SUNFLOWER SHOWDOWN No. 18/20 Kansas (10-4, 1-0) returns home to host No. 25/rv Kansas State (12-3, 2-0) in the Sunflower Showdown presented by Dillons, Saturday, Jan. 11, at 1 p.m. on ESPN. Kansas is coming off a 90-83 win at Oklahoma in its Big 12 opener on Wednesday. The victory was Kansas' 23rd-straight league-opening win dating back to 1991-92. Kansas State brings a 10-game winning streak to Allen Fieldhouse after the Wildcats won at TCU, 65-47, on Jan. 7.
Kansas has won its last seven Big 12 home openers starting in the 2006-07 season. Under Bill Self, the Jayhawks are 9-1 in conference home openers. The last team to defeat KU in a home opener was Kansas State, 59-55, on Jan. 14, 2006. Beginning in 1984, Larry Brown's first season at KU, the Jayhawks have won 29 of their last 30 conference home openers in Allen Fieldhouse
ABOUT KANSAS Kansas averages 78.6 points per game and has a +9.3 scoring margin. The Jayhawks have outrebounded 12 of 14 opponents, including a 36-22 advantage at Oklahoma in their Big 12 opener (1/8). KU holds a +6.9 rebound margin. Kansas has shot 50 percent or better in four of its last five games and has outshot 12 of its 14 opponents in 2013-14. KU's bench has outscored all but four opponents this season and averages 24.1 points per contest.
Freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads Kansas with a 15.3 scoring average, which also leads the Big 12 freshman class and is 11th overall in the conference. He has four games of 20 points and is 33-of-37 (89.2 percent) from the free throw line in his last six games. Wiggins has made 14 three-pointers and leads KU with 14 steals. His 5.4 rebound average is third on the team. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is next in scoring at 13.8 points per game. After his 22 points at OU, Ellis has five 20-point games this season and is second on the team in rebound average at 6.9, which is 13th in the Big 12. Freshman C Joel Embiid has a team-high 34 blocked shots and his 2.4 blocked shots per game average ranks second in the Big 12. Embiid is second on the team with 13 steals while his 7.2 rebounds per game are a team best and eighth in the league. He has a 65.4 field goal percentage. Embiid averages 10.5 points per game and has two double-doubles in his last three outings. Rounding out the KU starters are freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and junior G Naadir Tharpe (8.3 ppg, 5.1 apg). Selden is coming off a career-high 24 points at Oklahoma, which included five three-pointers made. Tharpe, who scored 17 points at OU, leads Kansas with 66 assists and his 18 three-pointers made are best on the squad, one ahead of Selden's 17.
Freshman G Frank Mason averages 7.5 points per game and is second on the team with 38 assists. Sophomore F Jamari Traylor leads KU with a 68.0 field goal percentage (17-for-25) and is averaging 3.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest. Traylor also leads KU with an 81.8 free throw percentage. Other contributors off the bench include senior F Tarik Black (3.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg), sophomore G Andrew White III (3.4 ppg), freshman G Brannen Greene (2.1 ppg), freshman G Conner Frankamp (2.0 ppg, five points at OU) and redshirt freshman F Landen Lucas (1.5 ppg). Black is two points shy of 1,000 for his career (three seasons at Memphis prior to Kansas).
ABOUT KANSAS STATE Located in Manhattan, Kan., with an enrollment 24,378, Kansas State is 12-3, 2-0 in Big 12. The Wildcats are coached by Bruce Weber who is 39-11 in his second season at KSU and 352-166 in his 16th season overall. Kansas State tied Kansas for the Big 12 regular-season title last year in Weber's first season at the helm and KSU's current 10-game winning streak is the longest in Weber's short tenure in Manhattan. Kansas State averages 67.7 points per game and has a +9.7 scoring margin. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 with a 58.0 scoring defense and in three-point field goal percentage defense at 25.1. K-State forces 13.7 turnovers per game averages 15.0 assists.
Freshman G Marcus Foster leads KSU in scoring at 14.1 points per game. He has made a team-best 33 three-pointers and his 41 free throws made are second-most on the team. Junior F Thomas Gipson leads the Wildcats with 6.5 rebounds per game and a 59.4 field goal percentage. Gipson scores 11.9 points per contest, which is just ahead of senior G Shane Southwell's 10.8 points per game. Southwell leads K-State with 49 assists and 16 blocked shots, while his 17 steals are tied for the team lead. Southwell's 5.0 rebound average is second on the team. Rounding out the KSU starters are freshman F Wesley Iwundu (7.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and senior G Will Spradling (6.9 ppg, 37 assists and 17 steals). Other contributors for K-State include junior F Nino Williams (4.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg), freshman G Nigel Johnson (4.9 ppg, 29 assists, 12 steals), sophomore F D.J. Johnson (3.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg), freshman G Jevon Thomas (3.8 ppg) and senior G Omari Lawrence (3.1 ppg, 12 steals).
