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March 12, 2011

KU, UT set to battle in title game

No. 2 Kansas (31-2, 14-2) advanced to the finals of the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship with a 90-83 win against Colorado Friday. The top-seeded Jayhawks won their 31st game for the fourth time in the Bill Self era. Kansas is making its ninth Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship title game and its fourth in the last five years. Kansas will face 10th-ranked Texas (27-6) in the championship game. Kansas and Texas will be meeting in their fourth Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and their first since 2008. KU won all three other KU-UT title games in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

About Kansas:

Kansas has advanced to the championship game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championship for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Kansas has won its last four Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship title games. Overall, this is the ninth time in the 15-year history of the event KU has played in the title game with a 7-1 record. Kansas averages 82.3 points per game and gives up 65.0 for a +17.3 scoring margin. KU also leads the battle of the boards with a +7.9 rebound margin. Kansas ranks among the national leaders in scoring (82.3), scoring margin (+17.3), field goal percentage (51.2), three-point field goal percentage defense (29.3), rebound margin (+7.9) and assists (17.8).

Junior forward Marcus Morris leads Kansas in scoring with 17.3 points per game, including an 18.0 average in two Big 12 Championship games. The 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year's 7.3 rebounds per game are second-best on KU's team. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season, an Oscar Robertson Award finalist and a Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy mid-season candidate, Marcus recorded his seventh and eighth double-doubles of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Oklahoma State Thursday and 20 points and 13 rebounds against Colorado Friday. Marcus is second in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 58.5 percent, which is just behind his twin brother Markieff Morris, who is shooting 59.9 percent.

Markieff, a junior forward, leads the Big 12 in rebounding with 8.2 boards per game and in double-doubles with 11. Markieff is averaging 13.5 points per game. He leads KU with 38 blocked shots.

Senior guard Tyrel Reed averages 10.0 points per game on the season and he leads KU with 64 three-point field goals made in 2010-11. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.8 mark. He averages 6.7 for the season and 8.5 points in two league tourney games. Freshman guard Josh Selby averages 9.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 three-pointers per game.

Sophomore forward Thomas Robinson is third on the team with a 6.4 rebound average to complement his 8.0 scoring average. Junior guard Tyshawn Taylor scored 15 points against Colorado and averages 8.8 points per game for the season. He is among the Big 12 leaders in assists with 4.5 per contest. A Bob Cousy Award finalist, Taylor has 34 steals this season.

Sophomore guard Elijah Johnson has started five of the last six games at the point guard position, missing only Senior Night. He is scoring 3.8 points and has a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Other KU contributors include senior guard Mario Little (5.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (4.2 ppg) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.6 ppg, 19 blocked shots).

Head Coach Bill Self:

In his eighth season at Kansas, Bill Self is 233-45 (83.8 percent). Overall, Self is in his 18th season with a 440-150 (74.5 percent) record. He is 25-8 in conference tournament history; 16-3 while at Kansas in the Big 12 event, and has won five league tourney titles (Illinois: 2003; Kansas 2006-07-08-10). His 84.2 winning percentage (16-3) in the Big 12 Championship is the best in the league's history.

The Kansas-Texas Series:

Year-in and year-out the Kansas-Texas battles are some of the biggest in the Big 12 and nationally. Kansas leads the overall series 17-7 and has won three of the last four and six of the last eight meetings. These teams have met in three of the last five Phillips Big 12 Championship title games with KU claiming all three match-ups - 80-68 in Dallas in 2006, 88-84 in overtime in Oklahoma City in 2007 and 84-74 in Kansas City in 2008.

Overall, Kansas holds a 3-1 series advantage against Texas in the Big 12 Championship at UT defeated KU 64-60 in the 2004 semifinals in Dallas. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas holds a 13-6 record against Texas with a 10-5 mark in regular-season play and 3-1 record in the Big 12 Championship. Expect a close contest, as five of the last seven KU-UT battles have been decided by 10 points or less.

This series dates back to 1938. Earlier this season, Texas ended Kansas' school-record 69-game home court winning streak with a 74-63 win on Jan. 22 in Allen Fieldhouse. Since then, Kansas has gone 13-1, while Texas has gone 11-3.

Kansas in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship

Here are some Kansas notes in conference postseason tournament play:

--Kansas has won more Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships than any other school with seven. Oklahoma is next with three titles (2001-02-03). KU won the first three events in 1997-98-99, then the 2006-07-08-10 titles. KU is 7-1 in tourney title games having only lost the 2002 title to Oklahoma.

--Kansas has won more games in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship than any other school with 30.

--With a 16-3 (84.2 percent) record, KU head coach Bill Self has the highest winning percentage in Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship history.

--Kansas has been the No. 1 seed eight times (1997-98-2002-03-07-09-10-11), No. 2 seed four times (2001-05-06-08), No. 3 seed twice (1999-2004), and the No. 5 seed in 2000.

--With the win against OSU Thursday, Kansas has won 14 of its 15 first games in the Big 12 Championship with the 2009 loss to Baylor being the only blemish. The Jayhawks are 1-0 in opening round games and 13-2 in quarterfinal contests.

--Kansas has reached the semifinals in 13 of the 15 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championships. The Jayhawks did not reach the 2000 and 2009 semis.

--Kansas has won four of its seven titles as the No. 1 seed - 1997, 1998, 2007 and 2010. KU was the No. 3 seed in its 1999 title run and the No. 2 seed in 2006 and 2008. The lowest seed to win the event was No. 3 - Kansas in 1999, Oklahoma in 2003 and Oklahoma State in 2005.

