Lawrence, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Sunflower State rivals get together on Saturday afternoon, as the 25th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats pay a visit to legendary Allen Fieldhouse for a Big 12 Conference clash with the 18th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas State is in the midst of a 10-game win streak, which includes victories in each of its first two conference games. First it was a 74-71 upset of Oklahoma State. and that was followed by a 65-47 rout of TCU. The Wildcats are playing just their second true road game of the season today, and a win over their oldest and most bitter rival would give the team its longest win streak since also winning 11 in a row back in 1977.
Kansas has won four of its last five games to improve to 10-4 on the season, and its most recent outing resulted in a 90-83 triumph at Oklahoma. Prior to that bout, the Jayhawks saw their 68-game home win streak against non- conference opponents come to an end as they fell to visiting San Diego State last Sunday, 61-57. Still, KU is 7-1 in Lawrence this season and including this game, will play three of its next four in front of the hometown faithful.
Kansas has more than doubled up Kansas State in the all-time series, going 186-91 all-time, and the Jayhawks have won five straight and nine of the last 10 meetings overall.
Kansas State is far from what anyone would consider an offensive juggernaut, the team averaging a modest 67.7 ppg in hitting only 41.9 percent of its total shots, which includes a 30.4 percent effort from 3-point range. No, where the Wildcats earn their mettle is at the defensive end, as foes are putting up just 58.0 ppg, which ranks as the top yield in the conference and ninth-best nationally. K-State permits its opponents just a 39.2 percent efficiency rating on their field goal attempts, with only 25.1 percent of their long- range launches finding the bottom of the net. Marcus Foster (14.1 ppg) leads three players in double figures, while Thomas Gipson (11.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg) heads the team's rebounding effort, which comes in at +4.3 for the season.
In the recent win over TCU, Gipson scored a game-high 19 points, and he was joined in double figures by Foster, who drained four 3-pointers to finish with 16. K-State shot 52.5 percent from the floor, hitting 7-of-15 perimeter tries, but was rather careless with the basketball in committing 18 turnovers. The Horned Frogs were held to just 34.7 percent accuracy on their field goal attempts, missing 14 of their 16 3-point tries in the process. The Wildcats were credited with a substantial 37-21 edge on the glass.
Kansas got impressive efforts from Wayne Selden, Jr., Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe, the trio combining for 63 of the Jayhawks' 90 points in their recent win over Oklahoma. As a team, Kansas shot 54.7 percent from the floor, knocking down half of its 16 3-point attempts, while holding the Sooners to shooting efforts of .453 overall and .316 from beyond the arc. KU logged a 36-21 rebounding differential, and won the game despite being more than doubled up in points in the paint (34-16).
Standout freshman Andrew Wiggins continues to pace the Jayhawks in scoring, netting 15.3 ppg, while Ellis is close behind at 13.8 ppg. Joel Embiid and Ellis spearhead the club's effort on the boards with 7.2 and 6.9 rpg, respectively. Kansas averages 78.6 ppg while permitting 69.3 ppg, and the team is hitting 49.6 percent of its total shots while winning the battle on the boards by 6.9 rpg. The Jayhawks are in the red with regard to turnover margin though, checking in at -2.3.