Game: Kansas Jayhawks @ Kansas State Wildcats
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Odds: Jayhawks -2, Wildcats +2
On Tuesday night in Manhattan, Kansas, the “Octagon of Doom” will be jumping as No. 2 Kansas travels to No. 11 Kansas State in a matchup for first place in the Big 12 Conference. For once, the game has significance beyond the intrastate rivalry. At the very least, the winner will hold a portion of the conference lead. In the series, Kansas has won seven games in a row and 15 of the previous 16.
Kansas State (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) suffered its first conference defeat of the year on Saturday at No. 17 TCU, falling 82-68 to the Horned Frogs. At halftime, the Wildcats trailed by 14 points and never mounted a serious challenge.
Markquis Nowell had a bad game for K-State, scoring only 16 points, his lowest total of the conference season, and committing six more turnovers than his four assists. He will have to play much better if the Wildcats are going to have a chance at the upset.
On Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas (16-1, 5-0 Big 12) held off a valiant effort by No. 14 Iowa State. With the 62-60 victory, Kansas moved into first place in the conference, one game ahead of K-State, Iowa State, and No. 10 Texas.
Prior to hosting the reigning national champions, there is little time for reorganization for Kansas State. Wildcats head coach Jerome Tang doesn’t believe his team will experience a post-competition hangover. No one in the Big 12 expects to go unbeaten. Six of the conference’s 10 teams are ranked in the AP Top 25.
Kansas F Jalen Wilson understands that the Jayhawks cannot look past Kansas State. Wilson scored 16 points in the Jayhawks’ win over Iowa State on Saturday. Kansas crushed the Cyclones’ best effort on Saturday, taking the lead with 11.7 seconds left on K.J. Adams Jr.’s game-winning jumper and then holding off Caleb Grill’s three-point attempt. On Saturday, Kansas hosted a 125th-anniversary basketball celebration with more than 160 former players, coaches, and staff members in attendance.
The Jayhawks are 16-2, have won their last ten straight, and are ranked No. 2 in the nation. Kansas is 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS in the last ten games against Kansas State. The Wildcats are 15-2 and have won nine of their last ten games. They have won eight straight at home and KSU is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
Both teams can score. The Jayhawks and the Wildcats are both among the top 60 scoring teams in the nation. Kansas averages 77.8 points per game while Kansas State averages a point more (78.8). While five of the last six Wildcat games have gone Over the total, the Under is 4-2 in Kansas’ last six games. For the season, both teams have a 10-7 O/U record.
Tonight is the first of two meetings this season. The two teams will play in exactly two weeks on Jan. 31 at Kansas. Both games will likely play a role in who wins the Big 12.
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