Game 29: No. 1 Kansas at Kansas State – Preview and Prediction

The No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks look to complete the season sweep of in-state rival Kansas State on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Manhattan. The Jayhawks are coming off a dominating performance on Big Monday against Oklahoma State, while K-State comes in losers of their last eight and in last place in the Big 12. These are two teams headed in complete opposite directions.

  • Saturday, February 29, 2020, 12:30 pm CDT
  • Bramledge Coliseum — Manhattan, Kansas
  • CBS
  • With three games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season, No. 1 Kansas (25-3, 14-1) is tied for first in the Big 12 race with No. 2 Baylor (25-2, 14-1).
  • Kansas is vying to garner win No. 2,300 all-time. KU ranks second in the NCAA all-time with a 2,299-862 record. Kentucky is first at 2,318-711.
  • Kansas has clinched one of the top two seeds for the 2020 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. It marks the 19th time in the tournament’s 24 years that the Jayhawks will claim a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
  • Kansas has now won 25 or more games for 15-consecutive seasons which is the all-time NCAA record
  • KU is No. 1 in the NET rankings as of Feb. 27 games. The Jayhawks’ strength of schedule is also No. 1. Kansas is the only school with 11 Quadrant 1 wins, currently at 11-3 against Q1 opponents this season
  • Kansas ranks in the top-10 nationally in field goal percentage defense (fourth at 37.5%), scoring margin (fifth at +14.4), scoring defense (seventh at 60.6) and field goal percentage (10th at 48.7%).
  • In Big 12 play, junior Marcus Garrett is averaging 1.9 steals and an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6:1, both of which lead the league. He is also averaging a league-leading 5.4 assists in conference play.

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 14.0 PPG. Sneed is pulling down 4.6 RPG and shooting 31.0 percent from three-point land. Sneed scored 16 points in the first meeting with the Jayhawks.

Cartier Diarra – Junior, Guard, 6’4”
Diarra leads the Wildcats in assists at 4.4 APG. He doesn’t shoot the ball all too efficiently, as he’s shooting 42 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from deep. Diarra has the ability to go off, as he has a handful of 20+ point games this season.

Prediction

The game in Manhattan is always an emotional one. Their fans love to hate the Jayhawks and aren’t afraid to show it. Also, the events that transpired in the initial meeting will be on the minds of everyone. Because of this, I think the environment will help KSU stay in it early, but ultimately I have the Jayhawks winning this one and winning it handily.

The Wildcats season is in a tailspin, as they’ve lost eight straight and sit dead last in the Big 12. Kansas, on the other hand, is peaking at the right time. Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike are playing a very high level. Barring foul trouble, I expect Azubuike to have another dominating performance, as K-State does not match up well with him. The talent gap is just too big. Even though the Jayhawks haven’t won by more than 14 in any of Bill Self’s 17 trips to Bramlage, give me the Jayhawks in a big rout.

Kansas 76, Kansas State 60
KU -11.5

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK

Season Record: 25-3 (18-10 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.