Team Notables:

--Kansas is 64-5 (92.8 percent) over the last two seasons.

--Kansas has held 11 opponents to 60 points or less this season.

--Kansas has outrebounded 27 of 33 opponents this season, including 11 of the last 13.

--KU has outshot all but five teams this season (USC on Dec. 18, Texas on Jan. 22, at Kansas State Feb. 14, Oklahoma State on March 10 and Colorado on March 11).

--The Jayhawks have shot 50 percent or better in 21 games this season. KU has shot 50 percent or better in nine of the last 14 games and 10 of its last 16.

--Kansas' bench averages 26.2 points compared to its opponents' 17.8 ppg. KU's bench has outscored its opponents' bench in 23 of 33 games this season.

--Kansas is 29-1 when leading at the half (2-1 when trailing) this season and 31-0 when leading with five minutes remaining (0-2 when trailing).

--KU has used eight different starting lineups this season.

--Kansas has scored 50 or more points in the first half five times this season.

--Under Bill Self, KU has nine streaks of 10 or more victories, including the 18-0 start of 2010-11.

--The Jayhawks are 4-1 against ranked foes this season with a win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, a loss against No. 10/11 Texas (Jan. 22), a win against No. 19/20 Missouri (Feb. 7), a win against No. 24/22 Texas A&M (March 2) and a win at No. 22/24 Missouri (March 5).

--Kansas ended three home-court winning streaks of 10 or more this season with victories at Baylor (10-0) Jan. 17, at Nebraska (14-0) Feb. 5 and at Missouri (17-0) March 5.

Individual Notables:

--Junior MARCUS MORRIS recorded his second straight and eighth double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds against Colorado. For the championship, Marcus is averaging 18.0 points and 12.0 rebounds. The 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year leads Kansas in scoring at 17.3 points. Marcus is second in the conference in shooting percentage at 58.5 percent, which is just behind his twin brother Markieff's 59.9 percent. Marcus has 10 games with 20-plus points this season. He has led Kansas in scoring 17 times in 2010-11. His 7.3 rebounds per game are second on the team. He has led KU in every statistical category at least once this season. Marcus has been named Big 12 Player of the Week three times (Nov. 29, Jan. 17 and Feb. 14), was named a Wooden Award Mid-Season candidate Jan. 6, a Naismith Mid-Season candidate Feb. 11 and an Oscar Robertson Award finalist Feb. 28.

--Junior MARKIEFF MORRIS is averaging 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in two championship games. He is shooting a team-best 60.0 percent in the event and 84.6 from the free throw line. Markieff leads the Big 12 with 11 double-doubles this season and had five in conference play. Markieff leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 8.2 rpg and in field goal percentage at 59.9. He has 13 games with double-figure rebounds. Named Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 27, Markieff has been the leading rebounder for KU in 16 of 33 games this season.

--Senior TYREL REED scored 15 points against Colorado Friday on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. The 15 points were his most since 17 points against Texas on Jan. 22. Reed was named Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team on Feb. 22. He is also a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. He leads Kansas with 64 threes made this season and has made multiple threes in 20 games. In conference play, Reed was KU's third-leading scorer with 10.6 points per game. He is scoring 10.0 points for the season. Reed is the only Jayhawk to have started every game this season. Reed is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He graduated from KU in December and has been accepted into KU Medicine's physical therapy school.

--Senior BRADY MORNINGSTAR scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds against Oklahoma State in Thursday's quarterfinal action and is averaging 8.5 points in two Big 12 Championship games. Morningstar leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.8 for all games and has nine assists and two turnovers in the Big 12 Championship. Morningstar, who graduated in May 2010, is second on the team with 50 steals. A 2011 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team selection, Morningstar averages 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

--Junior TYSHAWN TAYLOR scored 15 points against Colorado Friday, which was his highest output since he also scored 15 points against UMKC on Jan. 15. He is shooting 58.3 percent from the field in the Big 12 Championship with a 10.5 ppg. He has 12 games in double-figure scoring this season and averages 8.8 points per game. Named a Bob Cousy Award finalist (one of 20) on Jan. 12, Taylor is third in the Big 12 in assists per game at 4.5. He has led KU in assists in 16 of 27 games played this season.

--Sophomore THOMAS ROBINSON is averaging 4.5 rebounds in two league championship game, including eight against Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Robinson had surgery on Feb. 11 for a meniscus tear in his right knee and missed three games. Since his return, Robinson's best game came at Missouri where he recorded his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds (March 5) in the Jayhawks' regular-season finale. Robinson averages 8.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and is shooting 59.9 percent from the field for the season. A V Foundation Comeback Award finalist, Robinson missed the Colorado contest on Jan. 25 tending to the funeral of his mother, Lisa, in Washington, D.C.

--Sophomore ELIJAH JOHNSON has started four of the last five games and six this season. For the season he averages 3.8 points, 1.9 assists and has a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio in 14.4 minutes of action.

--Senior MARIO LITTLE is 2-for-2 from three-point range in the Big 12 Championship and is averaging 5.5 points in the two games. Little's eight points against Oklahoma State Thursday were the most in eight games; he also scored eight against Iowa State (Feb. 12). Little averages 15.0 minutes, 5.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

--Freshman JOSH SELBY scored six points with one three-pointer and four rebounds against Colorado Friday. He has made at least one three-pointer in 14 games this season. Selby averages 9.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists this season. He has scored 16 or more points in five games and is a two-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Jan. 31 and Dec. 20).


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