LAWRENCE, Kan. – With senior Sherron Collins struggling in the first half of his final home game,…
The Jayhawks have won 26 home season finales, including 25 Senior Nights. KU didn't have a senior on its roster in 2006-07. In addition to Collins, KU men's basketball senior managers Joe Balestrieri (head manager), Ryan Davis and Lacie Reed (junior guard Tyrel Reed's older sister) will be recognized prior to the game.
GUNNING FOR BIG 12 TITLE OUTRIGHT
KU can win the Big 12 championship outright with a victory over KSU. In its nine previous Big 12 titles, Kansas has won the title outright six times (1997-98-2002-3-07-09).
BATTLE OF CHI-TOWN
KU's Collins and K-State's junior guard Jacob Pullen are both Illinois natives. Collins starred at Crane High School in Chicago, while Pullen played at Proviso East in nearby Maywood, Ill.
"I knew him, but he lived about 40 minutes from me," Collins said. "We played in different leagues in high school, so I didn't play him a lot. We played in AAU tournaments together and neighborhood shootouts. We have a lot of mutual respect for each other and are hoping good things for each other. We talk as much as we can and he is a good friend of mine."
Collins actually crashed Pullen's prom.
"I went to his high school prom with my cousin and I wasn't expecting to see him and he wasn't expecting to see me," Collins said. "It was a big joke and it was really fun."
BEST OF THE BEST
Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring (82.4), scoring margin (+18.6, No. 1 in nation), field goal percentage (48.8), three-point field goal percentage (40.0), scoring defense (63.8), field goal percentage defense (37.6, No. 1 in nation), assists (17.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). KU ranks in the top three in all but five Big 12 statistical categories.
Freshman swingman Xavier Henry ranks fourth on the KU freshman list with 406 points this season. He is the fifth freshman at Kansas to score 400 points. Kerry Boagni (1983) is third at 408, Brandon Rush (2006) second at 444 and Danny Manning (1985) first at 496.
Henry's 14.0 scoring average would rank third on the KU freshman record list behind Manning (14.6) and Boagni (14.1).
Henry also ranks third on the KU freshman list for three-point field goals made with 56. J.R. Giddens (2004) is second at 74 and Jeff Boschee (1999) is first at 79. Henry's 45 steals are fifth tied with Paul Pierce (1996) on the KU freshman list. Manning is fourth with 58.
The Wildcats are averaging 80.4 points per game and allowing 68.3. They're shooting 45.9 percent from the field, 36 percent from downtown, and 66 percent at the charity stripe. KSU is holding foes to 41.3 percent shooting and 32.8 percent from three-point range, while outrebounding opponents 39.2 to 33.9. The Wildcats average 20.4 free throws made per game.
K-State boasts one of the best backcourt tandems in college hoops in Pullen and senior Denis Clemente. Pullen has scored in double figures every game this season, while Clemente has reached double digits in all but three games. However, they don't shoot a high percentage with over half their shots coming from beyond the arc. Clemente shoots 39.3 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from downtown, while Pullen has connected on 41.8 percent of his shots and 39.2 percent from three-point range. Pullen's shooting has dipped in Big 12 play to just 36.9 percent and 33 percent from three.
In Joe Lunardi's Bracketology on espn.com, he has KU a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional for the NCAA tournament. According to Lunardi, the Jayhawks would open the Big Dance in Oklahoma City and then move on to St. Louis should they win their first two games.
Lunardi pegs K-State a No. 2 seed in the South Regional. He has the Wildcats also opening the tournament in Oklahoma City, and then moving on to Houston should they win their first two contests.
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