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Sunflower Showdown dominated by off-court issues

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There's a game to be played too!

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is already here, whether you're mentally prepared for it or not. The intrepid JT previewed Kansas State's opening day matchup against UC-Riverside ahead of last night's game. SPOILER ALERT: the Wildcats won!

Meanwhile, here's sprotsGAT with a reminder to the purple faithful to stay swanky, keep it posh, and Make America Great Again.

Kansas State and Kansas will tip off at 5 PM at Bramlage Coliseum in the latest episode of the Sunflower Showdown.

This rivalry has been dominated by apologies lately, but there's still a game to be played, and the Wildcats are confident they can hold their own against the Jayhawks (Kevin Haskin, Topeka Capital-Journal).

Kansas' relative weakness on defense could work in the Wildcats' favor, although Kansas State's shooting struggles won't help matters (Jesse Newell, Kansas City Star).

As noted in the KC Star's three-minute preview capsule, a win today would be critical for Kansas to win the Big 12 regular season title. Again. Yawn.

The talk around this game is mostly not about the game (Gary Bedore, Lawrence Journal-World). For one, there's last year's court-storming incident, although the Jayhawks insist that is not a focus for the team (Newell, KC Star via Hutchinson News), although the Wildcats players are encouraging fans to storm the court if Kansas State wins (Kellis Robinett, Wichita Eagle via Salina.com). For another, there's this year's (in)famous Star Trek-themed band formation, which will be drawn into sharp focus by Kansas State students waving Enterprise-themed newspapers in the stands today (Pete Grathoff, KC Star). Finally, Kansas State players are still upset about the Brannen Greene dunk at the end of the last Kansas State-Kansas game, and intend to use it as motivation (Robinett, KC Star via Garden City Telegram).

Whatever else happens in this game, the infamous chant that Kansas State is now famous (notorious?) will not be heard if Kansas State administrators can help it. The sportsmanship pledge will be strictly enforced during the game, with violators subject to ejection (Zac Al-Khateeb, Sporting News). Remember, #FAMILY, stay swanky!

The baseball team opened the season in the best possible way, beating UC-Riverside 1-0 yesterday, and posting the program's first opening game shutout since 2007.

The win was spurred by a great performance from senior Corey Fischer who held Riverside to just three hits in five-plus innings. Junior Jordan Floyd pitched in relief allowing just a single hit in the eighth inning. With bases loaded in the ninth, however, Colton Kalmus had to save the game and seal the victory with a fly out to right field.

The two teams meet again today at 3 PM, with Parker Rigler getting his first career Division I start.