Since 1994 the Kansas Jayhawks have won 44 of the 47 games played against Kansas State. Let that sink in for a second. 44 wins – 3 losses. Rivalry? Um, no. Do Kansas fans want to beat Kansas State? Sure. Do Kansas fans enjoy watching Kansas State fans get all hyped up and excited to play Kansas only to see them crumble time after time? Absolutely. But Kansas fans don’t see basketball games against Kansas State as some heated rivalry game and the winner gets to talk smack for week, months or even a year. Sorry to disappoint you KSU fans. The Sunflower Showdown is nothing more than roulette for Wildcat fans. Sure they could put all of their chips on 18 red and if the ball happened to stop on 18 red Manhattan might see the celebration of the entire college basketball season. However, the chances of the ball stopping on 18 red aren’t good.
In 2008 Kansas State saw the ball stop on 18 red and Wildcat fans and players partied like it was 1947 (or whenever Kansas State played KU tough). The Wildcats got to point at Kansas fans and say “We beat you!!” Of course – Kansas fans got to rock National Champions gear, have a parade and party like it was Y2K just a few months later. So losing to Kansas State earlier that season – the sting only stung for a few hours.
Kansas has won 9 of the last 10 meetings and holds a 183-91 record against Kansas State since 1907. Kansas is 22-2 inside Bramlage Coliseum, and 74-45 all time at Kansas State. Since the Big 12 was formed, Kansas is 29-3 against Kansas State in the regular season, and 36-3 when you include the Big 12 Tournament match-ups. Kansas Head Coach Bill Self is 18-3 against Kansas State since arriving in Lawrence.
Kansas State (15-2, 4-0), led by their new Head Coach Bruce Weber, welcome the Jayhawks to Manhattan (KSU is 11-0 at home) tonight in hopes of once again seeing the ball stop on 18 red and putting the Wildcats in first place in the Big 12 standings.
The Wildcats average 69.3 ppg while only allowing 57.3 ppg this season. The Wildcats have 11 players that average 11+ minuted per game this season. The Wildcats are led by Rodney McGruder’s 15.5 ppg, which ranks 3rd in the Big 12. He leads the Wildcats in steals and is tied with guard Will Spradling in made three point attempts. Spradling averages 8.6 ppg and is second on the team in assists. Spradling also leads the Big 12 in assists/turnover margin. Guard Angel Rodriguez is second in the Big 12 in assists/turnover margin, and he leads KSU in assists to go along with his 9.2 ppg. Guard Shane Southwell averages 7.4 ppg and forward Thomas Gipson chips in with 7.1 points per game to go along with his team leading 7.1 rpg.
Kansas enters the game with the longest winning streak in the nation (15), and fourth longest during the Bill Self era. Kansas averaged 76 ppg and only allows 59.3 ppg this season. Freshman Ben McLemore leads the Jayhawks with 16.4 ppg, which leads all Big 12 freshman and is second overall in the conference. McLemore is KU’s biggest three point threat, and ranks second on the team in steals. Center Jeff Withey averages 13.1 ppg to go along with his team leading 8.2 rpg and 4.6 bpg, which ranks second nationally. Guard Travis Releford averages 12.9 ppg (61.3% from the field) and guard Elijah Johnson leads the Jayhawks in assists and is second in made three point attempts to go along with his 9.7 ppg. Forward Kevin Young averages 7.6 ppg and is second on the team with 6.9 rpg.