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March 4, 2011

KU ends regular season at MU

Border Showdown:

No. 2/2 Kansas (28-2, 13-2) concludes regular-season play at Border Showdown foe Missouri (22-8, 8-7) Saturday, at 11 a.m. on CBS. KU won its 28th-straight home season finale with a 64-51 victory against No. 24/22 Texas A&M Wednesday. Kansas takes a one-game lead over Texas into the final weekend of Big 12 regular-season competition. No. 22/24 Missouri looks to end a two-game losing streak Saturday. The Tigers lost at Nebraska 69-58 on Tuesday. Missouri has the nation's eighth longest home court winning streak at 17 games.

About Kansas:

No. 2/2 Kansas is 28-2 on the season and 13-2 in Big 12 play. KU claimed at least a share of its seventh-straight, 11th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 54th conference regular-season title with a 64-51 win against Texas A&M Wednesday. Kansas is guaranteed either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed and first-round bye for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship March 9-12 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks average 83.1 points per game and give up 64.5 for a +18.6 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.3 rebound margin. Kansas leads the nation in field goal percentage at 52.1 percent. KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.1), scoring margin (+18.6), three-point field goal percentage (39.5), rebound margin (+7.3), assists (18.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

Junior forward Marcus Morris has averaged 18.6 points in Big 12 play and leads Kansas in all games with a 17.1 scoring average. Marcus' 6.9 rebounds per game are second-best on KU's team. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season and a Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy mid-season candidate, Marcus leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 60.3 percent, just ahead of twin brother Markieff Morris, who is shooting 59.7 percent. Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.3 boards per game and in double-doubles with 11. Markieff is averaging 13.6 points per game. He leads KU with 36 blocked shots.

Senior guard Tyrel Reed is averaging 10.5 points per game in conference play and 9.9 points for the season. He leads KU with 59 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.9 mark in all games and 6.0 in conference games. He is scoring 8.3 points in Big 12 play and 6.6 for the season. After missing three games with an ankle injury, freshman guard Josh Selby has played the last five games. Selby averages 10.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 three-pointers per game.

Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson had surgery for a meniscus tear in his right knee on Feb. 11 and was expected to be out approximately two weeks but returned 10 days following surgery. Robinson is third on the team with a 6.3 rebound average to complement his 8.2 scoring average. Other KU contributors include sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (3.9 ppg, three starts) senior guard Mario Little (6.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (4.5 ppg) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.6 ppg, 19 blocked shots).

Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules on Feb. 21 and returned for the Texas A&M game (March 2). He averages 8.8 points per game and ranks third in the Big 12 with 4.6 assists per contest. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Taylor has 33 steals this season.

About Missouri:

Located in Columbia, Mo., with an enrollment of 30,200, Missouri (22-8, 8-7 Big 12) is looking to end a two-game losing streak after its 69-58 loss at Nebraska Tuesday. MU is ranked No. 22 by the Associated Press and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls released Feb. 28. Missouri leads the Big 12 in turnover margin (+5.2), blocked shots (5.2) and steals (9.6). The Tigers are 17-0 in Mizzou Arena this season.

MU has a +11.4 scoring margin. Junior guard Marcus Denmon leads Missouri in scoring at 16.8 points per game. He has made a team-high 72 three-point field goals and his 46.5 percent from three-point range is second in the Big 12. Denmon also leads the team with 53 steals, two ahead of sophomore guard Michael Dixon's 51. Dixon scores 10.3 points per game. Junior forward Laurence Bowers is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per game and is second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per game. His 2.0 blocked shots per game are second in the conference.

Junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe averages 10.9 points per game and he leads Missouri with 6.4 rebounds per game and a 58.6 field goal percentage. Junior guard Kim English, who grew up with Kansas freshman Josh Selby in Baltimore, is scoring 10.3 points per game. English is second on the team with 50 three-pointers and has 39 steals.

Other key contributors for MU are senior forward Justin Safford (6.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 11 starts), freshman guard Phil Pressey (6.5 ppg, 106 assists, 11 starts), junior guard Matt Pressey (6.3 ppg, nine starts), freshman guard Ricky Kreklow (2.3 ppg) and junior center Steve Moore (2.0 ppg).

The Kansas-Missouri Series:

Kansas leads the all-time series with Missouri, 170-94, including a 64-53 record in games played in Columbia, Mo. The series is tied at 3-3 in Mizzou Arena matchups. Overall, Kansas has won four straight, nine of the last 10 and 13 of the last 16 meetings with Missouri. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 23-9 series advantage against Missouri - 21-8 in regular-season play and 2-1 in the conference championship. Saturday's game will mark the 42nd KU-MU game with one or both of the teams ranked.

