News, notes and quotes on No. 5 Kansas' battle with No. 1 Kentucky in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse at approximately 8:30 p.m. (30 minutes after the 6 p.m. opening game between Duke and Michigan State) on ESPN.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Kansas, 21-6. KU, though, has won three of the last five meetings dating back to 2005. The series dates back to 1950, a 68-39 UK win in Lexington. Kansas' single-game record came against Kentucky in a 150-95 win over Rick Pitino's Wildcats on Dec. 9, 1989 in Lawrence.
THIS & THAT
KU and UK have combined for 30 Final Fours with Kentucky at 16 and Kansas at 14...Kansas leads the NCAA in conference men’s basketball titles with 57; UK is second with 51...This will be the fourth meeting between Bill Self and John Calipari. Self’s biggest win over Calipari came when the Jayhawks won the 2008 NCAA title over Calipari’s Memphis squad, 75-68, in overtime, in San Antonio.
KU sophomore guard Wayne Selden Jr. was asked by a reporter about the best Kentucky player he’s ever played against.
“I played against all those guys (in) AAU growing up,” Selden said. “I played against Tyler Ulis (freshman guard) back when we were young. He beat us at the buzzer in Boo Williams. Those are all pretty good guys, I don’t know who’s the best out of all of them.”
SELDEN ON KENTUCKY
Selden said he doesn’t buy the perception that there’s no pressure playing a game so early in the season against Kentucky.
“It’s a game we’re trying to win,” he said. “We’re coming out to win. We’re putting the pressure on ourselves to come out and compete.”
Selden said he won’t be extra hyped playing UK just because the Wildcats are ranked No. 1.
“No, when you’re playing a team like Kentucky, you should get motivated regardless of their ranking.”
RECALLING LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONS CLASSIC
Selden was asked about his favorite deal of playing Duke in the Champions Classic last year in Chicago.
“It was a real fun game,” he said. “Winning was probably my favorite part.”
KU beat Duke, 94-83.
YOUNG PLAYERS “HAVE TO ADJUST”
With KU featuring four freshmen, those Jayhawks might be feeling more anxious entering such a big nationally televised game.
“It’s going to be a different atmosphere and those young guys are going to have to adjust,” Selden said. “You’re going to make a mistake or two, but you have to keep playing through it.”
Self said last year’s freshmen Frank Mason and Andrew Wiggins played well in the Champions Classic versus Duke, while then-sophomore Perry Ellis also excelled. But he’s not sure what to expect from his young players Tuesday.
“I don’t know how we’ll respond,” Self said. “... It will be curious to see how we respond to this, but certainly there will be a different feel in the building than what there’s been so far.”
NO NEUTRAL SITE
Self anticipates more Kentucky fans than Jayhawk supporters Tuesday night.
“It won’t be that neutral I don’t think since Lexington I think is only a couple of hours away, if that, but that’s OK,” Self said. “We need to play in tough environments.”
TRAYLOR TALKS KENTUCKY
KU junior forward Jamari Traylor was a freshman and academically ineligible to play Kentucky in 2011-12, when the teams met twice that season. But he remembers the games well where the Jayhawks came up short both times in the Champions Classic in New York and in the national title game.
“They got the best of us (in New York),” Traylor said of the 75-65 loss. “We weren’t ready, it was the beginning of the season. At the end of the year, they had the same team and we had the same team. We did a better job in the national championship, but they got us again (67-59). We’re looking forward to going out this time and changing the result.”
Self talked about the hallmark of Kentucky coach John Calipari’s teams.
“His teams are always good defensively,” Self said. “(They’re) talented and they play hard. John and their staff has done a great job of getting a whole bunch of guys that are highly touted that may not stay in school for a long period of time to really share the ball and play unselfishly, too.”
Calipari, who is 154-37 in his sixth season at UK, will be seeking his 600th all-time victory Tuesday. He is 599-177 in his 23rd season overall as head coach.