LAWRENCE, Kan. – No. 10/10 Kansas (19-5, 8-3) will begin a two-game road stretch when the Jayhawks journey to Waco, Texas to take on the Baylor Bears (14-10, 4-7) on Saturday at 1 p.m., inside the Ferrell Center. KU will look to claim its fifth-straight win in Waco and its 12th-consecutive victory over the Bears. CBS is set to broadcast the game with Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Bill Raftery (analyst) calling the action.
Through 11 games into the Big 12 season, Kansas and Texas Tech are atop the conference standings at 8-3. West Virginia is a game back at 7-4, while Kansas State and Oklahoma are at 6-5.
At 19-5 (8-3), Kansas is vying to win its 20th game for the 29th-consecutive season, beginning in 1989-90. KU’s current 28-straight 20-win seasons is the longest-active streak in the NCAA.
Kansas ranks sixth nationally in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and is second in strength of schedule (through games as of Feb. 7).
Nine of Kansas’ 11 conference games this season have been decided by seven points or less with the Jayhawks going 7-2 in those battles. Stretching back to last season, Kansas has played 20 Big 12 games that were decided by seven points or less. Kansas is 17-3 in those outcomes.
Kansas has won the last 11 meetings Baylor but expect a close game, as each of the last five meetings have been decided by six points or less, with the last three meetings in Waco having been decided by a combined nine points.
Senior G Devonte’ Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 1.8-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game. Graham is fifth nationally in assists per game at 7.4 and he leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.7.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 75.4 percent. He is the only player to have a 70 percent or better field goal percentage with a minimum of five made shots per game.
Kansas and William & Mary are the only two schools in NCAA Division I to have five players averaging 11.5 points or better this season (through games as of Feb. 7).
Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is shooting 46.3 percent from 3-point range and is making 3.4 3-pointers per game. Both figures rank second in the Big 12 and 3-point field goal percentage is 13th in the NCAA (among those who average 2.5 or more makes per game) and 3-pointers made at 14th.
Kansas (19-5, 8-3) is ranked No. 10 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY Coaches’ polls, released Feb. 5. Kansas leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 10.3 per game, which is 17th nationally. KU also ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring (third at 82.5), scoring margin (third at +12.3, 18th nationally), field goal percentage (second at 49.3, 19th nationally), 3-point field goal percentage (second at 40.5, 20th nationally), 3-point field goal percentage defense (third at 32.2), assists (second at 17.4, 15th nationally) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second at 1.5, 14th nationally).
Following his seventh 20-point game of the season (24 vs. TCU), fifth in Big 12 play, senior G Devonte’ Graham is scoring 19.2 points per game in Big 12 play and 17.5 in all games, which is third in the Big 12. Graham leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7) and is second in the conference in assists (7.4), sixth in free throw percentage (83.5), fifth in 3-point field goals made (3.0) and fourth in steals (1.9). Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (46.3) and second in 3-point field goals made (3.4). Mykhailiuk is averaging 16.4 points per game, which is tied for sixth in the Big 12.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike posted his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds against TCU (2/6). Azubuike is scoring 13.9 points per game, which is 16th in the Big 12. Azubuike leads the nation in field goal percentage at 75.2 percent and his 7.4 rebounds per game are a team best and sixth in the Big 12. Junior G Lagerald Vick is averaging 12.8 points per game, which is 18th in the conference. He is tied for second on the team with a 5.1 rebound average, along with redshirt-sophomore G Malik Newman. Newman is averaging 11.8 points for the season and he is third on the team with 40 3-pointers made.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett has started six games this season. He averages 4.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest. Garrett is tied for second on the team with 26 steals, along with Mykhailiuk. Sophomore F Mitch Lightfoot started his first career game against TCU. He leads Kansas with 39 blocked and his 1.6 blocks per game are seventh in the conference. Lightfoot averages 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game and leads KU with 11 charges drawn this season.
Located in Waco, Texas, win an enrollment of 17,059, Baylor has won its last two games and is 14-10 on the season and 4-7 in Big 12 play after its 67-56 win at Oklahoma State (2/6). The Bears are coached by Scott Drew who is 291-190 in his 15th season at BU and 310-201 in his 15th season overall. Baylor averages 77.1 points per game and has a plus-7.7 scoring margin. The Bears pull down 39.0 rebounds per game with a plus-7.2 rebound margin, which leads the Big 12. BU averages 15.5 assists, 5.1 steals and 4.8 blocked shots per game.
