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March 9, 2010

No. 1 KU ready for madness to begin

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Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas (29-2, 15-1) enters the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship as the No. 1 seed for the seventh time in the 14-year history of the league. KU won its sixth straight, 10th Big 12 and 53rd conference regular-season championship in 2010. Kansas will face the winner of the No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Texas Tech game Thursday, March 11 at 11:30 a.m. at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Buffs and Red Raiders will play Wednesday, March 10, at 11:30 a.m.

Kansas has won 10 conference tournament titles, including three of the last four and six of the 13 Big 12 championships. Since the Big 12's inception in 1997, Kansas is 12-1 in its first games, 11-2 in the quarterfinals, 7-4 in semifinals and 6-1 in championship games.


One Win from 2,000:

Kansas enters the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with 1,999 all-time victories. When KU wins its next game, it will become only the third school in NCAA Division I to amass 2,000 wins. Kentucky has 2,017 wins, while North Carolina earned its 2,000th win last week.


About Kansas:

Kansas is 29-2 on the season and matched its second-best conference record at 15-1. In 2002, KU went 16-0 and in 1997 and 1998 the Jayhawks were 15-1. KU averages 82.2 points per game and gives up 63.6 ppg for a Big 12-leading +18.6 scoring margin. Senior guard Sherron Collins leads the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game and has scored in double figures 25 times this season following his 12-point performance at Missouri in the regular-season finale.

A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Collins is third in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 83.9 percent and he leads KU in assists with 132 and three-pointers with 62, three ahead of freshman Xavier Henry. Henry, who was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the third time this season on Feb. 22, has averaged 18 points in his last five games and is scoring 13.9 points per game on the season.

He averages 4.2 rebounds per game and leads KU with 48 steals. Junior center Cole Aldrich, who was named 2010 Academic All-American of the Year and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, has seven double-doubles in his last 13 games and 13 DDs for the season. He is scoring 11.3 ppg and his 9.7 rebounds per game are third in the conference this season. Aldrich's 110 blocked shots are a KU single-season record.

His 3.5 blocked shots per contest rank second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally. Sophomore forward Marcus Morris stepped up his game in Big 12 play with 14.2 ppg average against conference foes and 12.4 ppg average in all games.

In league games he pulled down 7.3 rebounds per game and is at 6.2 rpg in all games. Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor moved back into the starting lineup against Colorado (Feb. 20) and has started 20 games this season. He is second on the team with 103 assists and he has averaged 12 points per game in his last five contests. Taylor is scoring 7.7 ppg for the season.

Junior guard Brady Morningstar is scoring 4.3 points per game and averaging 3.0 assists per contest. Sophomore forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, is a top reserve who averages 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds on the season. Junior guard Tyrel Reed averages 4.6 points per outing and has 35 three-pointers. He was 5-for-8 from beyond the arc in his last two games.


Kansas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship:

Here are some Kansas notes heading into the conference postseason tournament:

--Kansas has won more Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships than any other school with six. Oklahoma is next with three titles (2001-02-03). KU won the first three events in 1997-98-99, then the 2006-07-08 titles. KU is 6-1 in tourney title games having only lost the 2002 title to Oklahoma.

--Kansas is the only team to have won at least 20 games in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks are 25-7 in the event, while Oklahoma is next at 19-10.

--With an 11-3 (78.6 percent) record, KU head coach Bill Self has the highest winning percentage in Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship history.

--Kansas has been the No. 1 seed seven times (1997, '98, '02, '03, '07, '09, '10)

No. 2 seed four times (2001, '05, '06, '08), No. 3 seed twice (1999, '04), and the No. 5 seed in 2000.

--Kansas has won 12 of its 13 first games in the Big 12 Championship with last year's loss to Baylor being the only blemish. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening round games and 11-2 in quarterfinal contests.

--Kansas has reached the semifinals in 11 of the 13 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000 and 2009 semis.

--Kansas has won three of its six titles as the No. 1 seed - 1997, 1998 and 2007. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2008. The lowest seed to win the event was No. 3 - Kansas in 1999, Oklahoma in 2003 and Oklahoma State in 2005.


KU in Kansas City:

Kansas City has been a second home of sorts for Kansas over the years. KU's first ever game -- a 16-5 loss to Kansas City YMCA on Feb. 3, 1899 -- was played in Kansas City. The Kansas quarterfinal game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship will mark KU's 269th game all-time in Kansas City, and its ninth in the Sprint Center. KU is 6-2 in the Sprint Center.

Earlier this season, Kansas defeated La Salle 90-65 in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout on Dec. 12. In 2008-09, KU went 1-2 in the venue. In 2007-08, Kansas went 4-0 in the venue, including winning the Big 12 Championship en route to its NCAA National Championship. KU played 104 games in Kemper Arena with an 80-24 record. KU is 191-76 in games played in Kansas City.


More Notes on the Jayhawks in Kansas City:

--Kansas went 26-4 in Kemper Arena from 1997 until 2006, when it played its last game in the venue. Included in that run were Big 12 Tournament titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

--Kemper Arena was the host of the 1988 NCAA Final Four when the Jayhawks won the national championship.

--Kansas has played at least one regular-season game in Kansas City in 19 of the last 21 seasons, including every year the Sprint Center has existed.


Team Notables:

--Of Kansas' 10 Big 12 titles, KU has won seven outright (1997-98-2002-03-07-09-10).

--Kansas' 29 wins in 31 games is the second-best 30-game record in school history. KU was 30-1 in 1996-97.

--Five of Kansas' non-conference foes won or tied for their league's regular season title. Those include Oakland (Summit League), California (Pac-10), Belmont (ties for Atlantic Sun), Temple (tied for Atlantic 10) and Cornell (Ivy).

