Game 18: Kansas State at No. 3 Kansas – Preview and Prediction

The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks returns home to the confines of Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night to host in-state rival Kansas State. The Jayhawks come in winners of their last two straight, and they sit with a 4-1 record in Big 12 play. On the other hand, the Wildcats have had a rough go of it. They sit at 8-9 on the year and 1-4 in conference play. K-State is coming off a 16-point upset victory of West Virginia last Saturday.

  • Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 6:00 pm CDT
  • Allen Fieldhouse — Lawrence, Kan.
  • ESPN2 or ESPN App
  • Through five games in Big 12 play, Kansas (14-3) sits alone in second place at 4-1 in league standings, one game behind Baylor (5-0). West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech are 3-2 in Big 12 play, one game behind KU.
  • Kansas leads the overall series with Kansas State, 197-94, including 90-35 record in games played in Lawrence (49-18 in Allen Fieldhouse). KU has won the last 13 meetings with KSU in Lawrence starting in 2007.
  • KU is ranked No. 4 in the NET rankings through games of Jan. 19. The Jayhawks’ strength of schedule is No. 1 nationally. Kansas is the only school with seven Quadrant 1 wins. KU is 7-3 against Q1. Seton Hall has six Q1 wins, while Baylor, West Virginia and Wisconsin have five Q1 victories
  • The Jayhawks have also played the most difficult slate of defensive teams in the nation, ranking No. 1 in opposing defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com. Despite this, KU ranks sixth in the NCAA in field goal percentage (49.7%) and seventh in scoring margin (+15.8).
  • KU is 7-1 at home this season, including 6-1 in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks last lost two-consecutive games in Allen Fieldhouse during the 1988-89 season. KU is 13-0 following an Allen Fieldhouse loss under Bill Self.
  • Kansas is No. 3 in the latest national polls released Jan. 20. Kansas has been ranked in each of the last 212 Associated Press polls, the longest streak in the nation. The Jayhawks have also been inside the top-10 in 97 of the last 111 AP polls
  • Kansas has held 10 opponents to under 60 points through its first 17 games, including seven of its last eight. KU is tied for ninth nationally for the in holding opponents to under 60 points.

Wildcats to Watch

Xavier Sneed – Senior, Guard, 6’5″
Sneed is one of the hold overs from last year’s Big 12 Championship team. He’s taken a step forward this season in terms of production, as he’s upped his PPG from 10.6 PPG to 14.6 PPG. Sneed is pulling down 4.8 RPG and shooting 32 percent from three-point land.  

Cartier Diarra – Junior, Guard, 6’4”
Diarra has been on a tear over his last three games, as he’s averaging 19.3 PPG including a 25-point performance against West Virginia on Saturday. Diarra leads the Wildcats in assists at 5.4 APG. Diarra doesn’t shoot the ball all too efficiently, as he’s shooting 42 percent from the field and 32 percent from deep.

Prediction

This should be one of those thorough butt-kickings we’ve seen over the years. The Jayhawks are coming home after a so-so performance against Texas. They are due for a game where everything clicks. Kansas State has taken a huge step back this year and KU is a vastly more talented team.

Udoka Azubuike should have a field day against K-State’s front line. Devon Dotson seemed not to miss a beat after missing a game. The Jayhawks have an elite defense. They need to get this offense righted and it can start by freeing the three-ball. Ochai Agbaji, Isaiah Moss and Christian Braun are all shooting over 37 percent from three. KU needs to start shooting them in volume.

Kansas 84, Kansas State 67
KU – 15.5

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK

Season Record: 14-3 (9-8 ATS)

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.