Saturday, January 13, 2018

Game day Breakdown: No. 12 KU basketball vs. Kansas State

With a hand in his face, Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts in the final bucket to give the Jayhawks a 90-88 win over Kansas State on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

With a hand in his face, Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) puts in the final bucket to give the Jayhawks a 90-88 win over Kansas State on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


No. 12 Kansas Jayhawks (13-3 overall, 3-1 Big 12) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (12-4 overall, 2-2 Big 12)

Time: 11 a.m. | Location: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas

TV: ESPN | Radio: IMG Jayhawk Radio Network

Log on to for our live game blog coverage and follow the staff on Twitter: @KUSports @mctait @TomKeeganLJW @bentonasmith @nightengalejr @chasenscott & @nickkrug

Keys for Kansas

1. Pressure the point

Whether it's Barry Brown, who exploded for 38 points — on just 17 shots — in K-State's most recent victory, or freshman Cartier Diarra, who played 37 minutes and recorded 17 points and four assists in that same game, the Wildcats will arrive in Lawrence still trying to get used to life without regular point guard Kamau Stokes.

Stokes, who missed the OSU game after suffering an injury last weekend, has the kind of experience, savvy and moxie required to come into Allen Fieldhouse and win.

A year ago, in the Wildcats' two-point heartbreaking loss to KU in Allen Fieldhouse, Stokes went for 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds and, at times, completely controlled the game on both ends of the floor.

With him out of the lineup, the pressure goes up on Brown and Diarra, and the Jayhawks would do well to harass them as much as possible.

Although that idea likely falls on Devonte' Graham the most, Marcus Garrett and even Malik Newman can also do their part. Plus, the Jayhawks can get creative with their defense and try to find ways to speed up either player in an attempt to force turnovers and turn this one into a track meet.

2. Match K-State's emotion

It seems a bit strange to say this, given the fact that the game is in Lawrence against one of KU's top rivals, but the Wildcats figure to come into this one with a little extra chip on their shoulders.

Whether that plays to their benefit or becomes a distraction remains to be seen, but there's no question that the Jayhawks are going to have to be prepared, both physically and mentally, to match the energy and emotion of a Kansas State team that believes it was cheated the last time these two teams played in Allen Fieldhouse.

In that one, instead of heading to overtime with momentum and a real chance to win, the Wildcats were sent home with a loss after Svi Mykhailiuk's bucket at the buzzer won the game for Kansas. Anyone who saw the play, including Mykhailiuk and KU coach Bill Self, believed the KU guard got away with a travel. And Self fully expects that the Wildcats will use that as an extra dose of motivation this time around.

“I have no idea what is talked about in other teams’ locker rooms,” Self said on this week's Big 12 teleconference, “but I know when we played Iowa State we talked about how the last time we played them in Allen Fieldhouse they made a shot to beat us.”

3. Up and at 'em

Today's game will be by far the earliest tipoff of the season for the Jayhawks, and although that does not change the objective in terms of game plan and X's and O's, it does alter the team's preparation.

Friday's practice was conducted at 11 a.m. in an attempt to get the Jayhawks used to the earlier-than-normal start. And sophomore guard Newman, who said he was “more of a night owl” but could “do the morning,” said he set three alarms to make sure he made it to practice on time.

Although Self certainly will not allow the early tip to be an excuse for his team, he emphasized the importance of finding focus quickly both before and after tipoff.

“An 11 o'clock game, to fans, might not seem like it's that early,” Self said. “But now you've got 7 o'clock pregame and all that stuff. But I think it's good to do that. I would rather play an 11 o'clock game than a 9 p.m. game.

“I don't know that 11 is the ideal time, but there's a chance that that could be a tipoff time later on, so it's good preparation. The good thing about 11 o'clock games, and I'm sure Bruce (Weber, Kansas State coach) would tell you the same thing — the winner gets to watch everybody else sweat.”

Mega Matchup

KU 3-point shooting vs. K-State 3-point defense

It's no secret that 3-point shooting is a serious weapon for this Kansas team. If on, the Jayhawks can bury anybody in the country in a hurry.

But did you know that the 3-point shooting matchup between these two teams pits the Big 12's most aggressive 3-point shooting team against the Big 12's best team at preventing its opponents from firing away from long distances?

KU enters today's game with a whopping 48 percent of its shots in Big 12 play having come from behind the 3-point line. Although that number might be a touch high in Self's eyes — he said after the Iowa State victory that his team was too reliant on the 3-point shot in that one — it has been effective, as the Jayhawks are shooting 41.4 percent from downtown and feature four players shooting 43.2 percent or better.

Kansas State, meanwhile, leads the Big 12 in preventing 3-point attempts, giving up just 31 percent of its total field goals allowed behind the 3-point arc.

Although both teams figure to scheme ways to play to their strengths in this area, the one that has more success stands to increase its chances tremendously.

“I think the big key is can we defend the 3-ball?” Weber said earlier this week. “Texas Tech did a great job of that. Washington did in their zone. They (KU) just really spread you, they go small ball, they get you all spread out and they've got the big fella inside that gives them an inside presence.”

