Sunflower Showdown: Kansas State Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks

No. 22 Kansas State Wildcats at No. 15 Kansas Jayhawks
Wednesday, 1/4/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  Kansas -8.5
Current Betting Line:  Kansas -8
Opening Total:  138.5
Current Total:  139
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Kansas Jayhawks have dominated their in-state rivals inside Allen Fieldhouse

Kansas State is ready to face its arch rival inside Allen Fieldhouse in the Sunflower Showdown, coming in on a six-game win streak.  “There’s three major challenges,” stated Wildcats head coach Frank Martin.  “Bill Self and his coaching staff, their players and the culture they built.”  The Wildcats have won three straight on the road dating back to last season, but have just one win in the last 17 meetings at tonight’s venue.  Kansas State is 9-9 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons.

The Wildcats are 49-49 all-time in conference openers, including a 16-31 mark when starting on the road.  Kansas State is 5-10 in Big 12 Conference openers, including a 2-8 mark on the road.  The program probably wishes it never left non-conference play under Martin, posting a 58-12 mark in such contests.  Offensively, the team is incredibly balanced, with seven players averaging six or more points.  Rodney McGruder is the leading scorer, averaging 12.5 points per game, leading four players that average double figures.

Kansas has won 20-straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season, while also winning five-straight Big 12 home openers dating back to the 2006-07 season.  “It’s good for our league to be good,” stated Jayhawks head coach Bill Self.  “I think our players like it, too.”  The Jayhawks average 76.0 points per game and allow 59.8 points, giving them a scoring margin of +16.2 a contest.  All-American candidate Thomas Robinson is the only player in the conference averaging a double-double, coming into tonight averaging 17.7 points and 12.2 rebounds.  Kansas is 21-16 ATS at home the past two-plus campaigns.

The Jayhawks have won 42 of the last 45 meetings with the Wildcats dating back to the 1994 season, including a 27-3 mark in regular-season meetings.  Kansas has out-rebounded 12 of 13 opponents this season, including the last 11 games.  Senior Tyshawn Taylor is definitely back after undergoing knee surgery on Dec. 11, scoring 18 points in the team’s latest contest against North Dakota, which was the most points he’s scored since netting 24 points versus South Florida.

Bettors will likely back the Jayhawks due to the home team being 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, while the Wildcats are 4-12 ATS on the road versus winning home teams.

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