Iowa St.-Kansas Preview
(AP) - Perry Ellis has had one of the most decorated careers at Kansas, but it has not come without disappointment and despair.
The Jayhawks have mostly struggled in the postseason in his tenure, but before Ellis begins his quest for a national championship he'll step foot on the hallowed floor of Allen Fieldhouse for the last time Saturday against a 21st-ranked Iowa State that has had Kansas' number of late.
Ellis scored 20 points as No. 1 Kansas (26-4, 14-3 Big 12) won 86-56 at No. 23 Texas on Monday to clinch the outright conference championship, the 12th straight time the Jayhawks earned at least a share of the title.
''That was definitely motivation. We didn't want to come out flat and thinking the league was over. We wanted to come out and win it outright,'' guard Devonte' Graham said.
Now that the regular-season title is wrapped up, Ellis' motivation is to deliver Kansas fans their first national championship since 2008. They'll get to see him for the final time in Lawrence on Saturday, and he should receive a rousing ovation despite some of those fans making the Wichita, Kansas native a scapegoat for the Jayhawks' postseason shortcomings.
Ellis has been part of 108 wins and has 1,645 points and 792 rebounds, joining Danny Manning, Nick Collison, Raef LaFrentz, Clyde Lovellette and Dave Robisch as the only Jayhawks to achieve those kinds of marks.
''He's got a chance to be in the top 10 in both at our school in scoring in rebounding, and that's a pretty special deal,'' coach Bill Self said. ''And he didn't start as a freshman.''
Kansas, though, has twice failed to make it out of the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament and captured just one Big 12 tournament title since he joined the team in 2012-13.
Those disappointing results haven't made Ellis question his decision to attend Kansas.
''When I was growing up, I didn't see myself going anywhere else,'' he said. ''It's been great. Each year I've had more and more fun, got better and better. And now I'm just looking to finish strong.''
The Jayhawks take a 10-game winning streak into this meeting with the Cyclones (21-9, 10-7), who handed them their last loss Jan. 25. Iowa State has won four of the past five meetings, including eliminating Kansas both times en route to winning the last two conference tournament titles.
The Cyclones, however, have lost 10 straight visits to Kansas and the Jayhawks own the nation's longest active home winning streak at 41.
''Obviously we got a great task in front of us on Saturday to finish up the regular season,'' first-year Cyclones coach Steve Prohm said.
Iowa State enters with three wins in four games after beating Oklahoma State 58-50 on Monday. Seniors Abdel Nader and Georges Niang combined for 36 points.
They totaled that same amount in January's meeting with Kansas while junior guard Monte Morris scored 21. Ellis had 23 points, and he leads the Jayhawks with 17.5 per game in conference action.
''He's just steady,'' Self said. ''I think that's something that we've really grown to not only to respect, but also at times to take for granted, because he has been so steady.''