THE SERIES Kansas has won 47 of the last 50 meetings with Kansas State dating back to the 1994 season. KU has won 12 of the last 13 match-ups and holds a 186-91 all-time series advantage over K-State, which dates back to 1907. Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, KU is 39-3 against KSU (31-3 in regular-season battles and 8-0 in the Big 12 Championship). Kansas is 43-18 versus KSU in Allen Fieldhouse and has won the last seven meetings in AFH. Kansas head coach Bill Self is 22-3 all-time against Kansas State, including 21-3 while at KU. Bruce Weber is 0-4 against Kansas. Last season Kansas and Kansas State tied for the Big 12 regular-season title with 14-4 conference records, yet the Jayhawks swept the Wildcats in head-to-head competition, including a 70-54 victory in the title game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas has outrebounded 12 of its 14 opponents this season. KU has seven games with a +10 rebound advantage, including four of its last six contests (36-22 at Oklahoma, 44-28 vs. Toledo, 39-29 vs. Georgetown and 40-30 at Florida).
KU has held all but one opponent (Duke, 51.7) under 50 percent shooting this season, while the Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in nine games, including four of their last five contests and five of the last seven outings.
KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 10 of 14 games this season. KU's reserves average 24.1 points per game, while its opponents are averaging 16.9 ppg.
Ellis has led the Jayhawks in rebounding in eight games, while freshman C Joel Embiid has five times.
Embiid leads KU with three double-doubles, which is tied for seventh in the Big 12, while Ellis has two and Wiggins one.
Embiid is 19-for-28 (67.9 percent) from the field in his last five games with 13.4 ppg and 8.4 rpg averages in that span. In addition, Embiid has 25 blocked shots in his last eight games for a 3.1 average in that period.
Junior G Naadir Tharpe has topped the team in assists 10 times, including each of the last six games (which includes ties).
Tharpe has four games of 10 or more points this season, including three of his last four outings. In that span he is averaging 13.0 points and has 20 assists and seven turnovers.
Wiggins has at least one blocked shot in each of his last nine games and his two at Oklahoma (1/8) marked his third multi-block game this season. Wiggins is 87.0 percent (40-for-46) from the free throw line in his last seven contests.
Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. has shot 50 percent or better in five of his last eight games and is 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) from three-point range in his last five games.
Sophomore F Jamari Traylor has 34 rebounds in his last seven games, including a career-high nine at Florida (12/10) and seven versus Georgetown (12/21). Traylor is 11-for-14 (78.6 percent) from the field in his last seven games.
KANSAS VS. RANKED FOES UNDER BILL SELF No. 25 Kansas State will be the fourth ranked team Kansas will have faced in 2013-14. The Jayhawks are 1-2 against ranked foes this season having defeated then-No. 4 Duke, 94-83, in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 12 at the United Center in Chicago, lost at then-No. 19 Florida, 67-61 on Dec. 10 and lost to No. 21 San Diego State, 61-57 on Jan. 5. Kansas has played 77 games against Associated Press-ranked opponents in the 10-plus seasons under head coach Bill Self. Last year, Kansas went 5-2 against ranked foes. Under Self, KU is 49-28 (63.6 percent) against ranked competition. That percentage has an upward trend since the 2007-08 season as the Jayhawks are 39-18 (68.4 percent) versus ranked foes.
IN THE POLLS Kansas is ranked No. 18 by the Associated Press and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches' poll released Jan. 6. In the Bill Self era, this is the 160th week Kansas has been ranked in the AP top 25, which includes 112 times in the top 10. KU has been ranked in each of the last 94 polls dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the coaches' poll, Kansas has been ranked 187 times, including 137 in the top 10 in the Self era. KU has been listed in each of the last 98 coaches' polls.
THE SCHEDULE The Big 12 ended non-conference play with the highest winning percentage of any other league at 79.7 percent (102-26). The combined record of Kansas' next five opponents is 51-7 (87.9 percent): vs. Kansas State (12-3), at Iowa State (14-0), vs. Oklahoma State (13-2) and vs. Baylor (12-2).
Many experts have said Kansas has the toughest schedule in college basketball. KU's 2013-14 men's basketball schedule includes 13 opponents which advanced to the 2013 postseason (12 NCAA, one NIT), including six foes that either won their regular-season or conference tournament titles last year. The 12 NCAA participants on the KU schedule for 2013-14 include: Colorado (L, 72-75), Duke (W, 94-83), Georgetown (W, 86-64), Florida (L, 61-67), Iona (W, 86-66), Iowa State, Kansas State, New Mexico (W, 80-63), Oklahoma (W, 90-83), Oklahoma State, San Diego State (L, 57-61) and Villanova (L, 59-63). Baylor won the 2013 NIT.
CONFERENCE SUCCESS Kansas has won 13 of the 17 Big 12 regular-season titles (includes ties), including the last nine, which ranks tied for fifth on the NCAA all-time consecutive list. Kansas' 56 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. Kentucky is second with 51 and Penn third at 37. Kansas' nine-straight league titles is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I and the longest streak in school history. Including 2013, Belmont (Atlantic Sun/Ohio Valley East) and Murray State (Ohio Valley West) are next at four on the active league title list.
UP NEXT Kansas will have a short turnaround after the K-State contest as it will play its first of four ESPN Big Monday games at No. 9/7 Iowa State on Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. Kansas and No. 11/12 Oklahoma State were co-preseason Big 12 favorites and the Cowboys will come to Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m. on CBS. Two days later, Kansas will host No. 7/9 Baylor on ESPN Big Monday, Jan. 20, at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.
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