Kansas won its fourth straight season opener with a 90-66 win against Idaho State Friday. Sophomore center Sasha Kaun paced the Jayhawks with career highs in points with 25 and rebounds with 16. It marked the first double-double of Kaun's career. The Jayhawks are young as 11 of the 14-member roster consists of freshmen and sophomores. Though young, KU is extremely athletic and has a lot of depth. Inside, senior Christian Moody (6-8) is the lone returning starter from 2004-05 and averaged 5.8 points last season. Sophomores Kaun (6-11), C.J. Giles (6-11), Darnell Jackson (6-8) and freshman Julian Wright (6-8) provide match-up problems for opponents. There are eight interchangeable perimeter players that will allow KU to play both big and small. Senior Jeff Hawkins (5-11), senior Stephen Vinson (6-2) and freshman Mario Chalmers (6-2) will handle point guard duties. Sophomores Russell Robinson (6-1), Jeremy Case (6-1) and Rodrick Stewart (6-4) and freshmen Micah Downs (6-8) and Brandon Rush (6-6) will be playing the off guard and wing positions. Jackson will miss the first nine games of the season and will return Dec. 22, while Stewart will be eligible after the fall semester Dec. 19.
No. 10 Arizona opens its season against Kansas in Maui. The Wildcats went 2-0 in exhibition play, defeating Sonoma State 103-63 on Nov. 9 and Team Georgia 104-81 on Nov. 16. Senior guard Chris Rogers led UA with a 20.5 scoring average and was 10-15 from three-point range in the two games. Sophomore forward Bret Brielmaier led the Wildcats in rebounds with eight per game. Last year Arizona finished 30-7 and won the Pac-10 Conference championship, going 15-3 in league play. The Wildcats fell to Illinois in the NCAA Tournament Chicago Regional final, 90-89, in overtime.
Kansas coach Bill Self enters his third season at KU with a 48-16 (.750) record. Overall, Self enters his 13th season with a 255-121 (.678) mark. In 2004-05, Self won his fifth league title as a head coach in the past seven years with the other two being second-place finishes. He won two titles at Tulsa (1999, 2000), two at Illinois (2001, 2002) and a share of the Big 12 title at Kansas in 2005. A 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Self recorded his 250th career win at Kansas State on Feb. 9, 2005. His win against Colorado last season marked his seventh straight 20-win season as a head coach and eighth overall. He is a four-time finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003), and The Sporting News named him National Coach of the Year in 2000. In addition, Self has led three different teams - Tulsa, Illinois, Kansas - to the NCAA Elite Eight over the past six seasons and has a 13-7 NCAA Tournament record. Last season Self coached his third league player of the year in the last five seasons in Wayne Simien. In the spring of 2005, Self was named to the USA Basketball Competition Committee, appointed by the NABC. Self was a volunteer assistant at KU in 1985-86 and a seven-year assistant at OSU before head coaching stints at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois prior to KU. Self is 1-3 against Arizona with all four meetings while he was at Illinois. In 2000-01, Self's Illini team fell to Arizona 79-76 in the championship of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. It would be the first of three meetings that season. Six games later, Illinois avenged the loss with a 81-73 win. Arizona then defeated Illinois 87-81 in the NCAA Tournament regional final to advance to the Final Four.
Arizona's Lute Olson is in 23rd season and his 33rd overall as a head coach. A 2002 inductee of the Naismith Hall of Fame, Olson is 741-256 (.743) overall and 549-164 (.770) at Arizona. Olson has guided UA to one national championship (1997), four Final Fours (1988, 1994, 1997, 2002), 11 Pac-10 championships, four Pac-10 Tournament titles and has been to the NCAA Tournament for 21 consecutive seasons. He has been the Pac-10 Coach of the Year seven times and was the Big Ten Coach of the Year at Iowa in 1979 and 1981.
The KU-UA Series
Kansas leads the eight-game series with Arizona, 6-2, with four of those meetings being on neutral courts. KU has won three of the last four meetings. Three of the five meetings have been in NCAA Tournament play, with the last in the 2003 West Regional championship where KU advanced to the Final Four with a 78-75 win in Anaheim, Calif. Kirk Hinrich paced the Jayhawks that day with 28 points while Jeff Graves scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. KU fell victim to Arizona, 85-82, in the 1997 Sweet 16 as UA went on to win the national championship. Four of the Jayhawk-Wildcat meetings have been decided by three points or less.
Kansas-Arizona Series Breakdown (Kansas Leads 6-2)
12-31-79 Kansas 78-60 at Tucson, Ariz.
12-7-81 Kansas 86-57 at Lawrence
3-22-96 Kansas 83-80 at Denver, Colo. (NCAA West Regional)
3-21-97 Arizona 85-82 at Birmingham, Ala. (NCAA Southeast Regional)
12-2-97 Kansas 90-87 at Chicago, Ill. (Great Eight)
12-1-01 Kansas 105-97 at Tucson, Ariz.
1-25-03 Arizona 91-74 at Lawrence
3-29-03 Kansas 78-75 at Anaheim, Calif. (NCAA West Regional)
KU in the Hawaiian Islands
Kansas is making its fourth appearance in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. The Jayhawks are a combined 6-3 in the event and won the 1996 tourney. In 1987 - KU's NCAA championship season - the Jayhawks went 1-2 in the event. Kansas opened the 2001-02 season in Maui and went 2-1 to finish fifth. This year will mark the seventh time Kansas will travel to the Hawaiian Islands. The Jayhawks have made three appearances in the Rainbow Classic - 1997, 1992, 1986 - and were a combined 5-4 in the event.
