Notes: KU vs. NDSU

Big 12 Champion Kansas (25-7, 14-2 Big 12) makes its 20th-straight and 38th overall NCAA Tournament appearance as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional and will take on North Dakota State (26-6, 16-2 Summit) Friday, March 20, at 11:30 a.m. (Central).

In its 38 appearances in the Big Dance, this is the first time KU will play in the state of Minnesota. The Jayhawks – 2008 NCAA National Champions - are coming off a 71-64 loss to Baylor in the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City on March 12. North Dakota State has won seven straight, including the Summit League Tournament. This marks the fourth time since seeding started in the NCAA Tournament that the Jayhawks have been a No. 3 seed. If KU wins, it would play the winner of the West Virginia-Dayton game Sunday at either 1:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. (Central).
 

About Kansas

No. 13/14 Kansas has won six of its last eight games heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks are the defending NCAA National Champions yet return less than 20 percent of all but one statistical category.

The Jayhawks are averaging 77.1 points per game and giving up 65.8 for a +11.3 scoring margin. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.8 percent, rebound defense at 31.6 and rebound margin at +7.3. In conference play, KU led the conference in scoring margin (+10.5), field goal percentage defense (38.6), three-point field goal percentage (40.3), three-point field goal percentage defense (32.7), rebounding defense (29.8) and rebound margin (+8.2).

Junior guard Sherron Collins leads KU in scoring at 18.3 points per game, which is fourth in the Big 12. Collins has averaged 23.1 points in his last eight games. An All-Big 12 First Team selection, Bob Cousy Award finalist, Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist, Wooden Award and Naismith Award mid-season candidate, Collins has led the team in scoring in 24 of 32 games this season. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week, Collins has a team-high 72 three-point field goals and 161 assists. Also, named All-Big 12 First Team and co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, sophomore center Cole Aldrich has five double-doubles in his last seven games and is averaging 14.6 points and 12 rebounds in that span. His 18 double-doubles on the season are second most in the Big 12. Aldrich is scoring 14.6 points per game. He leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with a 2.4 per game average. He is second in the league in field goal percentage at 60.1. He and Oklahoma's Blake Griffin are the only two Big 12 players to average a double-double with Aldrich at 14.6 ppg and 10.6 rpg and Griffin at 21.9 ppg and 14.3 rpg. Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor, a Big 12 All-Rookie Team selection, is averaging 15 points in his last five games and 10 points per contest on the season. Named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week four times this season, Taylor is second on the team with 98 assists. He is third on the team with 36 steals, just behind sophomore guard Brady Morningstar's 40 and Collins' 38. Morningstar leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 43.6 percent and is scoring 6.7 points per game along with fellow sophomore guard Tyrel Reed. Reed is a three-point threat, making 39.8 percent from beyond the arc. Freshman Marcus Morris, a Big 12 All-Rookie Team selection, leads the Big 12 freshmen class with 4.9 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, is scoring 4.9 points per game and he has a 4.4 rebound average. Junior guard/forward Mario Little also averages 4.9 points and he is pulling down 3.3 rebounds per outing. He was named Phillips 66 co-Big 12 Rookie of the Week Feb. 9. He missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries. Freshman guard Travis Releford (2.8 ppg) and freshman forward Quintrell Thomas (1.6 ppg) also see time on the floor for the Jayhawks.

 

About North Dakota State

North Dakota State brings a seven-game winning streak to Minneapolis. Located in Fargo, N.D., the Bison won both the Summit League regular-season and postseason championships and have compiled a 26-6 overall and 16-2 conference record. This is first season the Bison were eligible for the NCAA Tournament after a five-year reclassification from Division II. Of NDSU's six losses, four have been by five points or less. North Dakota State ranks ninth nationally with an 80.8 scoring average. The Bison are giving up 68.6 points per game for a +12.2 scoring margin. NDSU is a deadly three-point shooting team ranking fifth nationally with a 41.2 three-point shooting percentage. The Bison average 7.1 threes per game. NDSU is a veteran team with four fifth-year seniors and a fourth-year senior. Senior guard Ben Woodside leads the team in scoring with 22.8 points per game, including a 60-point effort in a triple-overtime loss (112-111) against Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 12. His 22.8 ppg is ninth nationally. He also averages 6.3 assists per game, has a team-best 64 three pointers and 84.2 free throw percentage. Senior forward Brett Winkelman is next in scoring at 18.7 points per game and he leads the Bison with a 7.4 rebound average and 48 steals. He is making 80.9 percent from the free throw line. Senior guard Mike Nelson is scoring 11.9 points per game. He is second on the team with a 4.2 rebound average, with 81 assists and 57 three pointers made. Sophomore forward Michael Tveidt is making a team-best 45.8 percent from beyond the arc to complement his 9.7 scoring average. His 20 blocked shots are a team high and one ahead of senior center Lucas Moormann's 19 blocks. Moorman is scoring 4.5 points per game. Junior forward Dejuan Flowers (3.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg), freshman forward Eric Carlson (2.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg), junior guard Josh Vaughan (2.8 ppg) and sophomore guard Freddy Coleman (2.5 ppg) round out the Bison regulars. NDSU's starting five of Woodside, Winkelman, Nelson, Tveidt and Moormann score 83.6 percent of the Bison's points.

