1983. 40 years ago.
That was the last time that your Kansas State Wildcats were able to sweep the regular season series with the Kansas Jayhawks. It came as the 4th & 5th wins of a streak of five-straight wins for the Wildcats under Jack Hartman. KU would then go on their first significant run in the series, winning 10-straight, before Lon Kruger broke the streak in 1988.
Of course 1988 is maybe best known for the Showdown being played four times in one season, with the Cats and Hawks splitting the games 2-2. Except that the Hawks got the last laugh on their way to playing Oklahoma, also for the fourth time, in the National Championship game. The last time K-State beat KU twice in a year was the following season, when the Cats won in Lawrence to end January and then later in March in KC in the Big 8 Tournament.
So not only are these Wildcats remaking history with their impressive run to open the season (best 21-game start since 1972-73, when the Cats also started 18-3), they have a legitimate shot at making more “new” history and picking up their first series sweep in 40 years.
Of course, having a legitimate shot doesn’t mean that it will be anything close to easy. No game in Allen Fieldhouse is “easy” for the road team. It will be as loud and rowdy as ever, especially with revenge on the minds of players and fans. And KU is still a very talented team led by a coach that has won national championships and will eventually end up in the Hall of Fame.
Even a game that mirrors the one in Manhattan will be a major improvement for the Wildcats, as the Cats have seen more 20+ point blowouts in Lawrence than games decided by a single possession in the last 30 years or so — or even since the last time K-State won in Lawrence — including each of the last three seasons (we’ll count last year’s 19-point loss). The closest K-State came in the last 15 years was the 1-point loss in 2018, and rumor has it that Svi is still taking steps to this day.
So it’s time to change that. Win or lose, the Wildcats need to play like they belong in Allen Fieldhouse. Jerome Tang needs to have his team believe that they can win a game in Lawrence. At the very least, K-State needs to play like they are no longer scared of the Phog.
Let’s turn some fans on and blow out the haze. We’d like to party like it’s 1983.
Tonight’s matchup is scheduled for a 7:02pm CT tip at AFH in Lawrence and will be carried on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with Jon Sciambi (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst), and Kris Budden (sideline reporter) on the call (it may not be on a big network, but it’s being produced like one....). You’ll also be able to hear the game online at K-StateSports.com (and via the Varsity Network app), plus parts of the K-State Sports Radio Network and on SiriusXM 135 or 199 with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (analyst) calling the action over there.
Hey, are you on Discord? We are now, too! Feel free to join us! (Make sure you click the reaction button on the rules notice though, or you won’t see anything.) We’ll have a game thread there as well!