Bramlage Coliseum — Manhattan, Kan.
Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 — 6:05 PM CST
I don't think it's possible for me to top the inspirational stuff I wrote for the Texas game, so I'm not even going to try.
I just want to make a simple observation: Regardless of whether we win or lose tonight, we're going to have an amazing season. We're on track for double-digit conference wins, and a Top 4 seed in both the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. We return most of the team next year and figure to be even better.
But just like with the Texas game, there's an opportunity here to take a step beyond that. If you've been following BIG 12 OUTLOOK, you know that we're on track for about a 12-4 finish and they're on track for 15-1 or so. In other words, tonight is a must-win game if we're serious about competing for the Big 12 championship.
We're really good right now. With a team effort tonight, we could become elite. It will be fascinating to see which path this team and this coach choose. In some ways, the die already is cast, because the game plan is set and practice basically is over. Now we get to see how it all will play out.
For my previous analysis of the Jayhawks, click here. To see K-State's game notes, follow the jump.
P.S. I'm pushing this early today so people can discuss College Gameday in the morning if they want to.
From the K-State Sports Information Department:
Kansas State (17-3, 4-2 Big 12) renews one of the oldest rivalries in college basketball on Saturday, when the Wildcats play host to No. 2 Kansas (19-1, 5-0 Big 12) at Bramlage Coliseum, at 6 p.m.
The rivalry is the seventh-most continuously played (103 consecutive seasons) in the country and the second-most continuously played west of the Mississippi River.
The game's festivities will kick off early in the day, when the matchup will play host to ESPN's "College Gameday" on Saturday morning for the second time and for the first time in Manhattan, and the crew of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis and Digger Phelps will broadcast live on the Bramlage Coliseum floor at 10 a.m.
The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN's Saturday Primetime with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter) on the call.
A national audience will get a chance to view the rivalry at its highest level in more than 50 years, and the two teams will clash for the first time since 1958 when both are ranked in the nation's Top 15.
Overall, this will be just the 12th meeting between the state's top two flagship universities when both are ranked in the Top 25, including the ninth when both are in the Top 15.
Overall, the Jayhawks own a 176-91 advantage in the all-time series, including a 72-44 mark in Manhattan.
This will mark the first time that the two teams have met when ranked since No. 22 K-State knocked off No. 2 Kansas, 84-75, on Jan. 30, 2008.
K-State stayed in the Top 15 in both major polls for the fourth consecutive week on Monday, when the Wildcats dropped one spot to No. 11 in the Associated Press poll and four slots to No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.
It marks the first time that the program has ranked among the AP Top 15 for four consecutive weeks since the 1961-62 squad was ranked among the AP Top 10 for 14 consecutive weeks from Dec. 19, 1961 to March 13, 1962.
The squad rebounded from its first loss at Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 23 with a 76-74 win at No. 24 Baylor on Tuesday night.
The victory improved the team's record to 17-3 overall, which ranks as the fourth-best start after 20 games in school history and the best since the 1961-62 team opened with an 18-2 mark.
It marks just the sixth time in school history that a team has won at least 17 of its first 20 games.
The Wildcats got back on the winning track Tuesday night, when they ended Baylor's 11-game homecourt winning streak (10-0 mark this season) with a 76-74 victory at the Ferrell Center.
The squad shot 50 percent from the field, including 55 percent from 3-point range, to earn its first win over the Bears since 2007 and the first at the Ferrell Center since 2004.
It marked the 20th consecutive game that Pullen scored in double figures, including the ninth 20-point outing of the season.
Rookie Rodney McGruder scored in double figures for the fourth straight game with 10 points off the bench.