Kansas, eight-time defending Big 12 Conference regular-season champion, opens league play when it hosts Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. Kansas has won 55 conference titles, which ranks first in NCAA Division I. Though the Big 12 season officially started Jan. 5, this is the league opener for both Kansas and Iowa State.
Kansas has won 21-straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season with nine of those at home. Additionally, KU has won six-straight Big 12 home openers dating back to the 2006-07 season.
Kansas is ranked No. 6 in both of the Jan. 7 polls and is 12-1 on the season after defeating Temple 69-62 on Jan. 6 to close out non-conference play for 2012-13. Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 281-54 record for an 83.9 winning percentage, Kansas averages 77.7 points per game and is giving up 59.2 for a Big 12-leading +18.5 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 39.4 to 32.9 and averages 6.8 steals, while also leading the conference in field goal percentage at 49.9 and blocked shots at 8.4.
Kansas starts four seniors, including three fifth-year seniors, and one freshman. Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 15.6 points per game, which leads all Big 12 freshmen and ranks third overall in the conference. The Dec. 24 Big 12 Rookie of the Week, McLemore leads KU with 22 three-pointers made and is second on the KU team with 15 steals.
Senior center Jeff Withey has two double-doubles in his last three games and leads Kansas in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and blocked shots at 5.2 bpg, which also leads the league and is tops nationally. Withey, the Dec. 3 Big 12 Player of the Week, has five double-doubles on the season and is scoring 13.4 points per outing. Senior guard Travis Releford has been on fire lately. In his last 10 games, Releford is shooting 75 percent from the field, including 66.7 percent from three-point range. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford is scoring 13.4 points per game and leads KU with a 63.6 field goal percentage and 16 steals.
A Bob Cousy Award nominee, senior guard Elijah Johnson has a team-high 68 assists and is second on the team with 21 three-pointers made to complement his 10.0 scoring average. Senior forward Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.3 points per game and is second on the team with 7.0 rebounds per outing. Young had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds against Temple (1/6).
Other KU regulars include freshman forward Perry Ellis (5.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg), sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe (5.1 ppg, 3.0 apg), redshirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor (2.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg) and freshman guard Andrew White III (4.0 ppg). Ellis had his first collegiate career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds against American (12/29). Tharpe has 23 assists and two turnovers in his last five games, including a career-high 12 dimes against American.
ABOUT IOWA STATE
Located in Ames, Iowa, with an enrollment of 31,040, Iowa State is 10-3 on the season and brings a four-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse. Iowa State legend Fred Hoiberg, who in 2012 was the co-Big 12 Coach of the Year along with Kansas' Bill Self, is in his first head coaching position and has a 49-30 record in his third season at Iowa State.
Iowa State leads the Big 12 in scoring at 82.0 points per game and has a +15.0 scoring margin. The Cyclones also lead the conference in rebounding at 43.4 boards per game and rebound margin at +10.8. ISU averages 16.8 assists and 8.2 steals per contest and shoots 45.8 percent from the field, including 35.8 percent from three-point range.
Iowa State has a balanced team with six Cyclones scoring nine or more points per game. Additionally, those six also have 12 or more steals in 2012-13. Redshirt senior guard Will Clyburn leads the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game and in free throw percentage at 81.5 percent. He is second on the team with 7.4 rebounds per game and 34 assists. Senior guard Tyrus McGee, who comes off the bench, leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 48.1 percent and three-pointers made with a 2.9 trey per game average.
McGee scores 13.4 points per contest and leads the team with 19 steals. Freshman forward Georges Niang also comes off the bench and he is averaging 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Junior forward Melvin Ejim is second in the conference with 9.4 rebounds per outing to complement his 10.5 scoring average. Redshirt senior guard Korie Lucious leads ISU in assists with a 5.4 apg average, which is third in the Big 12. He is scoring 9.7 points per game and is second on the team with 24 three-pointers made.