The Jayhawks lost the first-ever meeting with Missouri, 34-31, on March 11, 1907, in Lawrence. Earlier this season, Marcus Morris scored 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting to lead Kansas to a 103-86 win in Allen Fieldhouse on ESPN Big Monday. KU's Mario Little had a career-high 17 points, while Markieff Morris scored 16 points and Tyshawn Taylor had 13 points in the victory. Laurence Bowers scored 19 points and Phil Pressey added 17 points to lead Missouri.

Border Showdown:

Saturday's game marks the 14th Kansas-Missouri meeting in all sports of the 2010-11 academic year in the annual Border Showdown sponsored by M&I Bank. The winner of the KU-MU head-to-head competition is awarded points. Currently, Missouri holds a 13.0-7.5 advantage against Kansas. Though the state rivalry dates back to the pre-Civil War era, the athletics rivalry started in 1891 with football and 1907 in men's basketball. The Border Showdown trophy has been presented eight times with MU winning six times - 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 - and KU twice in 2004 and 2006.

Team Notables:

--Kansas leads the nation in won-loss percentage (93.3), scoring margin (+18.6), field goal percentage (52.1) and assists (18.3). KU also leads the Big 12 in scoring (83.1), three-point field goal percentage (39.5), rebound margin (+7.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

--Kansas has held 11 opponents to 60 points or less this season.

--Kansas has outrebounded 24 of 30 opponents this season, including eight of the last 10.

--KU has outshot all but three teams this season (USC on Dec. 18, Texas on Jan. 22 and at Kansas State Feb. 14).

--The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 21 games this season. KU has shot 50 percent or better in nine of the last 11 games and 10 of its last 13.

--Kansas' bench averages 26.7 points compared to its opponents' 16.6 ppg. KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 23 of 30 games this season.

--Kansas is 27-1 when leading at the half (1-1 when trailing) this season and 28-0 when leading with five minutes remaining (0-2 when trailing).

--KU has used eight different starting lineups this season.

--Kansas has scored 50 or more points in the first half five times this season.

--Under Bill Self, Kansas has nine streaks of 10 or more victories, including the 18-0 start of 2010-11.

--Yahoo! Sports came out with its 2011 All-Big 12 team on March 3 and Marcus Morris was named the site's Big 12 Player of the Year. Joining Marcus on the first team was his twin brother Markieff. Additionally, Bill Self was the site's Big 12 Coach of the Year and Brady Morningstar the most underrated player.

--KU is 3-1 against ranked foes this season with a win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, a loss against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22), a win against No. 19/20 Missouri (Feb. 7) and a win against No. 24/22 Texas A&M (March 2).

--Kansas' 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational (Nov. 26) was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse under Self.

Individual Notables:

--Junior MARCUS MORRIS is averaging 21 points in his last three games. In that span he is shooting 63.6 percent (21-of-33). Marcus leads Kansas in scoring at 17.3 points, which ranks sixth in the Big 12, while his 18.6 points per game in Big 12 play are third in the league. Marcus leads the conference in shooting percentage at 60.3 percent, which is barely ahead of his twin brother Markieff's 59.7 percent. Marcus has nine games with 20-plus points this season. He has led Kansas in scoring 15 times in 2010-11. His 6.9 rebounds per game are 11th in the Big 12 and he has five double-doubles this season. He has led KU in every statistical category at least once this season. Marcus has been named Big 12 Player of the Week three times (Nov. 29, Jan. 17 and Feb. 14), was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6, a Naismith Mid-Season candidate Feb. 11 and an Oscar Robertson Award finalist Feb. 28.

--Junior MARKIEFF MORRIS has averaged 18.3 points in his last four games, including a career-high 26 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds against Colorado Feb. 19. Markieff is shooting 67.0 percent (59-for-88) in his last 10 games, including 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) from three-point range. He leads the Big 12 with 11 double-doubles this season and has five in conference play. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.3 rpg and is second in field goal percentage at 59.7. He has 13 games with double-figure rebounds. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff is 14th in the Big 12 in scoring at 13.6 ppg. He has been the leading rebounder for KU in 16 of 30 games this season.

