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January 21, 2013

KU heads to KSU for Big 12 battle

KANSAS CONTINUES ITS ROAD SWING

--No. 4/4 Kansas (16-1, 4-0) continues its road swing when it travels to Kansas State (15-2, 4-0) on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network.

--First place in the 2013 Big 12 race is on the line.

--Kansas is 16-1 or better for the third time in the last four seasons and the fifth time in the 10 years of the Bill Self era. KU is 4-0 in Big 12 play for the second-straight season and the seventh time under Self.

--Kansas leads the nation with a 15-game winning streak. Kansas State is tied for eighth with an eight-game winning streak.

--KU is second with a 32-game home-court winning streak. Kansas State's 12-game home-court winning streak is tied for 13th nationally.

--Kansas State is the third ranked team KU has faced in 2012-13. The Jayhawks are 1-1 against ranked foes with a 67-64 loss to then-No. 21/22 Michigan State (1/13) at the Champions Classic in Atlanta and won at then-No. 7/7 Ohio State, 74-66, on Dec. 22.

--Dating back to when KSU's Bramlage Coliseum opened for the 1987-88 season, Kansas is a mindboggling 22-2 against Kansas State in the venue.

ABOUT KANSAS

Kansas, ranked No. 4 in both the Jan. 14 polls, is 16-1 (4-0 Big 12) on the season after coming from behind to win at Texas 64-59 Saturday (1/19). Kansas' 15-game winning streak is the nation's longest and is the fourth longest during the Bill Self era. In his 10th season at Kansas, Self holds a 285-54 record for an 84.1 winning percentage. Overall, Self is nearing his 500th career victory with a 492-159 record in his 20th season as a head coach. Kansas averages 76.0 points per game and is giving up 59.3 for a Big 12-leading +16.7 scoring margin. KU is outrebounding foes 39.1 to 33.1 and averages 7.4 steals, while also leading the conference in field goal percentage at 48.4, three-point field goal percentage at 36.5 and blocked shots at 8.0.

Kansas starts four seniors, including three fifth-year seniors, and one freshman. Named to the Sporting News Mid-Season All-American team Jan. 15, redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.4 points per game, which leads all Big 12 freshmen and ranks second overall in the conference. The Jan. 14 Big 12 Player of the Week, McLemore leads KU with 32 three-pointers made and is second on the team with 22 steals.

Senior C Jeff Withey leads Kansas in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and blocked shots at 4.6 bpg, which ranks second nationally. A Wooden Award Mid-Season Top 25 honoree along with McLemore, Withey is tied for second in the Big 12 with six double-doubles on the season and is scoring 13.1 points per outing. Senior G Travis Releford leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 89.3 percent, just ahead of McLemore's 88.1 percent. In his last 14 games, Releford is shooting 69.3 percent from the field. The Nov. 26 Big 12 Player of the Week, Releford is scoring 12.9 points per game and leads KU with a 61.3 field goal percentage.

Senior G Elijah Johnson has a team-high 85 assists which included a career-high 10 dimes in recording his first career double-double (12 points) against Iowa State (1/9). Johnson is second on the team with 25 three-pointers made to complement his 9.7 scoring average. Senior F Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.6 points per game and is second on the team with 6.9 rebounds per outing. Young has double-doubles in two of his last five games.

Other KU regulars include freshman F Perry Ellis (5.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg), sophomore G Naadir Tharpe (5.1 ppg, 2.5 apg), redshirt freshman F Jamari Traylor (2.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg) and freshman G Andrew White III (3.1 ppg).

ABOUT KANSAS STATE

Located in Manhattan, Kan., with an enrollment of 23,566, Kansas State is 15-2 (4-0 Big 12) on the season and has won eight-straight games. The Wildcats are coached by Bruce Weber who is 15-2 in his first season at KSU and 328-157 in his 15th season overall. Kansas State is 11-0 at home this season after its 69-60 win against Oklahoma Saturday (1/19).