Joining Clyburn, Ejim and Lucious in the starting lineup are redshirt senior guard Chris Babb (9.2 ppg) and sophomore center Percy Gibson (7.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Gibson leads the team with 13 blocked shots this season. Redshirt senior forward Anthony Booker (5.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 11 blocked shots) rounds out the ISU regulars.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State 171-59, dating back to 1908 and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. KU holds an 88-15 advantage in games played in Lawrence, including a 47-9 record versus Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have defeated the Cyclones seven-straight times in Allen Fieldhouse since 2006. Iowa State is one of only seven teams to have won in Allen Fieldhouse during the Bill Self era, which began in 2003-04.
The Cyclones defeated the Jayhawks 63-61 on Feb. 19, 2005. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 26-8 against Iowa State with a 24-8 record in regular-season play and a 2-0 mark in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES
--Kansas is second in NCAA Division I and first in the Big 12 in blocked shots at 8.4 per game and also leads the conference in scoring margin (+18.5), field goal percentage (49.9), three-point field goal percentage (37.7), assists (17.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (third, 77.7), field goal percentage defense (second, 34.3), free throw percentage (second, 74.8), rebound margin (third, +6.5) and made three-pointers (third, 6.5).
--Kansas has trailed in only four of 13 games this season.
--Over the last five contests, KU is averaging a 23.3-point scoring margin over its opponents.
--Kansas set a school record with 16 blocked shots against San Jose State (11/26). The Jayhawks have had 10-plus blocked shots in three games this season.
--KU has outrebounded 11 of 13 opponents this season including a season-best 46-26 advantage against Richmond (12/18). KU has had four games with 10-plus rebounds over its opponent, including a +14 margin versus Temple (1/6).
--Kansas has outshot all but one opponent in 2012-13. Only Michigan State outshot KU this year (52.1 to 50.0 percent). Additionally, KU has shot 50 percent or better in seven games this season, including six of the last seven contests.
--Kansas has posted a first-half double-digit lead in five of its last seven games and in nine contests this season.
--Nine of Kansas' 12 wins have been by 13 or more points.
--Kansas has held a 40-plus point lead in four different games this season.
--Kansas had four players score in double figures in each of the last seven games. Eight different players have made that happen: Ellis, Johnson, McLemore, Releford, Tharpe, White, Withey and Young.
KANSAS SHOOTING THE BALL WELL LATELY
Kansas has shot 50 percent or better from the field in six of its last seven games and leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 49.9 percent. Included was a season-high 63.0 percent effort against American (12/29) and a 60 percent game versus Oregon State (11/30). Individually, senior guard Travis Releford is 20-for-23 (87.0 percent) from the field in his last four games, including 9-for-11 (81.8 percent) from three-point range.
Redshirt freshman guard Ben McLemore has shot 50 percent or better from three-point range in four of his last five games. In that span he is 11-for-20 (55.0 percent). Senior center Jeff Withey has shot 50 percent or better in 10 of his last 12 games, including six games at 62.5 percent or higher. Senior forward Kevin Young is 13-for-18 (72.2 percent) in his last four games, while sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe is 11-for-14 (78.6 percent) from the field in his last four games.
IN THE POLLS
Kansas remained at No. 6 in both the Associated Press poll and the USA Today Coaches' poll released Jan. 7. Dating back to the final three polls of the 2008-09 season, this marks the 67th-straight poll in which the Jayhawks have been ranked in the AP poll, including 57 times in the Top 10. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 72 polls, including 59 times in the Top 10.
Here are some block party notables for Kansas All-American candidate Jeff Withey:
--The 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Withey set the KU and Big 12 single-game record with 12 blocked shots versus San Jose State (11/26).
--Withey leads the Big 12 and is lead the nation with 5.2 blocked shots per game.
--Withey ranks fifth on the KU career blocked shots list with 234.
--For his career, Withey has had 10 games with seven or more blocked shots, including three in 2012-13.
