The Kansas Jayhawks will look to end their first three game skid since the 2005 season Monday night in they welcome instate rival Kansas State to Lawrence for ESPN’s Big Monday. Monday’s game between the two sunflower state teams won’t only be for instate bragging rights as the winner will have a firm grip of first place in the Big 12 conference standings. After KU’s loss to Oklahoma and KSU’s win at home over Iowa State, the Wildcats find themselves on top of the Big 12. However, with a Kansas win against Kansas State in Manhattan earlier this season, the Jayhawks can put a damper on any hopes of the Big 12 crown heading to Manhattan with sweep of the Wildcats.
The Jayhawks have won 45 of the last 48 meetings against Kansas State dating back to the 1994 season. Kansas has won 10 of the last 11 games, and hold a dominant 184-91 record in the all-time series. Kansas is 84-35 in Lawrence, including 42-18 inside Allen Fieldhouse. Since the Big 12 was formed, Kansas is 29-3 over Kansas State in the regular season, and 36-3 overall.
Kansas State (19-4, 8-2) averages 68.8 points per game and allow 58.3 ppg. Kansas State leads the Big 12 in scoring defense (58.3), rebounding defense (31.8), turnover margin (+2.7) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). The Wildcats have 10 players who average 10-plus minutes per game. Guard Rodney McGruder leads KSU in scoring at 15.0 ppg, which ranks fourth in the Big 12. He is tied for the team lead with 35 three-point field goals made and is second on the squad with 25 steals. Guard Angel Rodriguez leads the Big 12 with a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio while his 4.7 assists per game are a team best and fourth in the league. Rodriguez’s 27 steals lead all Wildcats and he is second on the KSU team in scoring at 9.9 points per contest. Guard Will Spradling is tied with McGruder with 35 three-pointers and averages 8.3 points per game. He is second on the team with 66 assists and is making 86.4 percent of his free throws. Guard Shane Southwell averages 7.9 points per outing, but had 19 against Kansas earlier this season. Forward Thomas Gipson averages 7.8 points per game and leads KSU on the glass with a 5.5 rebound per game average, just ahead of McGruder’s 5.3 rpg. Forward Jordan Henriquez has a team-high 39 blocked shots to go with his 4.7 scoring and 4.2 rebound averages.
Kansas averages 73.0 points per game and while allowing 60.5 ppg. KU leads the Big 12 in rebound margin at +5.8, field goal percentage at 46.9, field goal percentage defense at 36.0 and blocked shots at 7.0. Guard Ben McLemore leads the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game, which leads all Big 12 freshmen and ranks second overall in the conference. McLemore leads the league in free throw percentage (86.8) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (41.8). McLemore also has a team-high 41 three-pointers made and is third on the KU squad with 25 steals. Jeff Withey leads Kansas in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and has seven double-doubles this season to go along with his 13.0 ppg. Withey leads the league in blocked shots at 4.0 per game, which ranks third nationally. At Oklahoma Saturday, Withey blocked his 258th shot, tying the Kansas career record held by Greg Ostertag (1992-95). Travis Releford leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 59.9% to go along with his 11.9 ppg.. Elijah Johnson has a team-high 107 assists and is second on the team with 34 three-pointers made to complement his 9.3 scoring average. Senior F Kevin Young rounds out the KU starters; he is scoring 7.5 points per contest and is second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per outing.