The top-two winningest programs in college basketball will square off as No. 3/3 Kansas 16-4, 5-3) steps out of conference play when it plays host to fellow blue blood No. 20/19 Kentucky (16-4, 6-2) onSaturday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m. on ESPN in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. KU is looking to rebound from an 85-72 loss at No. 14/16 Iowa State on Jan. 25. The Jayhawks have a 34-game winning streak in Allen Fieldhouse. Kentucky brings a three-game winning streak to Lawrence after defeating former Big 12 rival Missouri, 88-54, on Jan. 30 in Lexington.
COLLEGE GAMEDAY RETURNS
ESPN College GameDay will originate from Allen Fieldhouse for the seventh time before Saturday’s Kansas-Kentucky game. The event is free and doors will open at 6:30 a.m., with SportsCenter hits leading up to the show from 10-11 a.m.
The weekly-traveling telecast also visited Lawrence in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013. Next Saturday marks the 12th time the Jayhawks will be featured on GameDay, with appearances as the road team in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015.
KANSAS JAYHAWKS GIGAPIXEL PHOTO
On Saturday, an ultra-high-resolution 360-degree photo will be taken immediately following the alma mater and the Rock Chalk Chant which begins at the 12-minute mark on the pregame clock. The image will be over 26 billion pixels in size. Fans, who will be provided complimentary extra-large crimson, blue, or white T-shirt upon arrival to their seats, will need to make sure they dressed in their designated colors and in their seats pregame to ensure that they are in the photograph.
COACHES VS. CANCER SUITS & SNEAKERS
Kansas and Kentucky will be participating Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Week, Jan. 25-31, 2016. The week is a collaborative initiative of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the American Cancer Society where more than 4,000 high school and college men’s basketball coaches and staffs will swap their dress shoes for sneakers with their usual attire during games. One can show their support by visiting cancer.org.
BIG 12 / SEC CHALLENGE
This year marked the first time all 10 games in the Big 12/SEC Challenge will take place in one day. The Big 12 has won the event each of its first two seasons, winning six of 10 matchups in 2014 and posting a 7-3 mark in 2013. Kansas is 1-1 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, having split with Florida as both teams claimed home victories. Dating back to 2007 against the Pac-10, the Big 12 is 41-27 in its last two conference challenges, with Kansas posting a 4-2 record (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA, 1-1 vs. Florida) in those.
KANSAS-KENTUCKY QUICK HITS
• These are the top-two winningest programs in NCAA Division I college basketball with Kentucky first at 2,194 wins and Kansas second at 2,169 victories.
• The blue-blood programs combine for 31 Final Fours with Kentucky at 17 and Kansas at 14.
• KU head coach Bill Self was a graduate assistant at Kansas under Larry Brown in 1985-86. Kentucky coach John Calipari was an assistant coach at Kansas from 1982-85.
• This will be the fifth meeting between Bill Self and John Calipari. Self’s Kansas team won the 2008 NCAA National Championship over Calipari’s Memphis team, 75-68 in overtime, in San Antonio. Calipari’s team has won the last three meetings. In 2011-12, Kentucky defeated Kansas twice: 75-65 in the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15, 2011, and 67-59 in the NCAA Championship game, April 2, 2012, in New Orleans. Last year, Kentucky defeated Kansas, 72-40, in the Champions Classic on Nov. 18, 2014, in Indianapolis.
• Kansas leads the NCAA in conference men’s basketball titles with 58, including the last 11-straight Big 12 titles. Kentucky is second with 46 SEC titles.
• Both schools’ facilities are named after KU greats. Kentucky’s Rupp Arena is named after Adolph Rupp, a native of Halstead, Kansas, and a KU graduate who played at Kansas in 1923 under coach F.C. “Phog” Allen, of which Allen Fieldhouse is named.
Ranked in the Associated Press top five every week this season, No. 4/3 Kansas is 16-4 overall and one game out of first-place in the Big 12 standings at 5-3 in league play. KU averages 83.7 points per game and is second in the Big 12 with a +14.4 scoring margin. KU pulls down an average of 39.0 rebounds per game and has a +5.6 rebound margin. The Jayhawks also average 16.7 assists, 7.3 steals and 4.1 blocked shots per contest.
Senior F Perry Ellis is coming off back-to-back 20-point scoring efforts after scoring 26 points against Texas (1/23) and 23 at Iowa State (1/25). Ellis is averaging 19.0 points and 7.1 rebounds in Big 12 play and 16.7 points and 6.6 rebounds overall. Ellis is the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top seven in scoring (third) and rebounding (seventh). Junior G Wayne Selden Jr., is third in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 2.5 and in 3-point field goal percentage at 46.7 percent. His 14.6 scoring average is eighth in the league. Selden has four 20-point efforts this season. Junior G Frank Mason III is scoring 13.4 points per game which 10th in the Big 12 and is fifth in the league with a 4.8 assist average and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.3. He has a team-high 31 steals. Sophomore G Devonte’ Graham is scoring 10.5 points per game. He is second on the team with 28 steals and is fourth in the Big 12 with a 3.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. Junior F Landen Lucas rounds out the KU starters. He scores 4.0 points per game and is second on the team with a 5.2 rebound average, which is 18th in the Big 12.