Baylor has eight players who average 21 or more minutes per game. Senior G Manu Lecomte leads Baylor in scoring at 16.8 points per game, which is fourth in the Big 12 and his 3.1 3-point field goals made per contest is also a team high and fourth in the league. Lecomte makes 89.0 percent of his free throws, which is second in the conference, and he is second on the team with 79 assists.
Senior F Jo Lual-Acuil Jr., leads the team and is third in the conference with 9.3 rebounds per game. He is 13th in the Big 12 in scoring at 14.3 points per game and fifth in blocked shots at 1.9. Senior F Nuni Omot (9.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg) is second on the team with 35 3-pointers made. Senior F Terry Maston is second on the team with a 5.9 rebound average and he scores 9.4 points per game. Junior G King McClure has made 34 3-pointers made and he is scoring 8.8 points per game. Freshman F Tristan Clark is a starter who averages 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. Other BU regulars include redshirt freshman F Mark Vital (7.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and junior G Jake Lindsey (4.8 ppg) who leads the team with 82 assists, three more than Lecomte.
The Kansas-Baylor series dates back to 1951 with the Jayhawks leading 30-4. Kansas has won 11 straight in the series and holds a 16-2 advantage in the last 18 meetings. Baylor’s two wins in that stretch came on March 9, 2013, in Waco and March 9, 2012, at the Big 12 Championship semifinals at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas is 12-2 against Baylor in Waco, with all 14 meetings at the Ferrell Center. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU is 28-4 against Baylor — 26-2 in regular-season play and 2-2 in the Big 12 Championship. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 22-4 all-time against Baylor, including a 22-3 mark while at Kansas. Baylor’s Scott Drew is 3-22 versus Kansas. Expect a close game, as each of the last five meetings have been decided by six points or less. Dating back to 2015, the last three meetings in Waco have been decided by a combined nine points, KU 56-55 in 2015, KU 66-60 in 2016 and KU 67-65 in 2017.
THE LAST MEETING
Redshirt sophomore Malik Newman scored nine points in the final three minutes to help Kansas close the game on an 11-2 run and withstand the Bears, 70-67, Jan. 20, inside Allen Fieldhouse. Newman led all scorers with 24 points in the game that saw the Jayhawks come back from a six-point deficit with just over three minutes to play.
KU senior Devonte’ Graham flirted with a triple-double, scoring 15 points with eight rebounds and seven assists. Sophomore Udoka Azubuike added 14 points and seven rebounds. Baylor’s Nuni Omot and Jo Luai-Acuil Jr. paced the Bears with 14 points apiece. Lual-Acuil had a double-double with a game high 12 rebounds.
A KANSAS WIN WOULD…
Make Kansas 20-5, giving KU 20 wins for the 29th consecutive season, adding to its active NCAA record streak … Make Kansas 9-3 or better in Big 12 play for the 14th consecutive season, beginning in 2004-05 … Give Kansas its 12th-straight win against Baylor … Make the Kansas-Baylor series 31-4 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 13-2 in games played in Waco, all at the Ferrell Center … Make Kansas 6-1 in true road games this season and 8-2 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse … Make Bill Self 23-4 all-time against Baylor (23-3 while at KU), 436-93 while at KU and 643-198 for his career … Make Kansas 2,237-846 all-time.
A KANSAS LOSS WOULD…
Make Kansas 19-6 on the season … Make Kansas 8-4 in Big 12 play for the first time since the 2003-04 season … End a Kansas 11-game winning streak against Baylor … Make the KU-BU series 30-5 in favor of the Jayhawks, including 12-3 in meetings in Waco with all 15 at the Ferrell Center … Make Kansas 5-2 in true road games this season and 8-3 in games not played in Allen Fieldhouse … Make Bill Self 22-5 against Baylor (22-4 while at KU), 435-94 while at Kansas and 642-199 as a head coach … Make KU 2,236-847 all-time.
TCU leftovers & Notables
Kansas is 8-3 or better in Big 12 play for the 21st time in the 22-year history of the Big 12 (KU was 7-4 in 2000).
The Jayhawks trailed at the half for the sixth time this year and have won only two of those contests, at West Virginia (1/15) and against TCU (2/6).
