Stats & Info: bill self

Davis, Withey will host block party in final

April, 1, 2012
For the first time, all three Final Four games will be regular-season rematches. Kentucky beat Kansas, 75-65, at Madison Square Garden back on Nov. 15.

Monday’s national championship game will be the third meeting between the Wildcats and Jayhawks in the NCAA tournament. In 1999, Kentucky beat Kansas in the Round of 32, 92-88. Kansas won the other meeting in 2007, 88-76, also in the Round of 32.

Kentucky was the selection committee’s top overall seed, marking only the third time since 2004 — when the committee began ranking the four No. 1 seeds — that the top overall seed reached the title game. In 2005, Illinois lost in the final and the 2007 Florida Gators won the national championship.

Kansas head coach Bill Self won his first title four years ago, beating John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this will be the first time in exactly 50 years (and third time overall) that the national title game will feature a rematch between coaches who have previously met in the national title game.

In 1962, Cincinnati's Ed Jucker beat Ohio State's Fred Taylor for the second straight season. In 1953, Indiana's Branch McCracken beat Phog Allen of Kansas -- just as he had done in 1940.

There will be two AP First-Team, All-Americans on the court Monday: Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis and Kansas junior Thomas Robinson. Since seeding began in 1979, this will be only the fourth national championship game with two First-Team All-Americans on the court, and the first time since 1999 (Duke’s Elton Brand and Connecticut’s Richard Hamilton).

Davis, the AP Player of the Year, has blocked 11 shots in Kentucky's last two games. This season he has 180 blocked shots, two shy of Hassan Whiteside’s freshman single-season record set in 2009-10.

For the 2012 Men’s Basketball Championship, Davis has blocked 18 shots in the paint and altered another 23.

Davis also is one of only three players, along with Joakim Noah (2006) and Kevin Love (2008), to score at least 75 points, grab 50 rebounds and block at least 20 shots in a single NCAA tournament (since blocked shots became an official stat in 1985-86).

In this tournament, however, Davis has been outdone by Kansas’ Jeff Withey, who blocked a Final Four record seven shots against Ohio State. What’s more, Withey kept each of his blocked shots in bounds, and has kept all but 15 of his 136 blocks this season in bounds

Withey has blocked 27 shots in the 2012 NCAA tournament, two shy of the single-tournament record set by Noah in 2006.

Finally, if the Wildcats beat the No. 2 seeded Jayhawks, they will be the fourth straight team to win the national title without having played a No. 1 seed. From 1979 to 2008, only six teams won it all without having to play a No. 1 seed along the way.

Breaking down the Jayhawks

March, 28, 2012

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesKansas head coach Bill Self (second from left) will try to guide the Jayhawks to their second national championship in five seasons.
The Kansas Jayhawks will make their 14th Final Four appearance when they take on Ohio State on Saturday. It's the fifth-most appearances in NCAA tournament history.

Here are five things to watch for Kansas this weekend.

National player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson has been the steady hand guiding Kansas during the tournament.

He's averaging 15.8 points and 12.5 rebounds during the tournament, posting a double-double in three of the four games. For the season, his 26 double-doubles leads all Division I players.

Much of his offense has come in the painted area. Robinson leads players in the field with 47 field goal attempts in the paint, eight more than any other player.

Senior guard Tyshawn Taylor’s 2012 NCAA tournament get off to a slow start.

Taylor averaged just 8.7 points in Kansas’ first three games, 8 points under his season average.

But the guard showed up big in the Jayhawks’ Elite Eight win against North Carolina. He poured in a game-high 22 points, filling up the box score with six rebounds, five assists and five steals.

But Taylor did commit three turnovers, and has committed a total of 13 turnovers in the 2012 NCAA tournament, tied for the most in the field.

For Kansas to be successful Saturday, they’ll need Taylor to be more efficient in the half court. Twelve of his 13 turnovers in the tournament have come in half-court situations.

Jeff Withey has blocked 20 shots in four NCAA tournament games to lead all players. Ten came in Kansas' 3-point win against North Carolina State in the Sweet 16.

Withey helps anchor a Kansas defense that has allowed just 24.5 points in the paint per game, tied with Louisville for tops among the Final Four teams.

Self has not been afraid of changing things up these past few games, twice switching to a triangle-and-two hybrid zone defense to help win a tournament game.

In the third round against Purdue, Kansas went to its hybrid zone down eight points in the second half and won by three. In the Elite Eight, Kansas made the switch leading by five and won by 13.

Entering the NCAA tournament, the Jayhawks played zone 36 times this season; they've played zone 30 times in their last three games.

Kansas leads all tournament teams with 59 offensive rebounds and 61 second-chance points. The Jayhawks have scored 23 percent of their points on second chances during the tournament, the highest by any team that played two games, and up from 15 percent during the regular season.

Robinson leads the team with 15 offensive rebounds in the NCAA tournament, followed by Kevin Young (12).