--Withey broke the NCAA Tournament record for blocked shots with 31 in the 2012 event.
--Withey broke the Kansas and Big 12 single-season blocked shots record with 140 last year (3.6 per game). He became only the second Jayhawk to pass 100 blocked shots for a single season (125, Cole Aldrich in 2009-10).
MCLEMORE TOPS AMONG BIG 12 FRESHMEN
Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 15.6 scoring average, which is third best overall in the conference. KU's leading scorer as well, McLemore has four games with 20 points or more this season: 22 at Ohio State (12/22), 24 vs. Colorado (12/8), 21 vs. Oregon State (11/30) and 25 vs. Chattanooga (11/15).
Kansas' single-season freshman average scoring record is 14.6 points by Danny Manning in 1985. McLemore's 5.5 rebounds would rank eighth on the KU freshman single-season list.
WINNING STREAKS IN THE Bill Self ERA
Kansas has won 11-straight games heading into the conference opener against Iowa State. The 11-consecutive victories mark the 12th time in the Bill Self era at KU that the Jayhawks have won 10 or more games in a row.
Streak Season(s) Dates
20-0 2007-08 Nov. 9-Jan. 30
18-0 2010-11 Nov. 12-Jan. 17
16-0 2007-08, 2008-09 Feb. 27-Nov. 24
14-0 2009-10 Nov. 13-Jan. 6
14-0 2006-07 Feb. 7-March 22
14-0 2004-05 Nov. 19-Jan. 19
13-0 2009-10 Jan. 13-Feb. 22
11-0 2012-13 Nov. 15-active
11-0 2010-11 Feb. 19-March 25
10-0 2011-12 Dec. 22-Jan. 23
10-0 2006-07 Dec. 4-Jan. 15
10-0 2005-06 Jan. 21-Feb. 21
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 longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history.
Kansas Conference Regular-Season Titles - 55 (*tied for championship)
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (13) - 1908-09-10-11-12*-14*-15-22*-23-24-25-26-27
Big Six (12) - 1931-32-33-34-36-37*-38-40*-41*-42*-43-46
Big Seven (5) - 1950*-52-53-54*-57
Big Eight (13) - 1960*-66-67-71-74-75-78-86-91*-92-93-95-96
Big 12 (12) - 1997-98-2002-03-05* -06*-07-08*-09-10-11-12
NOTING KANSAS BASKETBALL
--Kansas has gone 256 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 2,082 all-time victories, second most in NCAA Division I.
--Kansas has won at least 12 conference games for 12 straight years, which is the longest active streak in the nation.
--Kansas has won 10 or more league games for the last 18 seasons and 50 times overall.
--Kansas won its 1,000th all-time conference game with the 83-50 win against Texas Tech on Feb. 18, 2012.
--Kansas has held 190 of its last 197 opponents to under 50 percent shooting.
--KU has held opponents to fewer than 100 points in 386 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 188 games in Allen Fieldhouse, dating back to the second game of the 2001-02 season.
--From 2007 through 2012 Kansas averaged 32.8 victories per year with five 30-win seasons. The 197 wins are the most ever in a six-year span in NCAA Division I history.
--Kansas' eight-straight Big 12 titles, from 2005-12, are the longest active consecutive string of conference titles in NCAA Division I. In that run, the Big 12 final RPI has ranked third or higher six times (first in 2010, second in 2008 and third in 2005-09-11-12) and no lower than seventh (fifth in 2006 and seventh in 2007) among the 30-plus leagues.
--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 was a part of two in 2008 and 2012. He used a redshirt during his KU career.
--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 .500 winning percentage or better series record against every conference foe. Note: Kansas has not played West Virginia in men's basketball.
--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.
--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.
Kansas will play at Texas Tech on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network. The Jayhawks conclude their four games in nine days by returning home to host Baylor on ESPN's Big Monday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m.