Kansas won for the 16th straight time, despite scoring a season-low 59 points. The ‘Hawks haven’t scored more than 64 points in its last four starts, but are 4-0 in those games. Why? Because they are delightfully stingy. In 12 of its 18 games this year KU has held its opponents under 60 points. It’s the third straight game that they’ve held K-State to 55 points or fewer.
KU out rebounded its rival by 13 and forced them to 35 percent shooting. But what was most telling was K-State taking 30 three-point attempts. Sure, some of that was K-State playing from behind, but the ‘Cats threw up 1`6 triples in the first half alone. That’s Kansas closing off driving lanes and forcing KSU to take shots they don’t always want to take.
As it is in football for the Wildcats, it’s more for the ‘Hawks in hoops—a rivalry in name only. Yes, the game was played in a fever-pitched environment and it was fairly tight throughout (although KU essentially lead for the last 38:26), but the fact of the matter is that Kansas has won at Bramlage Coliseum in 23 of its last 25 trips.
The Wichita Heights product is starting to get there. He played 18 minutes last night, scoring eighth points, pulling four rebounds and blocking a shot. For KU to get deep into March, Ellis has to be a player that Bill Self trusts. The Jayhawks aren’t deep and February is a real grind, it’s all hands on deck heading to March.
As for the ‘Cats---
It’s an opportunity lost, especially at home where they had won 12 straight. As is generally the case, KU is the conference gold standard-the question is where KSU fits in the next rung. If they finish at the top of a group that includes Baylor, Oklahoma and Iowa State—they’re going to have a nice seed and a chance to win some games in the NCAA Tournament.
Shocks on the road---
Wichita State heads into the Ozarks for a matchup with Missouri State tonight. Two years ago this game decided the Missouri Valley Conference title, now MSU is in a total rebuilding phase. Head Coach Paul Lusk starts 3 freshman, including Wichita’s Gavin Thurman and has seven 1dst year players on his roster. The Bears have a couple of conference wins, but won exactly zero games against division one opponents in the non-conference. In other words, WSU should be able to impose its will tonight. Besides, the Shockers continue to be one of the toughest roadshows in the country under Gregg Marshall.