--KU leads the Big 12 in scoring (82.2), scoring margin (+18.6), field goal percentage (48.9), three-point field goal percentage (40.4), scoring defense (63.6), field goal percentage defense (37.6), assists (17.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The Jayhawks rank in the top three in all but four Big 12 statistical categories.

--Ten of Kansas' victories this season have been by 25 or more points with eight of those by 30 points or more.

--KU averages 6.4 blocked shots per game to its opponents' 3.6.

--Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in four of its last five contests and in 16 of 31 games overall this season.

--Kansas has also held 20 of 31 opponents this season to under 40 percent from the field, including eight of 12 Big 12 foes.

--KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 22 of 31 games this season, including 23-8 at Missouri (March 6).


Player Notables:

--Senior SHERRON COLLINS scored 17 points on Senior Night versus Kansas State (March 3) and had 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting at Missouri (March 6). He has averaged 17 points in his last four games and leads KU with a 15.3 ppg average for the season. He has six games of 20 or more points. Collins has shot 50 percent or better in 12 games this season. He is third in the Big 12 with his 83.9 free throw percentage. Collins' 15.3-point scoring average is 11th in the Big 12. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in field goal percentage (10th at 42.3), assists (fifth at 4.3), three-point field goal percentage (11th at 37.6), three-point field goals made (10th at 2.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (10th at 1.8).

--Junior COLE ALDRICH, the 2010 Academic All-American of the Year, had 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting with seven rebounds at Missouri (March 6). He has 35 double-doubles for his career (13 this season). Aldrich averages nearly a double-double (11.3 ppg and 9.7 rpg) this season. Aldrich has pulled down at least nine rebounds in 15 of his last 22 games and double-digit boards in four of his last six outings. Aldrich has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice (Feb. 1 and Jan. 4). He is second in the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally with 3.5 blocked shots per game. Aldrich is third in the Big 12 in rebounding at 9.7 rpg.

--Freshman XAVIER HENRY has averaged 18 points in his last five games after his 19 points against Kansas State (March 3). He averages 13.9 ppg for the season. Henry has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week three times this season (Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Feb. 22) and has led KU in scoring in 11 games in 2009-10. Henry leads Kansas with 48 steals and had a KU freshman-record-tying seven steals against Baylor (Jan. 20). Henry is second on the team with 59 three-point field goals made. He has made multiple three-pointers in 18 contests. He is sixth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 40.7 percent. He ranks 16th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.9 ppg, seventh in steals at 1.5 and 13th in three-pointers made at 1.9.

--Sophomore MARCUS MORRIS posted his sixth double-double of the season, fourth in league play, with 12 points and 10 rebounds at Missouri (March 6). He was 6-for-9 from the field against the Tigers. Morris averaged 14.2 points per game in Big 12 play, 16th in the league. Morris has four 20-point efforts, with three of those in league action. Also in league play, Morris led the Big 12 with his 56.1 percent shooting from the field, while his 7.3 rebounds are tied for ninth. For the season, he is averaging 12.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg (12th in the Big 12). Morris has started 28 of 31 games in 2009-10.

--Sophomore TYSHAWN TAYLOR led Kansas with 13 points at Missouri (March 6). He has averaged 12 points in his last five games. In that span, Taylor is 21-for-39 (53.8 percent) from the field, including 4-for-5 against Kansas State (March 3) with 11 points. He is averaging 7.7 points on the season. Taylor has shot 50 percent or better in 15 games, including 10 times in Big 12 play. He has 11 games with five-plus assists and ranks 12th in the Big 12 in assists at 3.3 per game and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.8.

--Junior BRADY MORNINGSTAR led the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.6 in league games (49 assists, 19 turnovers). He is scoring 4.3 ppg in all games. In addition to his assist-to-turnover ranking, in league play, Morningstar ranks among the conference leaders in assists (tied for 12th at 3.1). A defensive stopper who started all but one game last season, Morningstar missed the first nine games of the season due to breaking team rules. Morningstar is a redshirt junior who is the oldest player in the Big 12 at 24.

--Sophomore MARKIEFF MORRIS has shot 50 percent or better in each of his last six games and nine of his last 10 outings. In his last six games he is 18-for-30 (60 percent) from the field. He had 10 points and nine rebounds against Kansas State (March 3). The 10 points were his second best in Big 12 play behind his 11 against Colorado (Feb. 20). Morris averages 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He has pulled down six-plus rebounds in six of his last eight games and 16 times this season. His 5.3 rpg are third on the KU team. Morris had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds against La Salle (Dec. 12). He is second on the team with 26 blocked shots and is shooting 57.3 percent from the field on the season.

--Junior TYREL REED is 5-for-8 (62.5 percent) from three-point range in his last two games. At Missouri (March 6) he had 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting, all from three-point land. Reed was 2-for-3 from three-point range with six points against Kansas State (March 3). He tied his season high with three steals at Oklahoma State (Feb. 27). Reed has made 35 three-pointers this season and 70 percent of his field goals made have been from beyond the arc. He went 18-for-34 (52.9 percent) from three-point range in Big 12 play and is 44.9 percent from beyond the arc for the season. Reed has made at least one three in 22 games this season and multiple threes in seven contests. Reed is averaging 4.6 points per game for the season.

--Freshman THOMAS ROBINSON had four points and three rebounds in five minutes at Missouri (March 6). His four points at MU matched his conference high also set at Nebraska (Jan. 13) and versus Oklahoma (Feb. 22). Robinson averages 7.6 minutes per game with 2.8 ppg and 2.8 rpg. He is third on the team with 14 blocked shots. Robinson has had two games of double-figure scoring and had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State (Dec. 2). He has pulled down four or more rebounds in eight games.


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