Kansas vs. Oklahoma State
No. 1 Kansas (27-1, 13-0) will play at Oklahoma State (19-8, 7-6) on Saturday in a game that has the potential to be a bit of a tricky test. Kansas is coming off a historic night with its 81-68 victory against Oklahoma on ESPN Big Monday. With the victory, KU's 13th straight, Kansas claimed at least a share of its sixth-consecutive, 10th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 53rd overall conference regular-season title. Additionally, KU set the school record for most victories in a four-year span, currently at 124. KU senior Sherron Collins and redshirt junior Brady Morningstar have been on the team all four of those seasons.
With all those accomplishments in the bag, an impending visit from top ten ranked Kansas State to go along with a road trip to rival Missouri, and Oklahoma State could be the forgotten opponent. If the Jayhawks get caught looking ahead, the Cowboys are more than capable of taking down Kansas and handing them their first conference loss of the season. Stay focused and Kansas could set themselves up for a memorable final week of the season and a run at 16-0 for the second time in league history.
|Rank and Records||KU||OSU|
|Strength of Schedule||#29||#37|
|RPI Top 50||9-1||4-6|
Kansas is the winningest team in NCAA Division I over the last two seasons with a 54-9 record. With the victory against Oklahoma, the Jayhawks extended the longest home court winning streak in the nation to 58 games. Kansas' 27-1 record is its best record since the 1996-97 team was 27-1 and eventually went 34-2. Its 13-0 Big 12 record is second best in league history behind KU's 16-0 mark in 2002. KU averages 82.6 points per game and gives up 63 ppg for a Big 12-leading +19.6 scoring margin. In Big 12 play, Kansas is scoring 79.8 points per game and holds a +13 scoring margin.
Senior guard Sherron Collins leads the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game and has scored in double figures 22 times this season following his 17 points against Oklahoma. Collins is third in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 85.3 percent and he leads KU in assists with 122 and three-pointers with 55, one 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 Monday, has averaged 23.5 points in his last two games (23 vs. OU and 24 vs. Colorado on Feb. 20) and is scoring 13.9 points per game on the season. He averages 4.2 rebounds per game and leads KU with 44 steals.
Junior center Cole Aldrich, who was named Academic All-America of the Year Feb. 22, has seven double-doubles in his last 10 games and 13 DDs for the season. He is one of three Big 12 players to average a double-double with 11.5 ppg and 10.2 rpg this season. Aldrich's 105 blocked shots are a KU single-season record. His 3.8 blocked shots per contest rank second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally.
Sophomore forward Marcus Morris has stepped up his game in Big 12 play and leads KU in scoring with 15.2 points per game and is pulling down 7.8 rebounds in league games. In all games, Morris averages 12.7 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor moved back into the starting lineup against Colorado (Feb. 20) and has started 17 games this season. He is second on the team with 90 assists and he has averaged 14 points in his last two games. Taylor is scoring 7.4 ppg for the season.
Oklahoma State had its three-game winning streak snapped at No. 21 Texas Wednesday 69-59 as it fell to the Longhorns in Austin. The Cowboys are 13-1 at home this season, average 74.6 points per game and give up 67.4 for a +7.2 scoring margin. OSU averages 8.1 three-pointers made per game, including a league-leading 9.0 in Big 12 play.
Junior guard James Anderson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 22.5 points per game. He also leads OSU with 66 assists, 35 steals and is tied for the team high with 17 blocked shots.
Senior guard Obi Muonelo is next in scoring at 13.3 points per game and leads the team with 65 threepointers, which are six ahead of Anderson and seven in front of sophomore guard Keiton Page's 58. Page scores 10.6 points per contest and is second on the team with 64 assists and 26 steals.
Junior forward Marshall Moses is a starter who leads OSU with 8.8 rebounds per outing to complement his 9.3 points per game. Junior forward Matt Pilgrim was suspended for the Texas game on Wednesday for team issues. Pilgrim averages 7.7 points and is second on the team with a 6.8 rebound average. He is tied with Anderson in blocked shots with 17. Freshman forward Roger Franklin comes off the bench to score 3.0 points per game, while freshman guard Fred Gulley (1.6 ppg) averages 19 minutes per contest.
Meet the Opposing Coach
Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford is in his second season at OSU with a 42-20 record. Overall, Ford is 232-166 in his 13th season. Last year, Ford led the Cowboys to a 23-12 record and a return to the NCAA Tournament. The surge included winning nine of the Cowboys' final 12 games. Ford came to Oklahoma State from Massachusetts where he guided the Minutemen to back-to-back 20 win seasons in 2007 (24-9) and 2008 (25-11) before heading to Stillwater. He was 62-35 in three seasons at UMass and also had head coaching stints at Eastern Kentucky from 2001-05, and Campbellsville from 1998-2000. Ford began his playing career at Missouri in 1989-90 before transferring to Kentucky from 1991-94.
This series dates back to 1926 and Kansas leads Oklahoma State 102-52, including a 33-30 lead in games played in Stillwater (31-30 in Gallagher-Iba Arena). Kansas has won four of the last five and eight of the last 11 games in the series with OSU dating back to 2001. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 13-5 advantage - 10-3 in the regular season and 3-2 in Big 12 Championship action. The five KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 tourney makes OSU the second-most team Kansas has faced in the event - 6-0 vs. Kansas State. The winner of the last two KU-OSU meetings in the Big 12 Championship has gone on to win the event - OSU 78-75 in 2005 in Kansas City and KU 78-75 in Dallas in 2006. Expect a close battle as four of the eight KU-OSU meetings under KU coach Bill Self have been decided by three points or less. During its 37-3 NCAA National Championship run in 2008, the OSU loss was the only KU loss that was not later avenged on the season, yet Kansas did not have the opportunity. On Feb. 12, 2008, KU lost at Texas 72-69 and later defeated the Longhorns 84-74 in the finals of the Big 12 Championship on March 16. On Jan. 30, 2008, Kansas lost at Kansas State, 84-75, and the Jayhawks later defeated the Wildcats 88-74 in Allen Fieldhouse on March 1.
Kansas junior Cole Aldrich was named the ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Basketball Academic All- American of the Year, it was announced Feb. 22. Aldrich becomes the second Jayhawk basketball player to earn the honor -Jacque Vaughn won the award in 1997. Aldrich also becomes KU's 14th basketball firstteam Academic All-America selection and the first since Ryan Robertson in 1999. Joining Aldrich on the Academic All-America First Team were Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame, Patrick Foley of Columbia, Matt Howard of Butler and Yves Mekongo of La Salle.