Kansas may own this series, but when was the last time they’d lost three straight preparing to play a nationally ranked K-State? It hasn’t happened, so even with the significant home court advantage that Allen Field House provides---we don’t know what to expect from Kansas. How odd is that to say?
Big Monday—big trouble---
Trouble, that is, for KU opponents. The Jayhawks have won 19 straight home games on Big Monday and are 15-0 under Bill Self during that stretch. But it’s not just on Mondays; keep in mind that Self has lost eight times at home in his ten years in Lawrence. Kansas has as many Big 12 titles as they do home losses under Self. How beware of the Phog should the Wildcats be? Consider that they’re likely to be ranked about ten spots higher than KU tomorrow, yet still opened as a nine point underdog. That’s about how many points the Fieldhouse is usually worth.
Interesting call on ESPN---
In case you’re wondering—Brent Musberger gets the play by play call tonight along with Fran Fraschilla a pairing that represents both end of the broadcasting spectrums for me. I really like Fraschilla.
Pretty heady company---
Ben McLemore is averaging 16.3 points per game, if he holds that pace he would eclipse—by about two points a game---Danny Manning’s freshman scoring record at KU. Manning went on to score nearly 3,000 points in a four year career at KU, McLemore is thought to be ‘one and done’ with the ‘Hawks. Although, technically, this is his second year at KU, remember he redshirted last season.
More matchup minutia---
K-State hasn’t been in first place this last in the season since opening 7-1 in 2008 and the last time they went into Lawrence leading the conference was 1988. This is the 17th time the rivals will meet as ranked opponents; Kansas has won 12 of the previous 16 such meetings.
Last time around---
The Jayhawks went into Manhattan and gave the Wildcats its only home loss of the season. They did it with defense, holding KSU to just 35 percent shooting. It doesn’t matter how poorly KU is playing, the ‘Cats will have to shoot better than 35 percent to have any chance tomorrow night. K-State Coach Bruce Weber has had good success with, essentially, a four guard lineup going 14-2 since making the switch. The move has allowed K-State to become a better shooting and higher scoring team, but the downside has been their falloff in rebounding. The 55 points KSU scored in the four point loss to KU was their second lowest scoring output of the season; in a game they got virtually no help from their bench. The ‘Cats bench is far deeper that the ‘Hawks, they need to produce points tonight.
The bottom line---
K-State’s hot, KU’s scuttling—it would be tempting to go with the hot hand. But you can’t deny the history of this series. Kansas bounces back 66-61.