No. 5 Kansas at Kansas State
WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m. Monday at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.
TV/RADIO: ESPN; KCSP (610 AM), WHB (810 AM)
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ABOUT KANSAS (17-4, 6-2 Big 12): The Jayhawks lead the all-time series 194-93, and have won the last six matchups. KU is 77-47 in games played in Manhattan, including a 25-4 mark in Bramlage Coliseum. … Since Feb. 12, 1994, KU has won 55 of the last 60 meetings with K-State. … Since the inception of the Big 12, KU is 47-5 against the Wildcats (38-5 in the regular season and 9-0 in the Big 12 tournament). … Bill Self is 30-5 all-time against K-State, including 29-5 while at KU. … KU’s loss to Oklahoma on Tuesday snapped the Jayhawks’ eight-game Big 12 road winning streak, which started last season. It also ended KU’s 10-game overall road winning streak, one shy of tying the longest in the 15-year Self era. … The Jayhawks have blown a double-digit lead in seven games. KU is 5-2 in those games. … Kansas is 3-3 against ranked foes, with wins over Kentucky, TCU and West Virginia and losses to Arizona State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma. … Seven of KU’s eight conference games have been decided by six points or fewer, with the Jayhawks 6-1 in those contests. Since the start of last season, KU has played 18 Big 12 games that were decided by seven points or fewer. Kansas is 16-2 in those games. … KU has cashed 10 or more threes in a half four times. … Devonté Graham scored his 1,434th point on a free throw with 13:19 left in the first half Saturday against Texas A&M and passed Wilt Chamberlain for 25th place on KU’s all-time scoring list. Graham is 10th on KU’s all time assist list with 504. … Malik Newman is averaging 19.7 points and 6.3 rebounds over the last three games. … Svi Mykhailiuk has scored 20 or more points eight times this season and five times in the last nine games.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (16-5, 5-3 Big 12): K-State has won four straight games since a 73-72 loss to KU on Jan. 13 at Allen Fieldhouse. … Bruce Weber is 429-228 overall in his 20th season as a head coach, including a 116-73 mark in his sixth season at K-State. His 116 wins are one shy of tying Frank Martin (117 during 2007-12) for the fourth-most in school history. … Weber is 2-12 against KU, all while at K-State. … The Wildcats are 11-1 at Bramlage Coliseum this season. … K-State is 363-114 all-time at Bramlage Coliseum since its opening during the 1988-89 season. … Weber is 78-18 at Bramlage since taking over at K-State in 2012-13. … K-State is 36-57 all-time against top-25 teams at Bramlage, including 17 wins over teams ranked in the top 10. Under Weber, the Wildcats are 16-28 against ranked Big 12 teams. … The Wildcats are 2-3 vs. ranked opponents this season. …K-State has held an opponent under 60 points seven times. … Kansas State has held 65 opponents to 60 points or fewer in the Weber era, with the squad boasting a 58-7 record in those contests. K-State has had 12 turnovers or fewer in 16 of 21 games. … Four of the Wildcats’ five losses have come against teams that were ranked in the top 15 (West Virginia, Texas Tech, Arizona State and KU).
THE LOWDOWN: K-State is the hottest team in the Big 12. The Wildcats have won four consecutive games, and five of their last six, to surge into a tie for second-place in the conference standings. Kansas is the perennial favorite. At 6-2 in league play, the Jayhawks are in position to win their 14th straight league championship. This Sunflower Showdown feels more meaningful than most. K-State can move into a tie for first with a win. KU can create separation with a victory.
KU PLAYER TO WATCH: Svi Mykhaliuk. The KU guard hit a pair of three-pointers late in the first half that made a huge impact for the Jayhawks when they won at Allen Fieldhouse earlier this month. He has evolved into one of the top shooters in the country, and K-State will need to keep tabs on him on Monday.
K-STATE PLAYER TO WATCH: Dean Wade. No Wildcat likes scoring on the Jayhawks more than Wade. The junior forward has scored at least 20 points in three straight meetings with KU, and he has been one of the Big 12’s best scorers this season. Look for Bruce Weber to try and create mismatches for Wade against smaller KU defenders.
KELLIS ROBINETT’S PREDICTION: Kansas State 74, Kansas 71. The Wildcats haven’t lost since falling by one point to the Jayhawks in Lawrence earlier this month. Winning on Monday won’t be easy, as K-State’s starters logged huge minutes against Georgia on Saturday. Still, expect the hot streak to continue in front of a frenzied crowd.
JESSE NEWELL’S PREDICTION: Kansas 70, Kansas State 66. Expect a lower-scoring rematch, as both defensive-minded coaches are likely to correct their mistakes from the previous matchup. In the end, though, it’s tough to pick against Bill Self and these Jayhawks, who have more often than not been at their best in the final minutes of close games.