Kansas vs. Kansas State prediction and game preview. The Jayhawks look to bounce back from a disappointing home loss by defeating the rival Wildcats on the road Monday night.
Kansas vs. Kansas State Game Preview
When: Monday, Feb. 6 – 9 p.m. ET
Where: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, Kan.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
UPDATE: Carlton Bragg has been reinstated and will play against Kansas State.
Kansas fought off distractions from Carlton Bragg’s suspension and alleged vandalism issues surrounding Lagerald Vick and Josh Jackson to post statement victories over Kentucky and Baylor. But with a 54-game home winning streak on the line Saturday, the Jayhawks stumbled against Iowa State and couldn’t shake the pesky Cyclones, who went into Allen Fieldhouse and earned a 92-89 overtime victory.
It’s not as if they haven’t faced adversity before and bounced back. Not everything went smoothly during they’re 18-game winning streak, especially Jan. 3 when the Jayhawks needed a Svi Mykhailiuk’s layup at the buzzer to beat Kansas State, 90-88. And that only happened because the referees didn’t notice Mykhailiuk walking across half the state before he released the shot.
The Wildcats were robbed of at least overtime and a shot to pull off the upset, and they proceeded to lose five of their following eight games. But Saturday’s 56-54 upset of No. 2 Baylor snapped a three-game skid and put Kansas State right back onto the NCAA Tournament bubble with a 16-7 record and 5-5 mark in the Big 12.
Kamau Stokes has scored in double figures in 13 straight games and had 13 points against in the first meeting with the Jayhawks. Kansas State has lost four straight games against Kansas, but it proved at Allen Fieldhouse it is capable of playing with its more successful rival.
Kansas Wins If …
… it doesn’t dwell on Saturday’s defeat. The Jayhawks actually played a solid game and shot 50 percent from the field. The biggest issues were that they committed a season-worst 21 turnovers and allowed the Cyclones to hit 18 3-pointers as they wracked up three 20-point scorers. But Frank Mason III added another sterling performance to his national player of the year resume with 32 points while shooting 9 of 11 from the field – 4 of 5 from long range – and 10 of 12 from the free throw line. The Jayhawks also held a plus-20 rebounding advantage. There isn’t much to hang their head about.
Kansas State Wins If …
… it stays composed. The Jayhawks will be trying to forget about Saturday as the Wildcats want to build off the momentum from their big victory and use the home crowd to its advantage. But they nearly fell apart against Baylor after jumping out to a 15-point halftime lead. Records go out the window whenever Kansas visits Bramlage, with six straight meetings there being decided by eight points or fewer and the Wildcats winning two of the last three. Jackson played one of his better games in the first matchup this season while scoring 22 points, grabbing nine boards and shooting 9 of 15 from the field, so Kansas State will need to find answers for Jackson and Mason if it plans to pull off this upset.
Matchup To Watch
Mason vs. Stokes
Bill Self and Bruce Weber likely both realize this is the matchup that will decide the outcome. They’re the most important players for each team with the ball being in their hands to start nearly every offensive possession. If Mason plays like he did Saturday, the Wildcats won’t stand a chance. But if Stokes can help force Mason into five turnovers like he had in the first matchup, things could turn Kansas State’s way.
Spread: Kansas -3.5
Kansas vs. Kansas State Prediction
Bramlage is going to be rocking with the Wildcats looking to add another signature victory in order to boost their chances for the NCAA Tournament. But Mason and Jackson will prove to be too much, and they’ll help Kansas pull away in the final two minutes.
Kansas vs. Kansas State final score prediction: Kansas 79, Kansas State 71