🏀 GAME PREVIEW: at Kansas State
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The No. 1 Jayhawks (25-3, 14-1 Big 12) will journey to Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday, Feb. 29 for the 293rd edition of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown against Kansas State (9-19, 2-13 Big 12). Tipoff from Bramlage Coliseum is slated for 12:30 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on CBS. Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst) and Evan Washburn (reporter) will call the action.
- 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’s 12-game Big 12 winning streak is the most by a Kansas team since the 2009-10 Jayhawks won 13-straight.
- 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%).
- Udoka Azubuike recorded his 1,000th-career point on Feb. 24 vs. Oklahoma State. He is the sixth Jayhawk to post 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 150 blocks in a career.
- Sophomore Devon Dotson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 17.9 ppg. He is looking to become the fifth Jayhawk and the eighth underclassman to be the league’s top scorer.
- 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.
- Dotson and Azubuike are members of watch lists for the Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and Oscar Robertson Trophy, all given to the Player of the Year. Garrett is one of 10 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year semifinalists.
Bill Self previewed the Dillons Sunflower Showdown at his weekly Press Conference.
THE KANSAS-KANSAS STATE SERIES
Kansas leads the overall series with Kansas State, 198-94, and has won 10 of the last 11 matchups. Since Feb. 12, 1994, Kansas has won 59 of the last 65 meetings with K-State. This series started in 1907 and Kansas is 78-48 against Kansas State in games played in Manhattan, including a 26-5 record in Bramlage Coliseum. Kansas has gone to Kansas State three times as the No. 1 team in the nation and is 2-1 in those meetings with wins on Jan. 18, 1993 (71-65), Jan. 4, 1997 (62-59) and a loss on Feb. 14, 2011 (84-68). KSU was not ranked in all three meetings and all three were in Bramlage Coliseum.
Since the inception of the Big 12 Conference, KU is 51-6 against KSU (41-6 in regular-season battles and 10-0 in the Big 12 Championship). Kansas head coach Bill Self is 34-6 all-time against K-State, all while at KU. Kansas State’s Bruce Weber is 3-16 against Kansas. Expect a close game as 12 of the last 16 matchups in Bramlage Coliseum have been single-digit outcomes.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Located in Manhattan, Kansas, with an enrollment of 22,221, Kansas State (9-19, 2-13) is looking to rebound from an eight-game losing streak after its 85-66 loss at No. 2/2 Baylor Feb. 25. The Wildcats are 8-7 at home this season. K-State is coached by Bruce Weber who is 159-108 in his eighth season at KSU.
Kansas State averages 64.3 points per game. The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in steals at 8.6 per contest and pull down 34.5 rebounds per contest. K-State makes 6.8 3-point field goals per game and attempts 21.2 from beyond the arc per outing.
Senior forward Xavier Sneed leads Kansas State in scoring at 14.0 points per game which is 10th in the Big 12. Sneed leads the team with 51 3-pointers made and is second on the squad in rebounds with a 4.6 per game average this season. Redshirt-junior guard Cartier Diarra is second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per outing, which is 13th in the conference. He has a team-high 122 assists and his 4.4 assists per game are fourth in the Big 12.
RIGHT AT HOME ON THE ROAD
With the Jayhawks in the midst of an eight-game road winning streak, let’s take a look at KU’s impressive performances against its league foes away from Lawrence:
- Kansas has turned in a winning record in seven of the nine Big 12 arenas not named Allen Fieldhouse since the league formed in 1996-97 (KU is 8-8 at OSU, 3-5 at WVU).
- Out of teams in the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, KU (45-25, 64.3%) is one of only seven squads to have a win percentage of 60% or better in league road games since 2012-13.
- KU has now posted a winning record on the road in Big 12 play in 20 of the league’s 24 seasons – 2000 (4-4), 2015 (4-5), 2019 (3-6). The Jayhawks are currently 7-0 in Big 12 road play in 2020.
- The Jayhawks are 140-59 (70.5%) on the road in Big 12 play since 1996-97. The team with the next highest winning percentage is Texas, which is 88-111 (44.1%) in conference road games since the league formed.
- KU went undefeated on the road in 2002, going 8-0 that year. The 2002 Jayhawks are the only Big 12 team to finish a conference slate without a road loss.
JAYHAWKS TRYING FOR UNBLEMISHED FEBRUARY
Kansas will look to complete one of the most successful Februarys in program history when it heads to Manhattan Saturday. The Jayhawks are a perfect 8-0 so far this month, and are one of only 15 NCAA DI schools still without a loss in February.
A win Saturday would make the 2019-20 Jayhawks the 10th Kansas team to finish a February undefeated since 1950 and just the second team under Bill Self to achieve the feat. The 2015-16 Jayhawks posted a 9-0 mark in February. It would also mark just the fourth time in the Big 12 era that a KU squad was unblemished in the second month of the year (2001-02 was 8-0, 1997-98 was 7-0).
vs. Kansas State: KU leads 198-94
Current Streak: Win 2
Longest KU Win Streak: 31 (1994-2005)
Longest KU Losing Streak: 5 (3x)
Last 10 Games: 9-1
In Lawrence: KU leads 91-35
In Manhattan: KU leads 78-48
Neutral Sites: KU leads 29-11
Under Bill Self: KU leads 33-6
First Meeting: Jan. 25, 1907 (W, 54-39)
Last Meeting: Jan. 21, 2020 (W, 81-60)
Largest Margin of Victory: 45
Largest Margin of Defeat: 29
The Jayhawks will host the TCU Horned Frogs for Senior Night on Wednesday, March 4. Tipoff from Lawrence is slated for 7 p.m., on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. The Jayhawks have won an incredible 36-consecutive regular-season home finales, a streak that dates back to 1983-84.
KU leads the all-time series with TCU 19-2, which includes a 60-46 victory in Fort Worth in this season’s first meeting. The Jayhawks are 8-0 against TCU in Lawrence and 7-0 in Allen Fieldhouse.