Kansas in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational (at Lahaina, Hawaii)
2001-02 Season/5th Place of Eight
11-19-01 Ball State L, 91-93
11-20-01 Houston W, 95-78
11-21-01 Seton Hall W, 80-62
1996-97 Season/1st Place of Eight
11-25-96 LSU W, 82-53
11-26-96 California W, 85-67
11-27-96 Virginia W, 80-63
1987-88 Season/4th Place of Eight
11-27-87 Chaminade W, 89-62
11-28-87 Iowa L, 81-100
11-29-87 Illinois L, 75-81
Kansas vs. the Maui Field
Kansas is only team in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational field to have a winning record in every series. The Jayhawks are a combined 25-11 against the other seven teams in the event - 6-2 vs. Arizona; 8-4 vs. Arkansas; 1-0 vs. Chaminade; 2-0 vs. Connecticut; 1-0 vs. Gonzaga; 4-3 vs. Michigan State; 3-2 vs. Maryland.
Kansas vs. Ranked Foes
KU could face three ranked foes in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. Since the 2001-02 season, Kansas is 22-15 against Associated Press ranked opponents, including 4-2 in 2004-05. KU is 6-7 overall against ranked foes under third year head coach Bill Self, which includes a 3-2 record against teams ranked in the AP Top 10.
A Kansas Win Would...
Make KU 2-0 for the fourth straight season and 13 of the last 14 years... Give KU its third straight win in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational and make the Jayhawks 7-3 in the event... Make KU 7-2 against Arizona and give KU a 56-29 all-time record against Pac-10 schools... Give Kansas a 5-2 record against Associated Press Top 10 teams since the start of 2004-05 and 7-7 under Bill Self... Make Bill Self 3-2 versus Arizona (1-0 while at Kansas)... Give Self a 49-16 record at Kansas and 256-121 overall... Make the team 1,850-769 all-time.
A Kansas Loss Would...
Make Kansas 1-1 for the first time since the 2001-02 season (note: before 2001-02, the last time KU was 1-1 was 1990-91)... Give KU its second straight opening round loss in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational and make KU 6-4 all-time in the event... Make KU 6-3 against Arizona and give KU a 55-30 all-time record against Pac-10 foes... Give Kansas a 4-3 record against AP Top 10 teams since the start of 2004-05 and a 6-8 mark under Bill Self... Make Self 2-3 versus Arizona (0-1 while at Kansas)... Give Self a 48-17 record at KU and 255-122 overall...Make the team 1,849-770 all-time.
Last Time Out - Kansas 90, Idaho State 66 (Nov. 18, 2005)
Behind a career night from sophomore Sasha Kaun, the University of Kansas officially opened up its 2005-06 campaign with a 90-66 victory over Idaho State on Friday evening in Allen Fieldhouse. The center scored 25 points and added 16 rebounds on the game, both career bests. The Jayhawks used their superior inside presence to outscore the Bengals, 52-14 in the paint. Freshmen Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Julian Wright combined to score a total of 36 points in their first collegiate game. Chalmers chipped in three assists and four steals while shooting 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. Rush added 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Wright tallied nine points, five rebounds and four assists in just 14 minutes of action. The win tonight marked Kansas' 33rd straight home-opening victory and gives the Jayhawks 14 wins in their last 15 season-opening games.
KU's Julian Wright Named Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year by League Coaches
Kansas rookie Julian Wright was named the 2006 Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year by the conference coaches. Previous KU Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year honorees includes Nick Collison in 2000 and David Padgett, who shared the honor with Drew Lavender of Oklahoma in 2004. Kansas' Jeff Boschee was the 1999 Big 12 Freshman of the Year at season's end. Wright is one of several top freshmen for Kansas this season. He was named to the McDonald's All-America team his senior year of high school and was also a first-team all-state choice. He averaged 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in 2004-05. Wright led his prep squad to two regional and sectional championships.
KU will be using experimental rules for its three contests in the EASPORTS Maui Invitational. In the experimental rules, the three-point line will move back to 20'-9"; there is a restricted area arc and the lane will be extended one foot on each side.
Kansas is 6-0 in the month of November under head coach Bill Self. Since 1992-93, the last season KU did not have a game in the month of November, Kansas is 43-3 in the month.
Ten Jayhawks on NBA Rosters
Ten former Jayhawks, including rookies Aaron Miles (Golden State Warriors) and Wayne Simien (Miami Heat), appeared on opening-day rosters for various teams in the National Basketball Association. Other former Jayhawks on current rosters include Nick Collison (Seattle Supersonics), Drew Gooden (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls), Raef LaFrentz (Boston Celtics), Greg Ostertag (Utah Jazz), Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics), Scot Pollard (Indiana Pacers) and Jacque Vaughn (New Jersey Nets). Of the eight teams in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, Kansas, Arizona and Connecticut each have 10 active players in the NBA. Maryland is next with nine followed by Michigan State (7), Arkansas (3) and Gonzaga (2).
This Day in KU Men's Basketball History
Nov. 21, 2003: Bill Self coached and won his first game as a Jayhawk in a 90-76 victory over the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. UTC put a scare in Kansas early, getting out to a 24-14 lead. However, the Jayhawks closed out the half on a 28-6 run to lead 42-30. Junior Keith Langford led all scorers with 24 points and added four seals.
Did You Know?
Kansas' in-season tournament record is 50-21. Its most in-season tourney wins are the Preseason NIT where it has gone 17-3.
Following the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, Kansas will play host to preseason No. 22 Nevada at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 1. Last season, the Jayhawks defeated the Wolf Pack, 85-52, on Nov. 29.
Story courtesy: KUAC