Prediction, preview, time, TV for Kansas Jayhawks vs. K-State Wildcats basketball

·6 min read
Charlie Riedel/AP

THE DETAILS

When/where: 3 p.m. Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan.

Streaming/radio: ESPN+ (subscription required, streaming only); WHB (810 AM), KCSP (610 AM)

About No. 7 Kansas (15-2, 4-1 Big 12): KU leads the all-time series, 201-94. The Jayhawks have won five in a row and 13 of the last 14 meetings with the last Wildcat victory 74-67 on Feb. 5, 2019 in Manhattan. … The Jayhawks are 28-5 all-time in Bramlage Coliseum. KU has won two in a row and five of six against K-State in Manhattan. … Bill Self is 36-6 versus K-State as KU coach. … KU is 4-1 or better in Big 12 play for the 16th-straight season, beginning in 2006-07. … Self is 744-225 all-time, including 537-120 while at Kansas. … Kansas, which totaled 11 offensive rebounds on Tuesday at Oklahoma, has secured 10 or more offensive rebounds in 11 games, including five of the last six contests. … Kansas is 13-1 when leading at the half. … Redshirt-sophomore Jalen Wilson has scored in double figures in four games, including three of the last four contests. … Senior Ochai Agbaji has 1,259 career points, good for 35th on the all-time KU scoring list. … Agbaji has started 94 consecutive games (eighth on KU’s all-time list) and has now played in 100 games at KU. His 200 career three-point field goals have him tied for eighth on the all-time KU list with Terry Brown. … KU has an all-time record of 2,338-873 all-time.

About Kansas State (10-7, 2-4 Big 12): Bruce Weber is 3-19 versus KU as Kansas State coach. … K-State has won two consecutive Big 12 games (66-65 at Texas; 62-51 vs. Texas Tech) after opening conference play with four straight losses (TCU 60-57; at West Virginia 71-68; Texas 70-57; at Oklahoma 71-69). … K-State has consecutive wins over Top 25 opponents (No. 23 UT; No. 19 TT) for the first time since Jan. 12 and 16, 2019, when the Wildcats beat No. 20 Iowa State and No. 20 OU. The win over Tech snapped a five-game losing streak against the Top 25. … The win against Tech also marked the first time this season that all 10 healthy scholarship players were available for the Wildcats. … K-State is 10-1 when out-rebounding its opponent. K-State had 12 offensive rebounds in the win at Texas that were converted into 13 second-chance points. Sophomore Nijel Pack has scored in double figures a team-leading 14 times this season and 30 of 39 games played. … Senior Mike McGuirl has come off the bench to score in double figures for two straight games. He has now scored in double figures in 34 career games, including four times this season. … Weber is 29-66 all-time versus Top 25 opponents at K-State. The 29 wins against Top 25 opponents are the most by any head coach in school history. … K-State is 1-4 in games decided by three points or less. Seven of K-State’s 10 wins are by double digits. … K-State has had at least three players score in double figures 11 times in 17 games.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

P

No.

Kansas

Ht.

Yr.

PPG

F

33

David McCormack

6-10

Sr.

8.6

F

10

Jalen Wilson

6-8

So.

8.4

G

30

Ochai Agbaji

6-5

Sr.

19.9

G

2

Christian Braun

6-6

Jr.

15.6

G

3

Dajuan Harris

6-1

So.

5.1

P

No.

K-State

Ht.

Yr.

PPG

F

21

Davion Bradford

7-0

So.

4.3

G

13

Mark Smith

6-4

Sr.

11.3

G

24

Nigel Pack

6-0

So.

15.5

G

3

Selton Miguel

6-4

So.

8.1

G

1

Markquis Nowell

5-8

Jr.

12.0

Predictions

Kellis Robinett: This game feels like more of a toss up than the betting line might suggest.

Outside of a spectacular second half against West Virginia, the Jayhawks have not been executing like a top 10 team since conference play began. They needed clutch shots to beat Oklahoma and Iowa State by small margins. They also lost to Texas Tech 75-67.

If Bill Self has KU ready to play one of its best games, the Jayhawks will win. If he doesn’t, K-State is capable of pulling off the upset.

The Wildcats have bounced back nicely since opening Big 12 play with four straight losses. They beat No. 17 Texas Tech at home last weekend and followed that up with a road win over No. 23 Texas. Markquis Nowell, Nijel Pack are all playing at a high level. And K-State has played stellar defense since Bruce Weber returned to the sideline following his bout with COVID.

One thing that could be interesting about this matchup is the way both teams approach the front court. K-State went small in the second half to beat both Texas and Texas Tech, even playing five guards at times against the Longhorns. But the Wildcats likely need a bigger lineup to combat David McCormack. He could score almost at will with a guard defending him in the paint. Then again, the Jayhawks have also gone small at times this season. Maybe that be a key to this game.

In any case, this seems like another upset opportunity for the Wildcats. If they can create turnovers on defense, get some easy points in transition and feed off the home crowd they just might win their third straight game against a ranked opponent.

K-State 64, KU 63

Jesse Newell:

I have two conflicting beliefs about this game.

The first is that KU’s most significant concern should be turnovers. Bramlage Coliseum can get chaotic in a hurry when KU is in town, and it’s often difficult to keep composure there. Not to mention, with Remy Martin in and out of the lineup the last few games, the Jayhawks’ giveaways have skyrocketed, with their turnover rate in Big 12 play ranking eighth out of 10 conference teams.

That’s the bad news for KU. The good news is that I think the Jayhawks should be able to swing one offensive stat their way.

K-State crowds the lane to try to keep opponents away from the rim. That can leave the three-point line open, though, which is where opponents have fired up a much-higher-than-average 42% of their field-goal attempts against the Wildcats.

For now, this hasn’t caught up to K-State. Opponents have shot only 26% from three against the Wildcats this season, a number that is likely to be something close to “one part good defense and three parts luck” mixed.

I’ll like KU’s chances if this turns into a HORSE contest from three-point range. Yes, the Jayhawks will have to avoid a catastrophe of turnovers as stated before; still, with Martin at least available off the bench now following injury, the worst-case scenario with giveaways seems like it should be more palatable for KU.

K-State has played some of its best basketball in its last two games, but it’s also worth noting Texas Tech and Texas both went 4-for-17 from three. I’d be surprised if KU shoots that poorly, especially with the number of long-range specialists it can put out there.

I’ll say the Jayhawks play their best game in a while. Give me KU for both the win and cover.

Kansas 76, K-State 63

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