For the first time the 1988 Midwest Regional final, Kansas State will meet Kansas as the higher ranked team.
Tonight’s game at Allen Fieldhouse matches the Wildcats, ranked 10th in The Associated Press poll, against the No. 14 Jayhawks.
The rankings reflect recent fortunes.
Kansas has lost three straight games, dropping from a high of No. in the polls in the last two weeks.
The Wildcats have won four straight and cracked the top 10 for the first time this season. Both teams have 19-4 records, but Kansas State is in first place in the Big 12 standing at 8-2. If the Wildcats can win in Lawrence for only the second time since 1994, they’ll move one step closer to the program’s first conference championship since 2006.
“It’s why you have conferences, to win conference championships,” K-State Coach Bruce Weber said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference.
Kansas State spent three weeks ranked higher than the Jayhawks in November, 2010. Until today, that was the only time the Wildcats were ranked higher than KU in their Big 12 history.
In 1988, the Wildcats were ranked 20th, and Kansas unranked when they met in Pontiac, Mich., in the championship game of the Midwest Regional. The Danny Manning-led Jayhawks won 71-58 on their way to the NCAA title.
Missouri fell from the AP poll for the first time this year. The Tigers split a pair of games last week, falling at Texas A&M on Thursday and defeating Mississippi on Saturday.