Junior G Brannen Greene is a 3-point specialist who scores 6.8 points per game off the bench. He is 20-for-37 (54.1 percent) from beyond the arc this season. Sophomore G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has made 20 3-pointers made this season, helping him average 5.7 points per game. Freshman F Carlton Bragg Jr., is averaging 4.6 ppg and 2.8 rpg overall. He posted a career-high 10 points versus TCU (1/16). Freshman Cheick Diallo (4.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg) started his first college game at Oklahoma State (1/19). He has 13 blocked shots. Senior F Hunter Mickelson has started 10 games this season and is averaging 2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds and his 1.1 blocked shots per game are eighth in the Big 12. Senior F Jamari Traylor (2.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg) has started seven games in 2015-16.
Located in Lexington, Kentucky, with an enrollment of 30,000, UK is 16-4 on the season and brings a three-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse. The Wildcats are coached by former Kansas assistantJohn Calipari who is 206-42 in his seventh season at UK and 651-182 in his 24th season overall. Kentucky averages 77.9 points per game and has a +11.5 scoring margin. UK pulls down 39.8 rebounds per contest and has a +7.7 rebound margin. The Wildcats average 13.6 assists, 6.4 steals and 5.8 blocked shots per game.
Freshman G Jamal Murray leads Kentucky in scoring with a 17.5 scoring average. He has made a team-high 53 3-pointers which averages out to 2.7 per contest. Murray pulls down 4.8 rebounds per game and is tied for the team lead with 25 steals along with fellow starters sophomore G Tyler Ulis and freshman G Isaiah Briscoe. Ulis averages 15.5 points per game and leads the team with 6.1 assists per contest. His 27 3-pointers are second on the squad. Briscoe averages 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Senior F Alex Poythress leads UK in rebounds with a 6.6 average to complement his 9.7 scoring average. Junior F Derek Willis rounds out the Kentucky probable starters. Willis scores 6.8 points per outing and is third on the team with 24 3-pointers made.
Freshman F Skal Labissiere has 11 starts this season and scores 7.7 points per game. His 34 blocked shots are second on the team behind junior F Marcus Lee’s 35. Lee averages 7.2 points per contest and is second on the team with a 6.5 rebounds per game. Freshman G Charles Matthews (2.4 ppg) rounds out the Kentucky regulars.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Kansas, 22-6, and has won the last three meetings as Kansas won the previous three dating back to 2005. In 2011-12, the two teams met twice with Kentucky claiming both wins: 75-65 in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden and 67-59 in the NCAA title game in New Orleans. Last year, then-No. 1 Kentucky defeated Kansas 72-40 on Nov. 18, 2014 in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. Prior to 2011-12, the two teams last met in the second round of the 2007 NCAA West Regional in Chicago with Kansas defeating Kentucky, 88-76. The two teams had a home-and-home series in 2005 and 2006 with KU winning in Lexington 65-59 on Jan. 9, 2005, and 73-46 the following season (Jan. 7, 2006) in Allen Fieldhouse. The series dates back to 1950, a 68-39 UK win in Lexington. Kansas’ single-game record of 150 points came against Kentucky in a 150-95 win over Rick Pitino’s Wildcats on Dec. 9, 1989 in Lawrence. Kansas coach Bill Self is 3-4 against Kentucky, 3-3 while at Kansas, while Kentucky coach John Calipari is 3-3 versus Kansas.
HOME SWEET HOME
Since his arrival at KU, Bill Self is 200-9 in games played at Allen Fieldhouse for a 95.7 winning percentage, which includes five undefeated home seasons. Self’s Big 12 conference titles (11) are more than his home losses while at Kansas (9). Included was a school-record 69-game home-court winning streak which led the nation for more than two seasons and ranks 11th all-time in the NCAA records book as well as two 33-plus game home-court winning streaks, including KU’s current streak of 34, which is fourth-longest in KU history. Kansas is 146-3 in Allen Fieldhouse in its last 149 games. Kansas is 738-109 all-time in Allen Fieldhouse.
• KU ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring margin (second at +14.4), field goal percentage (second at 48.6), 3-point field goal percentage (second at 43.0), 3-point field goals made (second at 8.6), assists (third at 16.7), scoring offense (third at 84.7), rebound margin (third at +5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (third at 1.4).
• KU’s 43.0 3-point field goal percentage is fifth nationally and just behind the KU season record of 43.3 set in 1989-90. Its 83.7 scoring average is the best in the Self era (81.6 in 2009-10) and the highest since a 90.9 scoring average in 2001-02.
• Out of its 16 victories of the season, Kansas has won by 10 or more points in 11 of those wins. Five of those wins have been by 30 points or more.
