Kansas to open Big 12 Championship Thursday vs. Texas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KU release) No. 17/18 Kansas (23-8, 12-6) is set to tip-off postseason play when it hits the court at Kansas City's Sprint Center for the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship this week. KU enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed for the third time in the 23-year history of the league. Kansas will face No. 6 seed Texas at approximately 8:30 p.m. (CT) in the tournament quarterfinals. Kansas has won 16 conference tournament titles, including eight of the last 14 and 11 of the 22 total Big 12 Championships. Thursday's quarterfinal contest will be broadcast on ESPN2, with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play), Robbie Hummel (analyst) and Tara Petrolino (reporter) set to call the action.

Kansas is the No. 3 seed for the Big 12 Championship for the third time with the others being in 1999 and 2004. Kansas won the 1999 Big 12 Championship behind Most Outstanding Player Jeff Boshee. In 2004, the Jayhawks lost to Texas in the Big 12 semifinal. This year ended a 10-year run as No. 1 seed for KU.

Kansas is defending Big 12 tournament champion and has won 15 conference postseason tourney titles and 11 in the Big 12 era which began in 1996-97. Kansas (11), Iowa State (4), Oklahoma (3) and Oklahoma State (2) are active league members with Big 12 tourney titles.

Since the Big 12's inception in 1996-97, Kansas 44-11 in the league tournament. KU is 20-3 in its first games, 1-0 in opening-round games, 19-3 in the quarterfinals, 13-6 in semifinals and 11-2 in finals.
Kansas is 1-1 against Texas this season with an 80-78 win on Jan. 14 in Allen Fieldhouse and a 73-63 loss at UT on Jan. 29. KU leads the overall series with UT, 32-9, including a 4-1 record in the Big 12 Championship (2-0 in Sprint Center).

Three Jayhawks - Dedric Lawson, Devon Dotson and Marcus Garrett - earned Big 12 postseason awards announced March 10. Lawson was a unanimous selection for All-Big 12 First Team, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and unanimous selection for the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team. Dotson was All-Big 12 Third Team and a member of the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. Garrett was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
On March 6, redshirt-junior Dedric Lawson was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Award. KU's Frank Mason III won the honor in 2017 as did Danny Manning in 1988.
During the regular season, Lawson led the Big 12 in scoring at 19.1 ppg, rebounding at 10.6 rpg and double-doubles with 20, which ranks tied for seventh nationally. The last conference player to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season was Blake Griffin of Oklahoma in 2008-09.

No. 17/18 Kansas is 23-8 overall and finished 12-6 in Big 12 play after its 78-70 win against Baylor March 9. In all games, Kansas ranks in the top three in the Big 12 in scoring offense (second at 75.6), field goal percentage (third at 46.4) and field goal percentage defense (third at 40.7). KU has a +2.0 rebound margin and also averages 7.5 3-pointers made, 13.4 assists, 6.8 steals and 3.7 blocked shots per game. In Big 12 games, KU averaged 72.3 points and led the league in defensive rebounds (28.6).

Redshirt-junior F Dedric Lawson has posted four straight double-doubles after his 23 points and 14 rebounds against Baylor (3/9). He leads the Big 12 in scoring at 19.1 ppg, rebounding at 10.6 rpg and with 20 double-doubles, which ranks tied for seventh nationally. The Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team selection, Dedric Lawson has 15 games of 20 or more points and he is the only player in the league averaging a double-double. A three-time Big 12 Player of the Week (11/12, 11/26, 12/26) and five-time league newcomer of the week (12/3, 12/17, 1/14, 1/28, 2/11), Lawson leads KU with 33 blocked shots and his 1.1 blocks per game are fifth in the conference. Lawson is 10th in the Big 12 with a 49.1 field goal percentage.