The Kansas bench hit the 20-point plateau for the sixth time this season and just the second time in Big 12 play. The Jayhawk bench entered the night averaging 11.4 ppg in Big 12 action this season.
Senior G Devonte’ Graham’s 24 points marked the seventh time this season he’s had 20 or more points and the first time in the last seven games he’s surpassed 20 points.
With his 24 points this evening, Graham passed Brandon Rush and Tony Guy and is now tied with Bud Stallworth for 22nd on the KU career scoring list with 1,495 points.
Graham has now played 40 minutes in seven-straight outings and 37 or more minutes in 15 of his 24 contests this season.
Junior G Lagerald Vick scored in double figures for the third time in his last four outings, netting eight of those points in the final 11:46 of the contest.
Freshman G Marcus Garrett was 4-of-4 from the field. Garrett has now shot perfect three times this season and twice in Big 12 play.
Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike was 4-of-7 from the free throw line for the second consecutive game for a 57.1 clip from the charity stripe for those two outings. In his previous 10 conference games, he shot 36.4 percent (16-of-44).
Azubuike’s 16 points and 11 rebounds marked his fifth double-double of the season and sixth of his career.
RIGHT AT HOME ON THE ROAD
The 2017-18 Jayhawks have shown they are not intimidated by the always-hostile road environments that the Big 12 has to offer. In fact, it appears as though Kansas has performed better in venues other than the friendly fines of Allen Fieldhouse during the first 11 outings of the conference season and the stats back up that up. The Jayhawks have scored more points per game (80.2 vs. 74.8), have shot better from the field (46.0% vs. 45.6%) and better from 3-point range (42.3% vs. 35.6%) away from James Naismith Court during league action. The KU defense has also stepped up its game on the road, holding opponents to 40.6 percent from the field and just 27.5 percent from long distance.
RECORD BOOK REVIEW
Here are some things to keep an eye on as several Jayhawks continue to make an impact on the career and single-season KU record books:
Senior Svi Mykhailiuk recently the 60th player in KU history to score 1,000 points, currently at 1,003. He is the 15th player in Bill Self’s 15 seasons at Kansas to reach the milestone. Mykhailiuk is 41 points shy from cracking the school’s all-time top 50 in scoring.
Mykhailiuk is already tied for ninth on the KU single-season 3-point field goals made list with 81 (Jeff Boschee in 1999-2000). He is eight threes from the top five and closing in on “Downtown” Terry Brown’s record of 111 treys hit during the 1990-91 season.
And finally, Mykhailiuk is hoping to continue one of the most accurate 3-point shooting seasons ever by a Jayhawk. He has hit 46.3 percent of his tries from long-range, which currently ranks 11th on the KU single-season 3-point percentage chart.
Senior Devonte’ Graham recently became just the third player in school history to tally 1,400 points, 500 assists and 175 steals in a career. Darnell Valentine and Kirk Hinrich are the only other Jayhawks to hit those numbers. Valentine had 1,821 points, 609 assists, 336 steals from 1978-81 and Hinrich recorded 1,753 points, 668 assists, 206 steals from 2000-03.
Graham is also on pace to became the No. 2 3-point shooter in school history. His 258 treys trail Billy Thomas (269 from 1995-98) for second on Kansas’ career 3-pointers list.
Graham is logging 36.9 minutes per game this year, which ranks as the sixth most in a single season.
Sophomore Udoka Azubuike is primed to become the most-efficient shooting Jayhawk in a single season. His 75.4 shooting percentage is nearly 10 points better than Mark Randall’s record clip of 64.6 percent achieved during the 1988-89 campaign.
LET’S TALK CHARITIES
Free throw shooting has been a popular topic for those covering the Jayhawks this season, and for good reason. This year’s Kansas squad began the year averaging less than 12 free thow attempts per game over its first 12 contests, which included 10 games with when it had 10 or fewer. All this after each of the previous 11 KU squads had averaged over 21 FTAs per outing in their respective seasons.
But in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign, the Jayhawks have turned this trend around. In games 13-24, KU saw over 20 attempts per outing, with four instances of 26 or more charity tries. The increase in attempts has translated to more points for the Jayhawks, who are getting 14.0 points per game from the stripe in the second half of the season, compared 8.6 in the first half. Kansas’ 21.4 FTAs per game in league play is the third-most in the conference.
