The hiatus didn’t last long.
Kansas, which had been ranked in every poll for the last 12 seasons, is back in after being out for one week. The Jayhawks will take their No. 23 ranking into Manhattan, Kan., for a matchup with Kansas State.
Kansas (15-7, 9-5 Big 12) picked up three wins last week, including a dominating 78-66 victory over then-No. 23 Oklahoma State, followed by back-to-back wins over Iowa State. On Saturday, the Jayhawks survived a 10-of-35 shooting first half in the second game against Iowa State, only to pull away with a better second half and won 64-50.
“It was brutal,” head coach Bill Self said after the game. “We got off to a terrible start again.
“I told the guys (at half), ‘We can’t be worse, but we also have a tie game and they have 15 turnovers. If (former KU coach) Dr. (Phog) Allen and (former Oklahoma State coach) Mr. (Henry) Iba were playing a game in 1942, that would have even set ball back a little bit offensively. That’s what I told them.”
He added, “I also told them, ‘Right now it’s 0-0. It’s a tie game at halftime. The game starts right now.’ “
Kansas’ victory over Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday snapped a five-game road losing streak. While the Jayhawks are 10-1 at home, they’re just 3-5 away from Allen Fieldhouse.
While Kansas has not struggled as much as fellow blue bloods like Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky, the Jayhawks have not been as dominant as usual.
“I don’t dislike where we are at,” Self said. “We’d lost five in a row on the road, but one was Tennessee. If you get that one at Oklahoma State that you should have got, we’d be sitting as good as we possibly could. It’s a different year. There are a lot of challenges and the guys have been great (during pandemic). We went through our rut. Hopefully our rut is over. Hopefully we’ll now play our best ball, keeping momentum, moving in the right direction.”
They can expect to get a little healthier against the Wildcats, at least if history has anything to do with it. Kansas has lost in Manhattan just five times since 1983. And while Kansas has struggled, by Kansas standards, K-State has struggled this season by any standards. The Wildcats have lost 12 straight games, a school record for one season.
The Wildcats (5-17, 1-12) have showed slight signs of life lately. Their last loss came by less than 10 points, including coming back from a 20-point second-half deficit at Oklahoma State Saturday and getting to within four points.
“To our guys’ credit, they cut it back to four,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “I thought our offense in the second half was what it’s been in the past few weeks. We just didn’t make enough plays that would’ve kept us in there.”
–Field Level Media