--Senior TYREL REED has scored in double figures in four of his last five games, including 12 points against Texas A&M March 2. He was named Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team on Feb. 22. He is also a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. He leads Kansas with 59 threes made this season and has made multiple threes in 19 games. In conference play, Reed is KU's third-leading scorer with 10.5 points per game. He is scoring 9.9 points for the season. Reed is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed has an 81.7 free throw percentage on the season. Ranked 10th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage (39.9) and 11th in three-pointers made per game (2.0), Reed is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine's physical therapy school.

--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.9 for all games and an incredible 6.0 in conference games. In his last eight contests, all starts, Morningstar has 28 assists and four turnovers. He has scored nine points in each of his last two games, averages 6.6 for the season and 8.3 points in Big 12 play. Morningstar, who graduated in May 2010, leads KU with 47 steals. A 2011 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Morningstar is eighth in the Big 12 in steals per game at 1.6. Morningstar averages 3.1 assists per game, which has him 11th in the Big 12.

--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON had surgery on Feb. 11 for a meniscus tear in his right knee and was expected to be out approximately two weeks but returned 10 days later, missing three games. Since his return, Robinson has averaged just over 10 minutes per game. Robinson averages 8.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and is shooting 60.9 percent from the field overall in 2010-11. His 6.3 rebounds rank 15th in the Big 12. A V Foundation Comeback Award finalist, Robinson missed the Colorado contest on Jan. 25 tending to the funeral of his mother, Lisa, in Washington, D.C.

--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON made his third start of the season, fifth of his career, at Oklahoma and scored five points in 16 minutes. Against Oklahoma State Feb. 21, Johnson scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-for-4 from three-point range. Johnson averages 14.0 minutes per game with a 3.9 scoring average. He has scored in double figures four times this season. Johnson has a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio for the season.

--Senior MARIO LITTLE pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) and scored seven points. He scored a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) shooting, including 3-for-3 from three-point range, against Missouri (Feb. 7). Little averages 15.5 minutes, 6.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and is shooting 49.5 percent from the field on the season.

--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 21 for violating team rules, missed two games and returned to the lineup against Texas A&M (March 2). He scored nine points against the Aggies with three rebounds and three assists. He has 11 games in double-figure scoring this season, including 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range against Colorado Feb. 19. Taylor averages 8.8 points overall per game. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is third in the Big 12 in assists per game at 4.6. He has led KU in assists in 16 of 28 games played this season. Taylor is eighth in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7.

--Freshman JOSH SELBY has played each of the last five games after missing the previous three games due to a stress reaction in his right ankle. He scored seven points against Oklahoma State (Feb. 21) for his most points since his return. Selby has scored in double figures in nine of 18 games played this season. Selby averages 10.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. He has scored 16 or more points in five games and is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).

--Sophomore TRAVIS RELEFORD scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-for-2 from three-point range, against Missouri (Feb. 7). It was the most points scored in Big 12 play for Releford this season. Releford missed five contests due to an ankle sprain on his right foot suffered at Michigan (Jan. 9). Releford is shooting 52.0 percent from the field, is averaging 4.5 points this season and has scored in double figures five times. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford's windmill dunk against UMKC (Jan. 5) was No. 1 on ESPN's Top 10 List on Jan. 6 and is a national dunk of the year entrant by Intersport to be voted on in March.

--Sophomore JEFF WITHEY is a combined 7-for-8 from the field in his last five games played. Withey tied his season high with eight points against Iowa State Feb. 12. Withey averages 6.6 minutes, 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots per game in 2010-11.

Conference Success:

Kansas has won 11 of the 15 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last seven. Kansas' 54 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kansas' seven-straight league titles is now a school record, surpassing the six straight set from 1922-27.

Conference Regular-Season Championships (includes divisional crowns):

1. KANSAS - 54 (MVIAA, Big Eight, Big 12); 2. Kentucky - 50 (Southern, SEC); 3. Penn - 37 (Ivy); 4. North Carolina - 34 (Southern, ACC); 5. Utah - 32 (Rocky Mountain, Mountain States, WAC, MWC); 6. UCLA - 30 (Pac-10); 7. Princeton - 28 (Ivy); Connecticut - 28 (Yankee, Big East); Western Kentucky - 28 (OVC, Sun Belt); 10. Arkansas - 26 (Southwest, SEC); 11. Texas - 25 (Southwest, Big 12)

Kansas Conference Regular-Season Titles (54) (*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 (11) - 1997-98-2002-03-05* -06*-07-08*-09-10-11 (still may tie for 2011 title)

Up Next
Kansas is one of the top four seeds of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and will play its first game on Thursday, March 10. NCAA Selection Sunday will be March 13.


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