Game 17: Kansas State at No. 12 Kansas – Preview and Prediction

No. 12 Kansas looks to keep pace in the Big 12 standings in the Sunflower Showdown

The Jayhawks are coming off a hard fought win over Iowa State on Friday night, and it doesn’t get any easier as in-state rival Kansas State rolls into Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday morning.

About Kansas State: The Wildcats are still looking for a marquee victory to add to their resume. They have played some worthy opponents and have game them games. K-State took an Arizona State team that beat KU down to the wire. They were also right there against West Virginia at the beginning of Big 12 play, but just couldn’t get over the hump. With the way Kansas has played to date, don’t be shocked if the Wildcats give a similar effort against the Jayhawks.

Game Info and Notes:

  • Saturday, January 13th, 2018 at 11:00 am CT
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
  • ESPN or WatchESPN App
  • No. 12/12 Kansas (13-3, 3-1) is tied for second in the 2017-18 Big 12 race with Oklahoma (13-2, 3-1) and Texas Tech (14-2, 3-1). The three are one game behind conference leader West Virginia (15-1, 4-0).
  • Devonte’ Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I to average 18.0-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 2.0-plus steals and 2.5 or fewer turnovers per game.
  • Kansas is the only league school that has two player ranked in the top five in scoring in the Big 12 and five players ranked in the top 16 in scoring. Senior G Devonte’ Graham is second with 18.1 ppg, while senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is fifth at 16.9 ppg, junior G Lagerald Vick is 12th at 15.3 ppg and sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is 16th at 14.6 ppg.
  • Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the Big 12 and is second in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage at 76.6 percent. He is 10-for-11 in his last two games. Azubuike is one of only three players nationally to shoot 70 percent or better with a minimum of five field goals made per game
  • Kansas is the only league school that has two player ranked in the top five in scoring in the Big 12 and five players ranked in the top 16 in scoring. Senior G Devonte’ Graham is second with 18.1 ppg, while senior G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is fifth at 16.9 ppg, junior G Lagerald Vick is 12th at 15.3 ppg and sophomore C Udoka Azubuike is 16th at 14.6 ppg.
  • In their last six games, senior guards Graham and Mykhailiuk have combined 39.0 scoring average, including 46 of Kansas’ 70 3-pointers made. The Jayhawks are averaging 86.7 points in that span.
Wildcats to Watch

Barry Brown – 6’3″ junior, guard

Brown leads the team in scoring at 16.9 PPG, which is tied with Svi Mykhailiuk for fifth in the Big 12. He is a high usage player, as he’s averaging almost 13 FGs per game. Because he takes so many shots, he’s not as efficient as he could be. His 46% FG percentage is solid, but his 31% from beyond the arc is not. He’s shooting 71% at the rim this season. If Kansas can make him a jump shooter, it would make Brown rather ineffective. But as we’ve seen for most of the season, KU has had trouble keep their guy in front of them on defense.

Dean Wade – 6’10″ junior, forward

Wade is one of those guys who seems like he’s been around forever, but here we are and he’s still only a junior! Wade averaged 20 PPG against the Jayhawks last season, which were both his season-highs. He’s a stretch forward that can play inside and out. Mitch Lightfoot could be a better matchup against Wade than Azubuike.

Cartier Diarra – 6’4″ freshman, point guard

Kansas State’s starting point guard Kamau Stokes is out indefinitely with a foot injury, which opens the door for Diarra, a true freshman from South Carolina, to get the bulk of the time at the position. Diarra played 37 minutes against Oklahoma State Wednesday, as his role is suddenly enormous after averaging less than 15 minutes per game in nonconference play. With a limited sample size, Diarra is a 45% three-point shooter, but his toughness will certainly be tested with his first career road start coming at Allen Fieldhouse.

Prediction

Kansas 87 – Kansas State 76

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK (skip to 46:50 mark)

I just can’t see Bruce Weber beating Bill Self in Allen Fieldhouse. If that happens… then I think that’s a serious sign that the streak is in trouble.

Like most games, Svi will be the key in this one. KU usually goes as he goes. Malik Newman had a breakout performance against Iowa State on Tuesday. He’ll be one to watch to see if he actually did turn the corner or not. Give me the Jayhawks to handle the Wildcats comfortably, and set up a massive showdown with West Virginia on Monday.

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I’m from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I’m a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They’ll always come No.1.