Kansas (6-1) returns home to host former Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 Conference foe Colorado (7-1), Saturday, Dec. 8, at 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The Jayhawks and Buffs played 151 times in league play (from 1948 to 2011) before Colorado moved to the Pac-12 following the 2010-11 season.
Colorado is the second straight and third Pac-12 team Kansas will have faced in 2012-13. KU defeated Washington State 78-41 in the semifinals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on Nov. 19 and Oregon State, 84-78, in the BMO Harris Bank Kansas City Shootout on Nov. 30. Both wins were at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Ranked No. 9 in the Dec. 3 polls, Kansas is 6-1 on the season and takes a five-game winning streak into the Colorado contest. The Jayhawks are coming off an 84-78 win against Oregon State on Nov. 30 in the BMO Harris Bank Kansas City Shootout at the Sprint Center.
Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 275-54 record for an 83.6 winning percentage, Kansas averages 71.3 points per game and is giving up 58.9 for a +14.3 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 37.7 to 34.1 and averages 7.1 steals and a Big 12-leading 9.3 blocked shots per game. Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game. He is second on the squad with nine three-pointers made and eight steals. Senior center Jeff Withey, who was named the Big 12 Player of the Week Dec. 3, leads Kansas in rebounding at 8.1 rpg, field goal percentage at 59.1 percent and blocked shots per game at 5.7, which also leads the Big 12.
Withey is scoring 14.6 points per outing. Senior guard Travis Releford is next in scoring at 13.1 points per game. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford leads Kansas in steals (10) and in free throw percentage (91.3 percent). Senior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-high 34 assists and 12 three-pointers made to complement his 10.0 scoring average. Senior forward Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters. He is scoring 4.7 points per game and is second on the team with 6.2 rebounds per outing.
Other KU regulars include freshman forward Perry Ellis (6.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (4.0 ppg, 15 assists) and redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor (2.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg).
Located in Boulder, Colo., with an enrollment of 29,884, Colorado is 7-1 on the season after its 70-61 win against Colorado State on Wednesday (Dec. 5). The Buffaloes are coached by former KU player Tad Boyle who is in his third season at CU with a 55-27 record. Overall, Boyle is 111-93 in his seventh season. Boyle played at KU from 1982-85 for coaches Ted Owens in 1982-83 and Larry Brown in 1984-85.
Colorado opened the season 6-0 before falling at Wyoming, 76-69, on Dec. 1. The Buffs average 74.4 points per game and are giving up 67.4 for a +7.0 scoring margin. CU has a +3.3 rebound margin and averages 6.1 three-point field goals made per contest. Sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie leads CU with a 17.8 scoring average. He has made a team-high 19 threes and pulls down 4.8 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Askia Booker is next in scoring at 14.1 points per outing, including 14 three-pointers. Booker leads CU with 22 assists, two ahead of Dinwiddie, and is second on the team with 11 steals.
Freshman forward Josh Scott is a starter who scores 12.0 points per game and is second on the team with a 5.6 rpg average. Rounding out the CU starters are junior forward Andre Roberson and senior guard Sabatino Chen. Roberson leads the team with 11.5 rebounds per contest and 12 blocked shots to go along with his 12.0 scoring average.
Chen averages 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Other CU regulars include freshman forward Xavier Johnson (6.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and freshman guard Eli Stalzer (2.5 ppg).
THE KU-COLORADO SERIES
This series between Kansas and Colorado dates back to 1931 and KU leads 122-39, including a 61-7 record in Lawrence (52-5 in Allen Fieldhouse). Kansas has won 20 straight and 47 of the last 48 meetings with CU dating back to 1991. The last Colorado win in the series was a 60-59 thriller on Jan. 22, 2003, in Boulder. The previous CU win was a 79-71 victory on Feb. 20, 1991, also in Boulder.
Kansas has won 29 straight against Colorado in Allen Fieldhouse dating back to the 1982-83 season. As conference members - Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12 - Kansas was 116-35 against Colorado, which included 21 meetings in the Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament and postseason conference play. As members of the Big 12, Kansas was 31-1 against Colorado - 29-1 in regular-season play and 2-0 in the league championship.
In the Bill Self-era, Kansas is 15-4 against Pac-12 schools and has won the last 10 meetings against the league's opponents. In 2010-11, KU defeated four Pac-12 teams.
KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES
--Kansas leads NCAA Division I in blocked shots at 9.3 per game. The Jayhawks rank in the top four of the Big 12 in blocked shots (first at 9.3), assists (third at 15.0), scoring defense (fourth at 58.9), free throw percentage (second at 74.3), field goal percentage defense (second at 35.3), scoring margin (third at +14.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.2).
--Kansas set a school record with 16 blocked shots against San Jose State (11/26).
--KU has outrebounded four of seven opponents this season.
--Kansas has outshot all but one opponent in 2012-13. Only Michigan State outshot KU this year (52.1 to 50.0 percent).
--Five of Kansas' six wins have been by 13 or more points.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas is ranked No. 9 in both the Associated Press poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll released Dec. 3. Dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 62nd-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, which includes 52 times in the Top 10. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 67 polls, including 54 times in the Top 10.
TOYS FOR TOTS
Fans of the nationally-ranked Kansas men's and women's basketball teams will have the opportunity to cheer on the Jayhawks, while also supporting Toys for Tots, during a pair of selected dates in December. There will be a Toys for Tots collection at the men's basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 15, against Belmont.
The collection bins will also be in place on Sunday, Dec. 16, but fans who donate a new unwrapped toy at the women's basketball game will receive free admittance to the game against Prairie View A&M. The United States Marine Corps will be on hand to collect toys at each Allen Fieldhouse entrance on Dec. 15 and 16.
SPACE AVAILABLE FOR MEN'S BASKETBALL HOLIDAY CLINIC
The University of Kansas men's basketball program will hold its annual Men's Basketball Holiday Clinic for boys and girls ages first through sixth grade on Thursday, Dec. 27 from 1-3:30 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.
The annual clinic, hosted by current KU players, coaches and staff, will include fundamental instruction, an official camp t-shirt, a Junior Jayhawk basketball and one general admission ticket to KU's Dec. 29 home game against American. Additionally, there will be an autograph session with the current KU team and coaches following the clinic.
The cost of the clinic is $85 and pre-registration MUST be done online at BillSelfBasketballCamp.com. No walk-up registration will be taken on the date of the clinic. Upon completing the online registration, those that sign up will receive a promotional code to purchase additional tickets to the American game at KUTickets.com All tickets will be general admission.
Check-in begins at noon and lasts until 12:50 p.m. at the north end of Allen Fieldhouse. Parents are welcome to watch and take pictures from the second level of Allen Fieldhouse during the two and a half hour clinic. For more information and to pre-register for the clinic, please log ontoBillSelfBasketballCamp.com
Kansas will take a week off for final exams and then continue its home stand hosting Belmont on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU and Richmond on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.