Devonte’ Graham is a big reason for the recent influx of free throws. The senior guard has accounted for over 36 percent of his team’s free throw attempts during Big 12 play (7.7 per game). In his first 12 outings this year, Graham saw only 3.2 charities tries per game.
THIS DAY IN KANSAS BASKETBALL HISTORY Kansas is 23-11 all-time on Feb. 10 Feb. 10, 1953: Behind Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Al Kelley’s 25 points, Kansas defeated Oklahoma 87-59 in Lawrence. Leading 61-39 lead into the final period, KU coach Phog Allen then cleared the bench which included senior guard and future Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Dean Smith who had one foul in the victory. The 1953 Jayhawks went on to finish 19-6 and win the Big Seven Conference regular-season title with 10-2 record. KU would advance to the Final Four at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri, finishing runner-up to Indiana, 69-68, in the title game.
GRAHAM’S MIDSEASON WATCH LIST GROWS
Kansas senior Devonte’ Graham has been named to three national player of the year watch lists. On Jan. 22, Graham was one of 14 student-athletes named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch List, present by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). On Feb. 5, he was selected to the both the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 as well as the Bob Cousy Midseason Watch List. Kansas’ Frank Mason III won all three awards last season in 2017.
KU FROM DOWNTOWN
Kansas leads the Big 12 with 10.3 3-point field goals made per game, which is 17th nationally. The Jayhawks are also second in the conference with a 40.5 3-point field goal percentage. Kansas has made 10 or more 3-pointers in six conference games and 13 total in 2017-18. For the season, the Jayhawks are 11-2 in games where they have made 10 or more threes. KU has also been deadly from long range in Allen Fieldhouse, hitting 42.6 percent of its 3-point tries on its home floor. Both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Jayhawk squads hit better than 44 percent from three on James Naismith Court.
Last year, KU set the school single-season 3-point record, making 318 from beyond the arc for 8.8 per game. Three of the last eight Jayhawk squads have averaged more than seven treys per game, with both of the last two KU teams hitting an average of eight or more threes per contest. This season’s team is only two threes from becoming the sixth KU squad to make 250 3-pointers in a season (318 in 2016-17, 304 in 2015-16, 271 in 2010-11, 271 in 2007-08 and 262 in 2009-10).
DEVONTE’ + SVI = THREES
The senior pairing of Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk recently established itself as one of the top long-range shooting duos in KU history. Already this year, the two Jayhawk guards have combined for 153 of KU’s 248 3-pointers, which is 61.7 percent of the team’s threes. The prolific outside shooting from these two is nothing new as they continue to move up the all-time KU 3-point charts.
Since the advent of the 3-point line prior to the 1986-87 season, no other Kansas duo has tallied more threes over a three-year stretch than the 429 that Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined for since the 2015-16 season. At Oklahoma (1/23), Graham and Mykhailiuk passed Jeff Boschee and Kirk Hinrich as the most prolific 3-point shooting twosome in school history. Boschee and Hinrich amassed 405 treys while they played together from 2000-02. Graham is also one half of another sharp-shooting pair after he and Frank Mason III combined for the fourth-most threes (353) among KU duos during the last three seasons (2015-17).
Graham and Mykhailiuk are also among the most-accurate Jayhawk pairs. They have teamed up to shoot 41.9 percent from beyond the arc in that same three-year span, the third-best mark among KU teammates who have combined for 700 or more attempts. Rush and Chalmers boast the best combined percentage with a 42.7 percent (385-of-901) clip coming during their three seasons in Lawrence from 2006-08.
Udoka Azubuike ranks first in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 75.4 percent and he is the only player shooting 70 percent or better with a minimum of five shots made per game. Azubuike is on pace to set the Big 12 single-season record of 69.3 percent by Ricardo Ratliffe of Missouri in 2011-12.
History has shown that it isn’t easy to lead the nation in a statistic. In fact, checking the NCAA Records Book of annual leaders, only twice has a Jayhawk led the country in a season stat and both were KU All-Americans. KU legend Clyde Lovellette led the NCAA in scoring average in 1951-52 at 28.6 points per game. More recently, Thomas Robinson led the country in double-doubles with 27 during the 2011-12 season. Under Lovellette’s leadership KU won the 1952 NCAA National Championship and Robinson led the Jayhawks to a runner-up finish in 2012.