The Wildcats average 69.3 points and give up 57.3 for a +12.0 scoring margin. KSU leads the Big 12 in rebounding defense (32.1), turnover margin (+2.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). Kansas State also ranks second in the league in scoring defense (57.3), three-point field goal percentage defense (27.4), rebound margin (+6.8) and assists (16.1).

Kansas State is a deep team, which has 11 players who average 11-plus minutes per game. Senior G Rodney McGruder leads Kansas State in scoring at 15.5 points per game, which is third in the Big 12. His 20 steals are a team-best and he is tied for the team lead with 26 three-pointers made along with junior G Will Spradling.

Spradling averages 8.6 points per game and is second on the team with 54 assists. He is making 85.4 percent of his free throws and leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.0. Sophomore G Angel Rodriguez is second behind Spradling in the conference with a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. Rodriguez leads the Wildcats with 69 assists and is second on the KSU team in scoring at 9.2 points per contest and with 19 steals.

Junior G Shane Southwell has started eight games and averages 7.4 points per outing. Sophomore F Thomas Gipson rounds out the KSU starters. He averages 7.1 points per game and leads KSU in rebounding with a 5.9 average. Senior F Jordan Henriquez has a team-high 31 blocked shots in 2012-13 to complement his 5.1 scoring and 4.8 rebound averages.

Other KSU regulars include sophomore F Adrian Diaz (4.2 ppg), senior G Martavious Irving (4.1 ppg), freshman F D.J. Johnson (3.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg) and junior G Omari Lawrence (2.7 ppg).

THE SERIES

Kansas has won 44 of the last 47 meetings with Kansas State dating back to the 1994 season. The Jayhawks have won nine of the last 10 match-ups and hold a 183-91 all-time series advantage over the Wildcats, which dates back to 1907. In Manhattan, Kan., Kansas is 74-45 all-time against K-State, including 22-2 in Bramlage Coliseum.

The Wildcats have won two of the last five meetings with the Jayhawks at Bramlage. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, Kansas is 29-3 in regular-season battles and 36-3 including Big 12 Championship meetings versus Kansas State. Kansas head coach Bill Self if 19-3 all-time against Kansas State, including 18-3 while at KU. Bruce Weber is 0-1 against Kansas.

KANSAS TEAM NOTABLES

--Kansas is second in NCAA Division I and first in the Big 12 in blocked shots at 8.0 per game and also leads the conference in scoring margin (+16.7), field goal percentage (48.4) and three-point field goal percentage (36.5). The Jayhawks also rank in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (third, 76.0), field goal percentage defense (second, 34.8), free throw percentage (second, 74.9), rebound margin (third, +5.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (third, 1.2).

--Over the last 10 contests, KU is averaging a 18.4-point scoring margin over its opponents yet in Big 12 play the Jayhawks are winning by 11.0 points per game.

--The Jayhawks have held a double-digit lead in all but two contests this season, with the exceptions coming in their 67-64 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 13 when they held a seven-point lead and at Texas (1/19) when they led by five.

--Out of its 17 games, Kansas has held 12 of its opponents to 60 points or less, including each of its last three conference foes: 46 at Texas Tech, 44 vs. Baylor and 59 at Texas.

--KU has outrebounded 14 of 17 opponents this season including 10 of its last 11 foes. KU has had four games with 10-plus rebounds over its opponent.


--Kansas has outshot all but two opponents in 2012-13. Michigan State outshot KU this year (52.1 to 50.0 percent) and Texas outshot KU 44.6 to 39.2 percent. Additionally, KU has shot 50 percent or better in eight games this season, including seven of the last 10 contests.

--Kansas has held a 40-plus point lead in four different games this season.

--Kansas had four players score in double figures in nine of the last 12 games, including five against Iowa State (1/9). Eight different players have made that happen: Ellis, Johnson, McLemore, Releford, Tharpe, White, Withey and Young.

MCLEMORE SPORTING NEWS MID-SEASON ALL-AMERICAN

Kansas redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore was named to the Sporting News Mid-Season All-America First Team it was announced Jan. 15. McLemore is joined on the first team by Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart, Michigan sophomore Trey Burke, Creighton junior Doug McDermott and Duke senior Mason Plumlee.