Jayhawk Pulse

When discussing his first actual experience with the Sunflower Showdown rivalry, Newman on Friday said Graham told him earlier in the week that the battle would be like the Missouri game times 10.

“That would be accurate,” Self said. “It would definitely be times 10 from an exhibition game. If you go back in time, those are two pretty good, heated rivalries that were pretty similar. But, yeah, they would be considered, without any hesitation, our biggest rival. And I'm sure they look at us the same way so it'll be intense.”

With the Jayhawks coming off a close-call contest with last-place Iowa State, the idea that no game is a given is fresh in their minds. Add to that the juice from the rivalry and the added motivation the Wildcats surely have and it's easy to see this one being another too-close-for-comfort contest for the home fans, despite KU being an 11.5-point favorite in the eyes of Las Vegas.

The Jayhawks have won five straight in the series since losing two games to the Wildcats in three-game stretch from 2014 to 2015, with the average margin of victory in those wins of 11 points, including last year's one-possession wins.

Probable Starters

No. 12 Kansas

G – Devonte’ Graham, 6-2, 185, Sr.

G – Malik Newman, 6-3, 190, Soph.

G – Svi Mykhailiuk, 6-8, 205, Sr.

G – Lagerald Vick, 6-5, 175, Jr.

C – Udoka Azubuike, 7-0, 280, Soph.

Kansas State

G – Cartier Diarra, 6-4, 190, Fr.

G – Barry Brown, 6-3, 195, Jr.

G – Xavier Sneed, 6-5, 212, Soph.

F – Dean Wade, 6-10, 228, Jr.

F – Makol Mawien, 6-9, 225, Soph.


Bryce Landon 1 year ago

I don't care how we beat them as long as we beat them. I won't get to see it because I'll be at work.

Dave Miller 1 year ago

Just send them crawling back to Manhattan with their kitty kat tails tucked between their legs! Rock Chalk Jayhawk !!!!!

Yonatan Negash 1 year ago

Let's go, once again this is a MUST win for KU.

If you have to ask, it's a home game we can't afford to lose.

Home games have always had a psychological effect on KU and their opponents.

NOTE: This KSU team is unpredictable but beatable. Their four losses come at the hands of Arizona State by 2 (home game), West Virginia by 8 (home game), at Texas Tech by 16 and a home loss to Tulsa by 7.

Other outcomes to look forward to today :

West Virginia LOSS @ Texas Tech

Unlikely to happen but will be rooting for TCU to pull the upset against the Sooners.

Edward Daub 1 year ago

Yonatan, you grabbed my attention enough to make me Study the KSU Schedule and Results. The ASU Game was actually played in Las Vegas. Stokes (their PG) was injured in the 1st half at Texas Tech. With Stokes earlier in the B12, KSU beat ISU at Ames by 16 Points! KSU is Competitive (With Stokes)! They did beat OSU at Home (Without Stokes). Rock Chalk!

Yonatan Negash 1 year ago

I stand corrected.

Thanks for the clarification Edward.

Let's hope for a solid win today.

Bryson Stricker 1 year ago

I'd like to point out as well. Look at the absurd foul count against KSU in that ASU game. I'd almost say KSU should have won.

Marius Rowlanski 1 year ago

Again, I disagree that it is a MUST win. It's a big game but it still only the 5th game in conference.

Yonatan Negash 1 year ago

Must win, big game. Whatever, they needed a win vs the alternative.

Bottomline, KU cannot afford to lose another game at home this season.

Especially, this early.

Not sure you're tracking but we've already lost 3 home games.

Yonatan Negash 1 year ago

Hopeful we can get strong performances from the following:

Vick has to show up today, Let me repeat VICK has to play big today.

Malik's confidence should be pretty high following his performance last game

Mitch Lightfoot will be critical

Nick Kramer 1 year ago

We have a player who is making 70% of his shots and is 50 pounds heavier than any of their guys. I would think that getting him the ball would be one of the major keys of the game. In addition, you can pencil in rebounding as a key for every KU game from here forward.

Edward Daub 1 year ago

Keys for Kansas (Not Shorty's Cafe)

Pressure the Point. Great Point by Matt. Bill Self should prescribe a "Larger Dose" of Full Court Pressure against a "Stokeless" Wildcat Team!

Match KState's Emotion. C'mon Matt! Match? We need to Exceed to Succeed!

Up and At 'Em. A Pre-Game Breakfast of Green Eggs and Ham will Spark the Play of "Sam I Am"!

Glad I Live in West Virginia. I have until 12 Noon EST to Shovel Snow. Heading to Morgantown Monday Afternoon. Rock Chalk!

Robert Brock 1 year ago

Wade will probably score 30+ points in this game. ‘Buike needs to figure out how to defend without fouling. Not there yet.

Marius Rowlanski 1 year ago

That's one prediction you can throw in the trash.

Gerry Butler 1 year ago

Well one thing for sure - -or pretty sure, we won't or don't have to listen to all these wine babies from the other teams in the Big 12 this year talk about how the referees favor KU and get screwed at KU with how many more free throws we shoot then them - -cause that AIN'T happening - So what's the excuse this year?

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