Manhattan, KS – The only two teams still with perfect Big 12 records meet on Tuesday night, as the third-ranked Kansas Jayhawks do battle with the 14th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats at Bramlage Coliseum.
This bout marks the 274th meeting between KSU and KU, with the Jayhawks holding a 182-91 edge in a series that dates back to 1907. Kansas is 74-45 all-time in games played in Manhattan, including a 23-2 mark at Bramlage Coliseum. The Wildcats have won just three times (2006, 2008 and 2011) in the last 39 meetings in Big 12 play.
Both schools are 4-0 in conference action this season, putting them in a tie for first-place atop the Big 12 standings.
Bill Self's Jayhawks have one of the most impressive resumes in Division I basketball. Their 64-59 victory over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday marked their 14th consecutive win since a Nov. 13 loss to Michigan State, which is still their only on the season. Kansas has come out of all three of its true road games triumphant, including its 74-66 decision over the then No. 7 Buckeyes in Columbus.
Kansas has depth down the bench with seven players averaging five or more points, but redshirt freshman Ben McLemore has quickly become one of the most coveted players in the NCAA among NBA scouts by pacing three players in double figures with a 16.4 points per game average on 50.8 percent shooting, including 44.4 percent from 3-point range. Senior center Jeff Withey leads the team in rebounding (8.2 rpg.) and blocked shots (4.6 bpg.) to go with a 13.1 points per tilt, while senior Travis Releford averages 12.9 points on a lights out 61.3 percent shooting. The dynamic trio is a big reason why the Jayhawks are outscoring their foes by an average margin of 16.7 ppg, which is the highest in the Big 12.
Bruce Weber's first campaign as the Wildcats' head coach has not been too shabby either. KSU downed Oklahoma, 69-60, on Saturday to extend its winning streak to eight in a row and give it a 15-2 overall record. Its only setbacks came to national powers in Michigan and Gonzaga, but it is perfect at home despite already hosting Florida and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats average 69.3 points per game, while giving up a mere 57.3. KSU leads the Big 12 in rebounding defense (32.1), turnover margin (2.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). It also ranks second in the league in scoring defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense (27.4), rebound margin (6.8) and assists (16.1).
Senior guard Rodney McGruder leads Kansas State in scoring with 15.5 points per game, which is the third best rate in the Big 12. Will Spradling averages 8.6 ppg and leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.0. Sophomore Angel Rodriguez is second behind Spradling in the conference with a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. Rodriguez has dealt out a team-high 69 assists and is second on the team in scoring at 9.2 points per contest.