KANSAS SHOOTING

Kansas has shot 50 percent or better from the field in seven of its last 11 games and leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 48.4 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 G Travis Releford is 70-for-101 (69.3 percent) from the field in his last 14 games and 33-for-48 (68.8 percent) in his last eight contests. Redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore has shot 50 percent or better from three-point range in seven of his last nine games, including a 6-for-6 effort against Iowa State (1/9) and a 2-for-3 effort at Texas (1/19).

Senior C Jeff Withey has shot 50 percent or better in 13 of 17 games this season, including eight games at 60 percent or higher. Withey was 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) at Texas. Senior F Kevin Young was 2-for-3 at Texas and is 29-for-48 (60.4 percent) in his last eight games which included a 7-for-9 performance at Texas Tech (1/12).

WITHEYBLOCKPARTY.COM

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 second nationally with 4.6 blocked shots per game. KU's record for single-season blocked shot average is 3.6 set by Withey in 2012.

--Withey's 78 blocks in 2012-13 are more than seven Big 12 teams this season and rank tied for eighth (Eric Chenowith, 1999) on the KU single-season list.

--Withey ranks tied for third (Nick Collison, 2000-03) on the KU career blocked shots list with 243. He is 15 blocked shots from the KU career record of 258 held by Greg Ostertag (1992-95).

--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 AND WITHEY NAMED TO WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 25

Kansas' Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey were named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, announced Jan. 10 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 Wooden Award. With McLemore and Withey listed, Kansas is one of three schools to have two players among the 25, along with Duke and Missouri.

The players on the Wooden midseason list are considered candidates for the official ballot. The Wooden Award All-American Team, consisting of the nation's top 10 players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament. The John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year will be announced on ESPN during the Final Four Weekend in Atlanta. The 2013 Wooden Award Gala will take place April 11-13, 2013, at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Gala will honor the Men's and Women's Wooden Award winners, All Americans and the Legends of Coaching Award winner, Kansas head coach Bill Self.

CONFERENCE DOMINANCE

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. Kentucky is second with 51 and Penn third at 37. Kansas' eight-straight league titles is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history. Ohio State (Big Ten), Belmont (Atlantic Sun) and Murray State (Ohio Valley) are next at three on the active league title list.

AIRMCLEMORE.COM

Kansas guard Ben McLemore leads the Big 12 freshman class with a 16.4 scoring average, which is second overall in the conference. KU's leading scorer as well, McLemore has five games with 20 points or more this season, including a 33-point effort against Iowa State (1/9) in the Big 12 opener.

Kansas freshman record-wise, McLemore's:

...16.4 ppg would surpass the KU freshman record of 14.6 ppg held by Danny Manning in 1985.

...5.4 rebound average would rank 10th on the KU freshman list.

...32 three-pointers made in 2012-13 are 11th on the KU freshman list.

...44.4 three-point field goal percentage is fifth on the KU freshman list.

McLemore's 33 points against Iowa State (1/9):

--Were the most by a Jayhawk since Marcus Morris tallied 33 points against Iowa State on Jan. 12, 2011.

--Are the most points scored in a game this season in the Big 12 Conference for all players.

--Were the most by a Kansas freshman since Danny Manning scored 35 points against Oklahoma State on March 2, 1985.

--Consisted of him connecting on 6-of-6 three-point field goal attempts, marking the best three-point field goal percentage since Rex Walters went 6-for-6 from beyond the arc against Ball State in 2003.

WINNING STREAKS IN THE Bill Self ERA

Kansas' 15-game winning streak heading into the Kansas State contest is the longest in the nation. This is the 12th time in the Bill Self era 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

15-0 2012-13 Nov. 15-active

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 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

UP NEXT

Kansas returns home Saturday, Jan. 26 against Oklahoma at 3 p.m. on ESPN. The game will be the annual Suits and Sneakers contest promoting cancer awareness and sponsored by the NABC's Coaches vs. Cancer program. KU will then play its second of four ESPN Big Monday's at West Virginia on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. (Central). The Jayhawks return home to host Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Television Network.


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