6 p.m. – ESPN
With the Wildcats picked as the league’s preseason favorite and the Jayhawks having won the last meeting in the conference tourney final, this would have been a reasonable choice for Big 12 game of the year.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no guarantee that Kansas blows out its rival from Manhattan tomorrow. Kansas has looked vulnerable against far less talented squads. But Kansas State’s most recent game against Baylor suggested the Wildcats are still not a cohesive unit.
The Latest on Kansas State
Pretty basketball was not easy to find last Monday night at Bramlage. The Wildcats and Baylor Bears seemed to spend a lot of time trading turnovers and despite the usual raucous crowd in the background, the game was pretty hard to watch.
Among the positives was Kansas State’s rebounding. Baylor is a very athletic group, too, and K-State outrebounded the Bears by ten. Without question, it will take an outstanding effort on the glass to beat Kansas.
Additionally, the Wildcats found a nice surprise at the foul line, making 25 out of 31 free throws. Bob Knight gave a lot of praise to point guard Will Spradling, who made all nine of his free throw attempts. Jacob Pullen was 7 for 9 despite a mediocre shooting night from the field.
The Latest on Kansas
The Jayhawks lost what might well be considered the Big 12 game of the year when this regular season is finished. Texas invaded Allen Fieldhouse and won, the first time an opponent has done so since Texas A&M did it in February 2007 (You may now fully exit basketball relevancy, Billy Gillispie.)
Interestingly, Kansas did not lose this game early. In fact, it appeared initially they might pummel Texas, opening up an 18-3 lead in the first six minutes. But J’Covan Brown scored 23 points and both Cory Joseph and Jordan Hamilton pulled down more rebounds than any Jayhawk. I can’t imagine KU has been outrebounded often this season, but that alone did not cause Texas to outscore KU by 23 in the second half.
The Jayhawks improved in beating Colorado by 4 on the road, which on the surface isn’t particularly impressive but it was an important step. Alec Burks still scored 25 but Kansas survived by outrebounding the Buffs 35-19. This was a very entertaining game highlighted by excellent three-point shooting on both sides.
I’m curious to see how Kansas opens up Saturday. If the Jayhawks jump out to a big early lead, the game will be over, because K-State does not have the ability at this point to rally the way Texas did. I’d say the player with the most to prove is Curtis Kelly. Even if K-State doesn’t win, if he can keep the Morris twins off the glass, that will suggest to me that the Wildcats are on the right track. Better luck at the Octagon.
Kansas 80, Kansas State 63