The Jayhawks (14-3, 3-1 Big 12) are looking to rebound from their disappointing 86-81 loss at Iowa State on Saturday night. KU and No. 9 ISU are one-half game behind K-State (4-1) for first place in the Big 12.
In games following losses during the Bill Self era, the Jayhawks are 63-8 with 39 of those victories in Allen Fieldhouse.
OU (12-5, 3-2) is coming off an 82-65 home win over Oklahoma State Saturday after losing two straight at West Virginia (86-65) on Jan. 13 and at home against K-State (66-63 in OT) on Jan. 10. The Sooners’ other two victories in Big 12 play came at Texas (70-49) on Jan. 5 and at home versus Baylor (73-63) on Jan. 3.
Oklahoma averages 73.0 points per game and has a +11.7 scoring margin, while averaging 39.9 rebounds per contest with a +2.1 rebound margin. The Sooners lead the Big 12 in defensive rebounds (29.5) and three-point percentage defense (28.4). OU shoots 34.2 percent from three-point range and averages 6.8 three-point field goals made per game, while making 72.1 percent at the charity stripe.
Junior guard Buddy Hield, the Big 12 Player of the Week after averaging 24.0 points and 6.5 rebounds against West Virginia and Oklahoma State, leads the attack with 17.6 points per game (No. 2 in Big 12), while pacing the league with 3.0 three-point field goals made per contest. He also leads the team with 22 steals and averages 5.6 rebounds per game and makes 81.8 percent from the free throw line. Junior guard Isaiah Cousins is next in scoring (12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 20 steals, No. 3 in Big 12 with a 44.4 three-point field goal percentage and No. 5 with 1.9 threes made per game), followed by senior forward TaShawn Thomas (11.5 ppg, team-high 26 blocks, 5.9 rpg, No. 2 in league with 56.6 field goal percentage), junior forward Ryan Spangler (9.5 ppg, team-high and No. 2 in Big 12 with 8.2 rpg) and sophomore guard Jordan Woodard (7.9 ppg, team-high and No. 2 in Big 12 with 4.5 apg).
OU is coached by Lon Kruger, who is 70-43 in his fourth season at OU and 549-347 in his 29th season overall.
Self knows his Jayhawks have to bounce back quickly after their loss to ISU.
“Now, the real fun begins trying to get your team back in a short turnaround when it’s kind of a deflating loss,” Self said Saturday night. “We’ll have to be good because I think OU and Iowa State are the two best offensive teams in our league, and we saw how we guarded one of the two so we’ll have to make some adjustments and hopefully be turned up more defensively on Monday.”
Self spoke more about the OU game Monday morning in the Big 12 coaches call.
“I expect our guys to bounce back fine,” Self said. “There’s no reason for us to be tired. We can rest tomorrow and the next day. I expect us to bounce back and be fresh.”
With students starting spring classes Tuesday, Self believes the fieldhouse will be rocking tonight.
“One thing I am looking forward to is I believe our students will be here,” Self said. “We haven’t had our students here for over a month. That will be cool and that will help energize our guys.”
POOR SHOWING IN AMES
Self was certainly not pleased with KU’s defensive effort in Ames, allowing the Cyclones many points in transition. ISU shot 50.8 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from beyond the arc, while KU shot 42.7 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from three-point range.
Iowa State became just the second team this season and 12th in the last 273 games to shoot better than 50 percent against Kansas.
Kansas leads the all-time series (dates back to 1920) with OU, 141-65. Since 2006, KU has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. Kansas is 71-16 against Oklahoma in games played in Lawrence, including a 44-7 record in the Phog. The Jayhawks have beaten the Sooners 12-straight times in Allen Fieldhouse beginning Jan. 10. 1994.
Self is 13-4 all time versus OU, including 13-2 while at KU. Kruger is 6-15 against Kansas, 1-5 while at Oklahoma.
KU TO HONOR FORMER JAYHAWK HEROES
As part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, Kansas Athletics, in partnership with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will welcome back former football star Homer Floyd and former track standout Ernie Shelby to campus. They will participate in a candlelight vigil at 4:30 p.m. at Strong Hall and walk to the Kansas Union for a special social justice celebration at 5:15. Later at the KU-OU game, they will be honored for their contributions in helping desegregate Lawrence in the late 1950s.
As KUathletics.com reported, Floyd and Shelby, along with basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain and track great Charlie Tidwell and other Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity members, had a meeting in 1957 with then-Chancellor Franklin Murphy, where they “expressed their intention to leave KU” if issues surrounding the segregationist practices in Lawrence were not addressed.
African-Americans at the time “were not allowed to dine in local restaurants, refused service at barber shops and denied use of public swimming facilities.”
“Murphy, inspired in part by this meeting, soon increased efforts to encourage change in the community surrounding KU. He then reported back to the students that the businesses of Lawrence had agreed to change their policies.”
Floyd and Shelby made history as the first two African-American captains in Kansas football and track, respectively. Tidwell and Shelby would lead KU to the 1959 outdoor track and field national title.