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Kansas vs. Umass Preview

Kansas vs. Massachusetts

Kansas returns to the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., for the third time this season when it plays host to Massachusetts in the M&I Bank Kansas City Shootout, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. on ESPN. Kansas has won three straight and is 7-1 on the season. Massachusetts is 2-6 after its 73-59 win against Holy Cross Wednesday.

About Kansas

Kansas is 7-1 after defeating Jackson State 86-62 last Saturday. Kansas has won its last 30 home games dating back to the last four contests in Allen Fieldhouse of the 2006-07 season. Included was last season’s win against Ohio in the Sprint Center and this contest against Massachusetts is also a home game for KU. Kansas is scoring 83.5 points per game and giving up 62.2 for a Big 12-leading +21.3 scoring margin. The Jayhawks force 16.8 turnovers per game. KU leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 73.8 percent. KU is outrebounding foes by a +9.9 rebound margin and outshooting opponents 48.2 percent to 36 percent. KU's lone loss on the season was 89-81 in overtime to Syracuse in the championship game of the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 17.8 points per game. Collins has led the team in scoring in six of eight games this season and has a team-high 17 three-point field goals and 39 assists.  Sophomore center Cole Aldrich is one of two players in the Big 12 who average a double-double with 14.4 points and 10.1 rebounds. The other is Oklahoma's Blake Griffin. Aldrich has recorded a double-double in four of his last five games. Aldrich has 22 of KU's 45 blocked shots for a Big 12-leading 2.8 per game. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor became the fourth Jayhawk to score 20-plus points this season with his career-high 23 points against New Mexico State on Dec. 3. He is averaging 11.8 points on the season and is second on the team with 30 assists. Freshman forward Marcus Morris (8.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is a starter who has two double-doubles in 2008-09. Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar rounds out the KU starters. He is scoring 7.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed (7.3 ppg) and freshman forward Markieff Morris (5.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg) are the first KU subs. Freshman forward Quintrell Thomas (3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and freshman guard Travis Releford (4.4 ppg) are also in KU’s rotation.

About Massachusetts

After winning its season opener, Massachusetts lost six straight and is 2-6 on the season after its 73-59 win against Holy Cross Wednesday. Four of the six losses have been by seven points or less, including an 85-80 overtime loss to Boston College on Dec. 6. Massachusetts is scoring 71.5 points per game and giving up 73.9. The Minutemen are outrebounding opponents 36.9 to 36.5 and have 21 more blocked shots and 19 more three pointers than their foes. Junior guard Ricky Harris leads UMass with 21.3 points per game. He has made a team-high 29 three pointers. Senior guard Chris Lowe is scoring at 12.6 ppg and he leads the team with 49 assists. Senior forward Tony Gaffney is dominating the boards with a 12.9 rebound average to go along with his 13.3 points per game. He has 43 of UMass’ 55 blocked shots this season. Sophomore guard Anthony Gurley (12.4 ppg, 15 three-pointers) and freshman forward/center Tyrell Lynch (3.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg) round out the Massachusetts starters. Freshman guard David Gibbs (2.4 ppg) and sophomore guard Matt Glass (2.1 ppg) are top reserves for the Minutemen.

After all the football talk this week, it's time for a little break and a basketball game.  A lot of notes this week and some big games on the way.  I should be around for the open game thread if anyone is interested in talking hoops or we can always talk everything else Kansas as I expect we should handle business with this one.

Roster Info, Notes and Quotes after the Jump...


The Series


Kansas leads the overall series with Massachusetts 3-1, with UMass winning the last meeting 64-60 on Jan. 16, 1999, in Amherst, Mass. Then-No. 6 KU won the first meeting 86-75 against then-No. 15 Massachusetts in the championship of the 1993 Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden. The following season, No. 7 KU defeated No. 1 UMass 81-75 on Dec. 3, 1994, in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif. Three seasons later, Kansas edged Massachusetts 73-71, in Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 10, 1997.


In the Polls

Kansas is ranked No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 released Dec. 8. KU has been ranked in each of the last 52 coaches’ polls dating back to the 2005-06 season and 47 of the last 48 AP polls.


