU 110-103 overtime victory.
--Kansas has sold out its last 180 games in Allen Fieldhouse, dating back to the second game of the 2001-02 season.
--Over the last six seasons, including 2011-12, Kansas has averaged 32.8 victories per year with five 30-win seasons.
--Each KU senior class since 1986-87 has won at least 100 games, including the 2012-13 class which entered the season 100-13.
--Every four-year player under Bill Self at KU has been part of at least one Final Four team. Former Jayhawk Conner Teahan--a senior on the 2011-12 Final Four team--was a part of two as he was also on the 2008 NCAA National Championship team.
--Kansas has won 12 of the 16 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last eight. Kansas' 55 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kansas' eight-straight league titles is a school record, surpassing the six straight set from 1922-27.
--Kansas has won 23 or more games in each of the last 23 seasons dating back to 1988-89 and has 22 victories 27 times in the last 28 years starting in 1984-85.
--Bill Self has won 23 or more games each of his last 14 seasons as a head coach.
--Kansas is the only team in the Big 12 to have a winning series record against every conference foe.
--KU has led its league in home attendance each of the last 26 seasons dating back to 1986-87 and 31 times in the last 35 years.
--Kansas' 2002 team is the only squad in Big 12 history to go undefeated in conference play at 16-0.
--Kansas is first in the conference in wins with a 217-41 record in Big 12 regular-season games. Texas is next at 176-82. Including the league postseason championship, Kansas is tops at 248-49, while Texas is second at 197-98.
--Kansas is the only Big 12 school to have won a regular-season championship with two different coaches (Roy Williams and Bill Self).
--Under Bill Self, Kansas is 69-4 (94.5 percent) in Big 12 home games: 8-0 in 2004, 7-1 in 2005, 7-1 in 2006, 7-1 in 2007, 8-0 in 2008, 8-0 in 2009, 8-0 in 2010, 7-1 in 2011 and 9-0 in 2012.
--Kansas leads the Big 12 with 48 all-time Academic All-Big 12 selections since the inception of the conference in 1996-97. KU has 37 Academic All-Big 12 First Team selections and 11 second team selections. KU's 37 first-team selections are 16 more than Texas and Kansas State's 21 each.
--In the Bill Self era, Kansas has had 25 Academic All-Big 12 selections, which is best in the Big 12, for an average of almost three per year (2.8 average). This includes 2011-12.
--Kansas has won 10 or more league games for the last 18 seasons and 50 times overall, including 2011-12.
--In December 2010, KU alum David Booth bought the original rules of basketball by the inventor of the game and KU's first coach James Naismith. Booth plans to bring the rules to Lawrence and Allen Fieldhouse.
--Kansas' school-record 69-game home court winning streak, from 2007-11, led the nation for more than two seasons and ranks 11th all-time in the NCAA records book.
No. 7/7 Kansas will play No. 14/14 Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. (Central) on ESPN. The Jayhawks will return to Allen Fieldhouse to take on Chattanooga on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the second game of the CBE Classic.