KANSAS JAYHAWKS (16-1)
at KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (15-2)
Fred Bramlage Coliseum - Manhattan, KS
Tip-off: Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kansas -3.5, Total: 128
Surging in-state rivals will square off on Tuesday night when No. 3 Kansas visits No. 11 Kansas State in the "Sunflower Showdown."
The Jayhawks have not lost a game since Nov. 13, winning 15 straight contests (7-7 ATS), while the Wildcats haven't fallen since Dec. 15, prevailing in eight consecutive games (4-3 ATS). Kansas is just 1-2 ATS on the road this season, while Kansas State is 5-2 ATS in Manhattan this season, and has won 12 straight SU at home dating to last season. But the Jayhawks have completely dominated this rivalry, winning 44 of the past 47 meetings and going 22-2 SU all-time at Bramlage Coliseum.
Can Kansas once again win in the "Sunflower Showdown" on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts are 7-5 ATS (58%) in the past two days and have a collective 52.0% ATS mark (251-232-8) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who sits at 58% ATS (57-42) for the season, while StatFox Dave is 11-8 ATS (58%) in the past six days and 54.4% ATS (93-78-3) on the year. Dave is 7-2-1 ATS (78%) since Nov. 24 when he mentions the word "hammer" in his analysis, including 5-2 ATS (71%) when he uses the term "Hammertime." StatFox Brian is 9-7 ATS (56%) since Jan. 12, while StatFox Scott is 2-0 ATS in the past two days.
The Jayhawks really don't have a weakness, especially offensively. They shoot 48.4% from the floor (18th in D-I) and place among the top-40 teams in the nation in scoring (76.0 PPG), assists (15.9 APG) and rebounds (39.1 RPG). Freshman SG Ben McLemore (16.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG) has been on fire since Big 12 play began with 19.0 PPG on 60% FG in the four games. C Jeff Withey (13.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.6 BPG) has also played well this month with 11.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 3.8 BPG in the five games. He had a huge series versus KSU last year with eight points, nine rebounds and six blocks in the home win, and then a near-triple-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks in Manhattan last February. Senior SG Travis Releford (12.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG) has scored in double-figures in 14 straight games, and had a double-double (16 pts, 11 reb) in the home win over Kansas State last season. Senior PG Elijah Johnson (9.7 PPG, 5.0 APG) needs to take better care of the basketball, as he has just 17 assists and 15 turnovers in Big 12 play this year. He's also shooting a career-worst 40.6% FG and coming off a 1-of-11 shooting debacle in Texas on Saturday. In last year's series with KSU, Johnson made just 3-of-16 FG, finishing with a combined eight points in the two meetings.
Kansas State's offense (69.3 PPG on 43.1% FG) isn't nearly as potent as its opponent, but the Wildcats rank 23rd in the nation in assists (16.1 APG) and 36th in rebounding (38.9 RPG). Senior swingman Rodney McGruder is the lone double-digit scorer at 15.5 PPG, and he has at least 13 points in each of his past eight contests. In his four games in Big 12 play, McGrduer is averaging 21.5 PPG on 53.2% FG and 48.4% threes (15-of-31). But he did not shoot well against the Jayhawks last season, making just 10-of-29 FG (34.5%) and 1-of-7 threes in the two defeats. Ten other Wildcats log more than 10 minutes per game this season. PG Angel Rodriguez (9.2 PPG, 4.6 APG) is coming off a poor offensive game in Saturday's 69-60 win over Oklahoma (4-of-14 FG), but he had nine assists, three steals and just one turnover in that victory. Junior SG Will Spradling (8.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG) had 15 points against the Sooners, but made just 6-of-20 shots (1-of-9 threes) in the two losses to KU last season. Sophomore F Thomas Gipson (7.1 PPG) leads the team with 5.9 RPG in just 19.7 MPG of action. He needs to stay out of foul trouble though to help out guarding Withey Tuesday night, as Gipson has committed four fouls in four of his past five games.