The KU-North Dakota State Series

Kansas and North Dakota State are meeting for the first time in men's basketball. The two teams have one common opponent this season in UMKC. Kansas defeated the Kangaroos 71-56 in its season opener (Nov. 16), while NDSU beat UMKC twice in conference play – 65-60 in overtime on Jan. 17 at UMKC and 87-49 on Feb. 12 in Fargo, N.D. Kansas is 15-4 against current membership of the Summit League – 5-0 vs. UMKC, 7-4 vs. Oral Roberts and 1-0 vs. South Dakota State, Western Illinois and Centenary.

Kansas in the NCAA Tournament

--In the last seven NCAA Tournaments, Kansas has a 21-6 (77.8 percent) record with one NCAA National Championship (2008), three Final Four (2002-03-08) and five Elite Eight (2002-03-04-07-08) appearances.

--This is KU's 38th overall NCAA Tournament appearance and first trip to Minneapolis.

--The Jayhawks' 38 NCAA Tournament appearances are fourth nationally behind only Kentucky (48), UCLA (41) and North Carolina (41).

--Kansas' 20-straight NCAA Tournament appearances only trails Arizona's 25 on the active list.

--Kansas sports an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 82-36 and the Jayhawks' 82 wins rank fifth behind Kentucky (97), North Carolina (96), UCLA (89) and Duke (86).

--The Jayhawks will play their 119th NCAA Tournament game on Friday, which ranks fifth all-time in NCAA history.

--KU's NCAA Tournament winning percentage of 69.5 percent ranks fifth all-time.

--The Jayhawks have appeared in the Final Four 13 times - making KU one of just six schools to reach the Final Four 10-plus times.

--Kansas has won 11 games in the Final Four, which is sixth-best all time.

--KU is one of six schools that has won at least three NCAA Championships. The Jayhawks won the NCAA crown in 1952, 1988 and 2008.

--Kansas coach Bill Self is making his 11th appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach.

--Five different Jayhawks have been named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, including B.H. Born in 1953 and Wilt Chamberlain in 1957, who won the award even though KU lost in the finals. Clyde Lovellette (1952) and Danny Manning (1988) also won the honor. Mario Chalmers won the Most Outstanding Player Award for the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

--Former Jayhawk player and coach Dick Harp is the only person to play in the Final Four and later coach his alma mater in the Final Four.

Team Notables

--Kansas leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.8, rebounding defense at 31.6 rpg, rebound margin at +7.3 and three-point field goal percentage defense at 38.8. KU also ranks among the Big 12's top four teams in field goal percentage (second at 47.9), scoring margin (third at +11.3), free throw percentage (fourth at 72.8), three-point field goal percentage (second at 38.0), rebounding (third at 38.9), assists (second at 16.2) and blocked shots (third at 4.3).

--Kansas climbed back into the national polls on Feb. 2 and is ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press and No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls released March 16. On March 2, KU's No. 9 ranking was the first time the Jayhawks had been ranked in the Top 10 since the final polls of the 2007-08 season when KU was No. 4 by AP (final poll released before the NCAA Tournament) and No. 1 in the coaches' poll. Kansas went seven weeks out of the polls before making the Feb. 2 rankings in 2008-09.

--KU has outshot 25 of 32 opponents this season and has shot 50 percent or better in 15 games, including nine during Big 12 play. Kansas is 23-2 when outshooting its opponent this season and 2-5 when outshot.

--Kansas has outrebounded five of its last seven opponents and 23 of 32 opponents this season. KU ended with a +8.2 rebound margin in Big 12 play, +7.3 in all games.

--Through 32 games, four different Jayhawks have scored 20 or more points. Sherron Collins has 11 games of 20 or more points, including five of his last seven games, while Cole Aldrich has six. Tyshawn Taylor has three 20-point games, including a career-high 26 at Oklahoma (Feb. 23). Brady Morningstar has one 20-point effort.

--Kansas has held 142 of its last 145 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, including all 32 foes this season. Nineteen of those opponents have shot below 40 percent. The last team to shoot 50 percent or better against KU was Louisiana-Monroe in the 2007-08 season opener (51 percent) as Kansas has held 71 straight foes to under 50 percent shooting.

--Individually, eight different Jayhawks have led or tied for the team lead in steals this season, six in assists and three in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.

--KU is 110-17 (86.6 percent) in its last 127 games dating back to Jan. 21, 2006.