• Kansas has out-shot 16 of 20 opponents this season. The Jayhawks have also out-rebounded 15 of 20 foes.
• Kansas was 10-for-25 from 3-point range against Texas (1/23). KU has shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range in 14 of its 20 games.
• The KU bench has outscored its opponents’ bench in 13 of 20 games this season and is 12-1 in those contests.
• KU has made seven or more three-pointers in 14 of 20 games this season. KU has made 10 or more 3-pointers eight times, including 15 threes vs. Northern Colorado (11/13) and Chaminade (11/23), which were one off the school record.
• Senior F Perry Ellis is the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top seven in scoring (third at 16.7 ppg) and rebounding (seventh at 6.6).
• In his last 12 games, Ellis is 11-for-22 (50.0 percent) from 3-point range, 50-for-59 (84.7 percent) from the free throw line.
• Junior G Wayne Selden Jr., is third the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made per game at 2.5 and third in 3-point field goal percentage at .467 for all games.
• Kansas is 32-6 when following a conference loss under Self with only one of those losses coming in Allen Fieldhouse (Feb. 19, 2005 vs. Iowa State).
IN THE POLLS
In the most recent national rankings released on Jan. 25, Kansas is No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 3 the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. KU spent two weeks ranked No. 1 in the AP poll (Jan. 4, Jan. 11) and the previous week at No. 1 in the Coaches’ poll (Jan. 11). On Jan. 11, the Jayhawks were ranked No. 1 in both national polls for the first time since Feb. 14, 2011. KU has been ranked in each of the last 135 AP polls which is the second-longest active streak in NCAA Division I behind Duke’s 167. The last time Kansas was not ranked by AP was during the 2008-09 season. Under coach Bill Self, Kansas has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 221 weeks, which includes 159 weeks in the Top 10, 92 times in the Top 5 and 22 times at No. 1. In the coaches’ poll, under Self, Kansas has been ranked 234 times with 172 in the top 10 and 106 in the top five.
Kansas entered the 2015-16 season ranked No. 4 by AP and No. 5 in the coaches’ polls. This season’s AP poll is the highest ranking for the Jayhawks since 2009-10 when they entered the season No. 1 in the country. The preseason ranking is the 10th time in the Bill Self era that the Jayhawks enter the season slotted seventh or higher, including each of the last four seasons – No. 5 in 2015-16 and 2014-15, No. 6 in 2013-14, and No. 7 in 2012-13.
Last season, KU entered the year No. 5 nationally in the coaches’ poll and ended up No. 17. The Jayhawks were ranked in the top 10 in 12 times during the 2014-15 season.
• Senior F Perry Ellis is only the 24th Jayhawk to reach the 1,400 point plateau. Ellis has 1,490 career points, which is 21st on the KU career scoring list. Earlier this month, Ellis became the 16th player in KU history to reach 700 career rebounds, currently 15th at 743. Ellis is on pace to become the eighth player in KU history to rank in the top 15 in both career points and career rebounds: Danny Manning (2,951 points/1,187 rebounds), Nick Collison (2,097 points/1,143 rebounds), Raef LaFrentz (2,066 points/1,186 rebounds), Clyde Lovellette (1,979 points/839 rebounds), Dave Robisch(1,754 points/815 rebounds), Mark Randall (1,627 points/723 rebounds) and Wayne Simien (1,593 points/884 rebounds).
• Junior G Wayne Selden Jr., has scored 970 points and is 30 shy from becoming the 57th Jayhawk to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Selden already ranks 15th on the KU career 3-pointers made list at 138 and tied for 15th (Rex Walters) on the 3-pointers attempted list at 361.
• With his four assists against TCU (1/16), junior G Frank Mason III surpassed the 300 career assists mark, currently at 309. Mason has 99 career steals.
KANSAS VS. RANKED TEAMS
Kansas has faced five nationally-ranked opponents in 2015-16 with three of those being Big 12 members. This season, KU is 3-2 against ranked foes.
In 2014-15, KU set some milestones against ranked foes. KU went 10-6 against Associated Press nationally-ranked teams at tip. The 10 wins were the most in a season for Kansas, surpassing the 9-1 record in the 1996-97 season. The 16 games versus AP-ranked foes were also the most in KU history. The previous high was 12 battles versus ranked foes in three different seasons (1994-95, 2002-03 and 2011-12). Prior to 2015-16, in each of the last five seasons, the Jayhawks have a winning record versus AP-ranked opponents, which included a 7-3 mark in 2013-14. Since the 2009-10 season, KU is 41-19 against AP-ranked teams.
ELLIS NAMED A SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE
Senior F Perry Ellis is one of 30 candidates for the 2015-16 Senior CLASS Award®. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Each of the 30 candidate classes will be narrowed to 10 finalists in February, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans.
Kansas jumps back into Big 12 play when it hosts Kansas State on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. The Jayhawks will then travel to TCU on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. on ESPN and return home to host West Virginia on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.