We have a huge matchup in the Big 12 conference Monday night as we see the conference-leading Kansas State Wildcats take on the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence.
TV Schedule: February 25, 9:00 PM ET. ESPN
Location: Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas
The Kansas Jayhawks pursuit of a 15th straight regular-season Big 12 title will come to an end with a loss on Monday night. They have been a completely different team at home though where they have gone undefeated so far this season compared to their 2-7 road record. It’s not going to be easy though as they welcome in their in-state rival the Kansas State Wildcats.
The Wildcats started 0-2 in conference play but since then have won 11 of their last 12 with a home loss against Iowa State on February, 16th. They did lose a road game at Texas A&M during the Big 12/SEC challenge but they have shown that loss was a fluke. Kansas State is looking for their first Big 12 regular season title since the 2012-13 season.
Even if the Jayhawks win this game the Wildcats still have a really good chance to secure a share of the title, but that’s not what they want. They have never won an outright Big 12 regular-season championship and the only time they shared it they did so with their in-state rival. The way they have been playing they should be confident in their chance to win on Monday night.
Both of these teams will need to make a quick turn around after their games on Saturday. The combined point margins in their games were 68. Kansas lost at Texas Tech by 29 while Kansas State beat Oklahoma State at home by 39. The Jayhawks have been able to flip the switch when they’re in front of the home crowd and they’ll need to do just that.
The first meeting in Manhattan was a competitive game throughout which ended with a 74-67 victory. That game was also LaGerald Vick‘s final game with the team before he took his leave of absence. He played just 19 minutes in that game for a variety of reasons and now it seems as if his collegiate career may be over.
The Jayhawks have struggled to get consistent production all season long and as we head down the stretch of the season it gets magnified. Devon Dotson has really picked it up recently but outside of him and Dedric Lawson there’s nobody else you can count on each and every night. Ochai Agbaji has been big for this team but he too disappears at times just as he did in the loss against Texas Tech. In the first meeting with Kansas State, Lawson led the way with 18 points on 6-15 shooting while Dotson finished with 13 points on 5-12 from the floor.
For the Wildcats they played a good defensive game and they got contributions offensively from nearly everyone as they had seven players finish with between two and five made shots. Everyone chipped in but once again they were led by their star point guard Barry Brown, he finished with 18 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two assists in this game. He will need to dominate his matchup with Dotson on Monday night for the Wildcats to get the win.
It will be another exciting game just as the first one was. The Kansas Jayhawks know it’s a must win game for them if they want to extend the Big 12 regular-season title streak. They will come and out play hard from the jump but it won’t be easy. The Wildcats know what this win would mean for their program but also would be a huge boost to their NCAA Tournament resume. The Kansas State Wildcats will keep it close throughout but they will come up just short in Allen Fieldhouse.