Tyshawn Taylor Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week

Kansas freshman Tyshawn Taylor was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week in a voting by a panel of media covering the conference, the league Dec. 8. Iowa State’s Craig Brackins and Texas’ A.J. Abrams shared Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week accolades. Taylor helped Kansas to a 3-0 record last week, as the Jayhawks posted wins over Kent State (87-60), New Mexico State (100-79) and Jackson State (88-62). The Jersey City, N.J., guard averaged 15 points and 5.3 assists, shooting 44.7 percent from the field. The high scoring total of the week came versus NMSU as Taylor finished

with a career-best 23 points, including 14 in the first half. He had his first career double-double against Jackson State with 10 points and 11 assists. It was just the third points-assists double-double by a Big 12 player this season. Taylor is the Jayhawks’ third-leading scorer with 11.8 points per game. He is second on the squad with 30 assists and tied for second with 12 steals. This is the first time this season and 13th time in the history of the Big 12 that a Jayhawk has been named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week. The last KU player to earn the honor was Brandon Rush on Jan. 9, 2006. Rush

won the honor three times in 2005-06, while Mario Chalmers and Julian Wright each won it once during that season.


Youth Movement

The 2008-09 Kansas basketball team is young. How young? Ten of its top 11 scorers are freshmen or sophomores. Junior Sherron Collins is KU’s leading scorer at 17.8 ppg. Below is a breakdown of KU’s scoring for 2008-09. Note: KU’s seniors Brennan Bechard and Matt Kleinmann are walk-ons and have combined for four points.


Kansas Scoring for 2008-09

Freshmen – 40 percent

Sophomores – 37 percent

Juniors – 23 percent

Seniors – 1 percent


2008-09 Kansas Roster (*probable starters)

No. Pos. Name Cl.-Exp. Ht. Wt. Hometown (Previous School)

2 G Conner Teahan So.-1L 6-5 215 Leawood, Kan. (Rockhurst HS)

*4 G Sherron Collins Jr.-2L 5-11 200 Chicago, Ill. (Crane HS)

10 G Brennan Bechard Sr-2L (TR) 6-0 185 Lawrence, Kan. (Lawrence HS/Barton Co. [Kan.] CC)

11 F Quintrell Thomas Fr.-HS 6-7 240 Newark, N.J. (Saint Patrick HS)

*12 G Brady Morningstar So.-1L(RS) 6-3 180 Lawrence, Kan. (Free State HS/New Hampton [N.H.] Prep)

14 G Tyrel Reed So.-1L 6-3 185 Burlington, Kan. (Burlington HS)

*15 G Tyshawn Taylor Fr.-HS 6-3 180 Hoboken, N.J. (St. Anthony HS)

21 F Markieff Morris Fr.-HS 6-9 232 Philadelphia, Pa. (Prep Charter HS/APEX Academy [N.J.])

*22 F Marcus Morris Fr.-HS 6-8 225 Philadelphia, Pa. (Prep Charter HS/APEX Academy [N.J.])

23 G Mario Little Jr.-TR 6-5 210 Chicago, Ill. (Washington HS/Chipola [Fla.] CC)

24 G Travis Releford Fr.-HS 6-5 200 Kansas City, Mo. (Bishop Miege HS)

32 G Tyrone Appleton Jr.-TR 6-2 203 Gary, Ind. (Harmony Prep/Midland [Texas] College)

40 G Jordan Juenemann Fr.-HS 6-4 195 Hays, Kan. (Hays HS)

41 G Chase Buford So.-1L 6-3 210 San Antonio, Texas (Alamo Heights HS)

*45 C Cole Aldrich So.-1L 6-11 245 Bloomington, Minn. (Jefferson HS)

54 C Matt Kleinmann Sr-3L (RS) 6-10 250 Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley West HS)

Head Coach: Bill Self (Oklahoma State, 1985)

Assistant Coaches: Joe Dooley (George Washington, 1988); Kurtis Townsend (Western Kentucky, 1982); Danny

Manning (Kansas, 1991)

Upcoming Games


20 TEMPLE (ESPN2) ............ 1:30 p.m.

23 at Arizona (FSN) ................ 9:30 p.m.

30 ALBANY (ESPNU) ................ 8 p.m.


3 TENNESSEE (ESPN) ............ 1 p.m.

6 SIENA (JTV) .......................... 7 p.m.

10 at Michigan State (CBS) ....... 12 p.m.