Kansas Jayhawks vs. Kansas State Wildcats Pick & Prediction MARCH 5th 2024

Kansas State and No. 14 Kansas have something to prove heading into their game Tuesday night in Lawrence, Kan.

To themselves maybe more than to anyone else.

Kansas State (17-12, 7-9 Big 12) lost a crucial game Saturday on the road against Cincinnati. The Wildcats trailed 67-54 with 6:51 to play before using an 18-4 run to grab the lead with 1:16 left. But Simas Lukosius hit a 3-pointer with 10.6 seconds left to propel Cincinnati to a 74-72 victory.

The Wildcats saw the ball — and maybe their NCAA Tournament hopes — slip through their fingers following their 19th turnover of the game on their final possession.

“In our league, every night is like this,” coach Jerome Tang said. “It’s tough when you are on the short end of it. But we wouldn’t want it any other way than competing against the best coaches and the best players in the best conference in America.

“Hats off to Cincinnati. They did a great job … and they made a big play. That is what happens in this league. Players make plays.”

Kansas State is hard to figure out. The Wildcats have set a Division I record with seven overtime wins this season, but they’ve also lost seven games by single digits.

“We’ve been here before,” guard Tylor Perry said. “We have just got to keep going. We have been in those situations plenty of times, and we have been behind. We have seen every type of game this year, and you have just got to keep fighting.

“We spotted them (Bearcats) double-digit points twice in the second half, and we made runs both times. When we figure out how to stop those lows, it is going to take us to a higher level.”

Kansas (21-8, 9-7) is in no danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, although the Jayhawks’ streak of never being below a No. 4 seed under coach Bill Self is in jeopardy.

The Jayhawks have more conference losses than in any season under Self. After Kansas’ 82-74 loss at Baylor on Saturday, the Jayhawks would have been seeded sixth in the Big 12 tournament had it started then. They’re tied for fourth with Texas Tech and BYU, and those teams currently hold tiebreakers against Kansas.

A loss to BYU on Tuesday night, which snapped a 19-game home winning streak, was particularly puzzling. The Jayhawks led by 12 in the second half but saw BYU hit 7-of-15 3-pointers in the second half to mount the comeback.

Self remains upbeat, even after the loss to Baylor.

“I actually thought we did some good things,” he said. “The thing about it is with people, in general, we are all guilty of this… we only focus on the end result, as opposed to the actions and everything that goes into it. (Like) putting yourself in a position to have success.”

The next opportunity to have success will be Tuesday night against their in-state rival. Both teams will look to get back on track.

–Field Level Media

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