With a minimum of 175 attempts, the Kansas single-season field goal percentage record is 64.6 percent by Mark Randall in 1988-89. Last year, Landen Lucas shot 63.1 percent from the field, which ranks fourth on the KU single-season list. On the NCAA level, with a minimum of five makes per game, there have been only 12 players who have shot 70 percent or better in a season, with the most recent being Devontae Cacok of UNC-Wilmington, who set the NCAA record last season (2016-17) at 80.0 percent.
BIG 12 RUN NO CAKEWALK
Kansas ended 2016-17 ranked No. 4 in the NCAA Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and its strength of schedule was 19th nationally. In Self’s first 14 seasons, KU has ranked fifth or higher in the final RPI 10 times, including each of the last eight years. This season the strength of the Big 12 is quite prevalent. Kansas tops leads the league in RPI at sixth nationally and strength of schedule at No. 2. Oklahoma is second on both (19th in RPI and 17th in strength of schedule).
Including 2016-17, Kansas has won 17 of the 21 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last 13, which is tied for the NCAA record. Kansas’ 60 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 54 and Penn third at 37. KU’s 13-straight league titles are the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history. Kansas is now tied with UCLA, which from 1967-79, also won the NCAA record of 13 straight, which was under two coaches. Kansas’ current run has been under head coach Bill Self.
KANSAS VS TOP-25 TEAMS
Kansas is 3-3 against ranked foes this season with wins over then-No. 7 Kentucky on Nov. 14, No. 16 TCU on Jan. 6 and No. 6 West Virginia on Jan. 15. The KU losses were to No. 16/17 Arizona State on Dec. 10, No. 18 Texas Tech on Jan. 2 and at No. 12 Oklahoma on Jan. 22. Under Bill Self, Kansas is 85-44 against AP ranked opponents. In his first 14 seasons, Self’s Jayhawks have collected four wins or more over top-25 ranked foes in 11 of those seasons, which includes a 30-15 record from 2014-present.
Kansas’ record against top-10 ranked opponents is even more impressive. KU is 14-3 against foes ranked inside the top-10 of the AP poll since 2013-14. This number includes the Jayhawks’ victory over Kentucky on Nov. 14 and at West Virginia on Jan. 15. Since Bill Self’s first season, the Jayhawks are 13-2 against AP top-10 teams inside Allen Fieldhouse, which includes KU’s current streak of nine-straight home victories against top-10 foes.
WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR…
Senior G Devonte’ Graham is quickly moving up the school’s all-time career lists. Graham entered his senior season No. 45 on the KU scoring list with 1,075 points. At West Virginia (1/15), Graham became the 26th player in KU history to score 1,400 career points. He currently sits tied for 22nd with Bud Stallworth (1970-72) with 1,495 points
Against Iowa State (1/9), Graham moved into third all-time on the KU 3-point field goal list, currently at 258. Jeff Boschee (1999-2002) is first at 338 and Billy Thomas (1995-98) is second at 269.
Graham is 258-for-621 (41.5 percent) all-time from 3-point range. His 3-point attempts are third on the KU career list and his 3-point field goal percentage is ninth.
Graham has 528 career assists, which is 10th on the KU career assists list. Additionally, his 178 steals are 10th on the KU career list.
Senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is tied for 59th on the KU career scoring list with 1,004 points. Mykhialiuk’s 203 3-pointers made are seventh on the KU career list. He is sixth in 3-pointers attempted at 495 and his 41.0 all-time 3-point field goal percentage is 12th on the KU career list.
Entering 2017-18 with a 247-48 (83.7 percent) record since 2010, Kansas is the winningest program, by percentage, this decade: 1. KANSAS (247-48, 83.7%); 2. Gonzaga (239-47, 83.6%); 3. Kentucky (249-53, 82.5%); 4. Wichita State (233-53, 81.7); 5. Duke (238-56, 81.0%).
The Jayhawks are pursuing their 14th-conseuctive Big 12 regular-season championship. A 14th league title would break UCLA’s NCAA record mark of 13-consecutive conference championships from 1967-79.
Kansas will travel to Iowa State on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. (CST) on ESPN2. Kansas holds an all-time series lead with ISU, 180-64, which includes an 83-78 win on Jan. 9, in Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas will then host West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. As Kansas celebrates 120 years of basketball in 2017-18, KU will recognize the 10-year anniversary of Kansas’ 2008 NCAA National Championship and retire Cole Aldrich’s jersey at the West Virginia contest.