Kansas returns to the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., when it plays host to La Salle in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. on ESPN. The Jayhawks are 8-0 on the season, while the Explorers have won three straight and are 6-2 in 2009-10.
|Rank and Records||LAS||KU|
|Strength of Schedule||#214||#234|
|RPI Top 50||0-1||0-0|
Kansas extended the nation's longest home court winning streak to 47 games with its 99-64 win against Radford on Dec. 9. The Jayhawks are looking to snap a two-game losing streak at the Sprint Center, a venue which they are 5-2 in, including a 4-0 mark during their 2008 NCAA National Championship season. Kansas averages 90.4 points per game, is giving up 56.8 points and ranks in the top five nationally with a +33.6 scoring margin. KU is shooting 51.1 percent from the field, while its opponents are shooting 34.1 percent. Only one KU opponent, Radford, has shot above 40 percent against the Jayhawks this season.
Located in Philadelphia, Pa., La Salle is 6-2 on the season and has won five of its last six games after its 69-60 win at Rider on Dec. 9. La Salle averages 72.8 points per game and gives up 69.6. La Salle dominates the rebounds with a +10.4 margin through eight games, yet no Explorer averages more than 7.1 boards per game.
Senior guard Rodney Green leads La Salle with an 18 point scoring average. He has made a team-high 14 three pointers, just ahead of senior forward Kammini Barrett who has 12 threes. Barrett is second in scoring at 13.3 points per game.
Freshman center Aaric Murray leads La Salle with 7.1 rebounds per game to complement his 11.5 scoring average. Murray has a team-high 20 blocked shots on the season. Senior forward Yves Mekongo is next in scoring at 10.1 ppg, while junior forward Terrell Williams (6.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg) rounds out the starters. He is second on the team in rebounds.
Senior guard Ruben Guillandeaux comes off the bench to score 9.5 points per game.
Meet an Opposing Coach
Dr. John Giannini is in his sixth season as head coach at La Salle with a 77-81 record. Overall, Giannini is 374-230 in his 21st season. In 2008-09, Giannini led the Explorers to 18 wins, including a 3-1 record in the Philadelphia Big 5, which was second to only Final Four participant Villanova. Giannini is one of three NCAA Division I head men's basketball coaches with doctorates, joining Lehigh's Brett Reed and Valparasio's Homer Drew. He earned his Ph.D. in kinesiology from Illinois in 1992.
--Both teams feature identical twins with Kansas sophomores Markieff and Marcus Morris and La Salle's
juniors Terrell and Jerrell Williams.
--The Morris twins played high school basketball with La Salle's Parrish Grant and Rodney Green. With Green as a teammate, they led Prep Charter to the 2006 Pennsylvania Class AA State Championship. Additionally, the KU twins played AAU basketball with La Salle's Devon White and Earl Pettis.
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-La Salle game will mark KU's 268th game all-time in Kansas City, and its eighth in the Sprint Center. KU is 5-2 in the Sprint Center. Last season, KU went 1-2 in the Sprint Center defeating Washington and losing to Syracuse in the CBE Classic, and then falling to UMass in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout. 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 190-76 in games played 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.(I was at all three!!)
--Kemper Arena was the host of the 1988 NCAA Final Four when the Jayhawks won the national championship.
--When KU faces La Salle on Dec. 12, 2009, at the Sprint Center for the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout, Kansas will have played at least one regular-season game in Kansas City in 19 of the last 21 seasons.
|#12||Y. Mekongo Mbal||8||8||35.125||10.125||38.6||66.0||22.2||5.5||1.5||4.0||1.125||2.875||0.375||0.75||2.0|