Kansas-Kansas St. Preview
Kansas dominates the Sunflower Showdown, but it's lost two straight in Manhattan for the first time in over three decades.
The second-ranked Jayhawks look to snap that skid and extend their winning streak to seven Saturday night.
Kansas (22-4, 10-3 Big 12) has won 50 of the last 55 meetings with the Wildcats (15-11, 4-9) and 27 of the past 31 on the road.
The Jayhawks, however, have dropped consecutive matchups in Manhattan for the first time since a four-game skid from 1981-83.
"I think their crowd gives their players a lot of confidence, a lot of energy, just like our crowd does," coach Bill Self said. "I think we've caught them the last couple of years when they've been really good."
This time, Kansas State is eighth in the conference and trying to win consecutive games for the first time in 2016.
The Jayhawks prevented the Wildcats from accomplishing that Feb. 3, winning 77-59 while shooting 55.1 percent.
That's part of a six-game winning streak that's moved Kansas one game ahead of No. 10 West Virginia for the conference lead with five to play.
The Jayhawks used a 32-11 run to conclude a 94-67 win over Oklahoma State on Monday. However, Self wants a better effort on the road, where they're 4-3.
"Our activity level has got to increase dramatically going over to Manhattan," Self said. "But schematically, I'm not sure that we'll do a lot of things different other than the fact to tell our guys to try a little harder and be a little bit more focused.
"They've got a lot to play for still. We've got a lot to play for, so obviously it's a big game for both programs."
Senior forward Perry Ellis is averaging 19.5 points and 9.3 rebounds while hitting 61.2 percent from the field over the last four meetings with Kansas State. He scored 24 and converted 10 of 16 shots while the rest of the team shot 30.0 percent in last season's 70-63 loss at Kansas State.
Wayne Selden Jr. had seven points in each of the last two meetings with the Wildcats, but he scored 18 on a 4-for-7 effort from 3-point range Monday.
Kansas State is coming off Tuesday's 63-49 win over TCU, ending a 13-game road losing streak in conference play.
While coach Bruce Weber motivated his team with a highlight reel of its top plays, that won't be necessary against Kansas.
"I'm always looking forward to this game," junior guard Wesley Iwundu told the team's official website. "This game is very important, it could open up a door for us going ahead. We know we have to get this one; it's very important to us."
Iwundu, though, is trying to shake out of his funk. He's made 2 of 17 from the floor while totaling 10 points in the last two games. He averaged 16.0 on 65.4 percent shooting during the previous three, including a team-high 15 points at Kansas.
Justin Edwards only mustered two points in that matchup, but he's averaging 15.3 in four games since.
"We still have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament, it's not over," Iwundu said. "We're staying positive about that."