 

Player Notables

--Junior guard Sherron Collins posted 21 points against Texas (March 7) to record his 11th 20-point effort of the season. He has averaged 23.1 points in his last eight games. Collins was named All-Big 12 First Team on March 8 and was named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week three times this season. Making numerous All-America teams, Collins is a Bob Cousy Award finalist, Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy mid-season candidate and named to the NABC District 8 First Team March 5. Collins leads Kansas with an 18.3 point scoring average, which is fourth in the Big 12. He has led (or tied for the lead) Kansas in scoring in 24 games this season. At Baylor (Feb. 2), he set the Kansas record for consecutive free throws made with 35 before missing. Collins also ranks among the league leaders in assists (tied for third at 5.0), free throw percentage (eighth at .800), field goal percentage (eighth at .419), three-point field goals made (eighth at 2.3), three-point field goal percentage (14th at .379) and assist-to-turnover ratio (12th at 1.5).

--Sophomore center Cole Aldrich, Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year, was also named All-Big 12 First Team and registered his 18th double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the home finale against Texas March 7. In his last seven games he is averaging 14.6 points and 12 rebounds. Like Collins, Aldrich was named to the NABC District 8 First Team on March 5 and Athlon Sports' National Most Improved Player on March 6. His 18 double-doubles on the season are second most in the league next to Oklahoma's Blake Griffin's 26. He and Griffin are the only two conference players to average a double-double with Aldrich at 14.6 ppg and 10.6 rpg. Aldrich has six 20-point efforts in 2008-09. Aldrich currently ranks tied for 12th on the Kansas career blocked shots list with 112 (B.J. Williams, 1994-97). Aldrich leads the Big 12 in blocked shots with 2.4 per game. He is second in the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.6 rpg, second in field goal percentage at 60.1 percent, ninth in free throw percentage at 79.9 percent and 13th in scoring at 14.6 ppg.

--Freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season on March 2. A CBSSports.com Freshman All-America Third Team selection, Taylor is scoring 15 points in his last five games and is 25-for-41 (61 percent) from the field in that span. He had a career-high 26 points in the win at Oklahoma (Feb. 23) and then had 15 points against Missouri (March 1). Taylor has led Kansas in scoring four times this season. His 10 point average on the season is second most among Big 12 freshmen as he and OU's Willie Warren (14.7 ppg) are the only two Big 12 frosh to average double figures. Taylor leads the Big 12 freshmen in assists with 3.03 per game. His 1.1 steals average is second among the Big 12 freshmen class.

--Sophomore guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage at 43.6 percent, including a 3-for-4 effort with nine points against Texas in the home finale (March 7). He has multiple threes in 15 games this season. Except for Senior Day, Morningstar has started every game for Kansas in 2008-09. He is scoring 6.7 points on the season. He has at least one steal in his last four games and 16 of his last 19 outings. A lockdown defender, Morningstar is second on the team with 45 floor burns. He is behind Sherron Collins' 56 floor burns and just ahead of Tyrel Reed's 43.

 
--Freshman forward Marcus Morris has started 13 of the last 15 games for KU and 19 games this season. Named to the Big 12 All-Rookie Team, Marcus has shot 50 percent or better in three of his last four contests and is 15-for-26 (57.7 percent) from the field in that span. His 12 points against Baylor in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship were his most in seven games. He has scored in double figures in 11 games this season. He is second on the team with 4.9 rebounds per game, which leads the Big 12 freshmen, and has two double-doubles on the season.

--Freshman forward Markieff Morris has shot 50 percent or better in six of his last eight games, including 3-for-5 against Texas in the home finale March 7. His eight points against the Longhorns were his most since scoring nine points at Baylor on Feb. 2. He is scoring 4.9 points on the season. He has started seven games in 2008-09 and is third on the team with 4.4 rebounds per game. His 4.4 rpg on the season is third among Big 12 freshmen.

--Sophomore guard Tyrel Reed's last 14 field goals have been three pointers dating back to Feb. 7 against Oklahoma State, a span of 10 games. He is averaging 20.7 minutes per contest and has been KU's first player off the bench 12 times this season. An Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, Reed has 17 games with multiple threes during 2008-09, including three of his last four. He has shot 50 percent or better in 15 games. Reed is making 39.8 percent from three point range.

--Junior guard Mario Little has scored six points in each of his last two games and is 4-for-6 from the field in that span. Those 12 points are more than his previous six games combined. Little has appeared in 20 games this season and has shot 50 percent or better in 10 of those contests. Little is averaging 12.9 minutes per game with 4.9 scoring and 3.3 rebound averages. Little has pulled down six or more rebounds three times this season. Little, the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year, missed the first 12 games of the season due to injuries.

--Freshman guard Travis Releford has scored four points in two of his last three games and is averaging 2.8 points on the season. In his last three games he is a combined 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line. Releford has played in 31 of 32 games this season and averages 7.2 minutes per contest. He is making 56.9 percent from the field in 2008-09.

Up Next

Should Kansas win against North Dakota State, it would play the winner of the West Virginia-Dayton contest on Sunday at either 1:30 or 4 p.m. (Central). The winner of Sunday's game will advance to the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis.

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