Kansas St.-Kansas Preview
The 18th-ranked Jayhawks will go for a sixth straight win over the No. 25 Wildcats, who enter Saturday's meeting at Allen Fieldhouse looking to record their longest winning streak in nearly 37 years.
Rivals or not, Kansas coach Bill Self is happy to see his next opponent, and both in-state foes, among the Top 25.
"It speaks volumes to when you have three Division I schools in the state and they're all ranked," Self said. "I think when K-State's good it helps Kansas. I would think when Kansas is good it helps K-State. And then of course, I think when Wichita State is doing the things they're doing, obviously it brings attention to our state, which is very positive."
Kansas State (12-3, 2-0 Big 12) is the first of four straight currently ranked conference opponents for Kansas (10-4, 1-0), which opened Big 12 play Wednesday with a 90-83 win at Oklahoma.
Freshman Wayne Selden Jr. scored a career-high 24 points and hit 5 of 10 from 3-point range after Self told him to be more aggressive on the offensive end.
The Jayhawks won their 23rd straight conference opener.
"That's just Kansas basketball," Selden Jr. said. "We're trying to start off Big 12 play on the right foot, so we feel like we've got to go after all loose balls and we've got to pick up our defensive intensity. ... I know it's tradition-rich and I just want to put forth my best effort and the team wants to put forth its best effort to keep it going."
Perry Ellis added 22 points and 11 rebounds while standout freshman Andrew Wiggins continued to struggle with his shot, going 2 of 9 for nine points. It was just the second time Wiggins has been held to single digits, and he's shooting 32.8 percent in the last five games.
Kansas State freshman Marcus Foster has been trending in the other direction, shooting 51.6 percent and averaging 16.0 points in the last three. He scored 16 in Tuesday's 65-47 win at TCU.
"He's so consistent and he's so focused for a young guy," Wildcats coach Bruce Weber said. "He made big shots for us where we were dying there in the second half."
Forward Thomas Gipson scored a season-high 19 points to lead Kansas State as it followed Saturday's 74-71 home win over then-No. 6 Oklahoma State with its 10th straight victory. The Wildcats last won 11 in a row Feb. 2-March 12, 1977.
Weber's team is holding opponents to 53.1 points per game during the streak, and TCU was the first team to shoot over 50.0 percent against the Wildcats this year.
"K-State is playing as well as anybody right now," Self said.
The Wildcats' winning streak includes two victories over ranked opponents while the Jayhawks have dropped consecutive games against the Top 25.
The Jayhawks, however, have won seven straight home games against the Wildcats, including an 83-62 blowout of then-No. 10 Kansas State on Feb. 11.
They won last year's three meetings by an average of 13.7 points.
Weber sees this year's Kansas team as less experienced, but just as talented.
"We are going to have to play a really good game," Weber said. "It takes discipline and it takes execution. ... You have to go make the next play and take it to them and see if you can get to the hoop. It is going to be a tough game, but we will learn a lot about our guys by 3 o'clock Saturday."