By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - January 29.
That's today: the 150th birthday for the State of Kansas, and, the day that the Kansas State Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks will play hoops for the 271st time. The series is the sixth-longest in NCAA basketball.
KU leads in the series 180-90, which includes W's in the last six games. Since the start of Big 12 play, the Jayhawks hold a 33-2 strangle hold on the rivalry.
Asked how soon he learned of the importance of this Sunflower Showdown, K-State coach Frank Martin said it came even before he coached a game as an assistant with Bob Huggins.
"I was in a hospital bed and the doctor was asking me how recruiting was going and if we were going to beat Kansas," said Martin, who is 1-6 versus KU. "That told me that's a pretty important game around here."
The coaches will also recognize Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend.
Tipoff is 6 p.m., in Allen Fieldhouse. It will be telecast by ESPN. On hand for the telecast will be Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and Erin Andrews.
For the record, K-State is 2-4 in the Big 12 and 14-7 overall; No. 6 Kansas is 4-1 in the league and 19-1 for the year.
College GameDay visits KU
On hand at Allen Fieldhouse will be ESPN's College GameDay cast of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis and Digger Phelps, who will preview the Kansas-Kansas State matchup starting at 10 a.m.
A year ago, GameDay came to Bramlage Coliseum with the game having the highest viewer rating of the year for any college basketball game.
"KU is either 1-2-3 every week of every year, and our program has gotten better and our style of play is fun to watch, which generates interest," said Martin. "This game is not getting put on ESPN again this year by mistake."
Tip-off for TP
K-State fans are encouraged to help the Wildcat student-athletes support the Manhattan Emergency Shelter in Manhattan in the first-ever "Tip-off for TP."
Fans are asked to bring packages or rolls of toilet paper, paper towels and trash bags to the women's game today at 2 against Kansas, and to Wednesday's men's game against Nebraska which starts at 7.
Collection bins will be located at each of the main entrances to Bramlage Coliseum. Fans unable to contribute on game day can still help by bringing donations to the Manhattan Emergency Shelter, Inc. at 416 South 4th Street, between the hours of 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. seven days a week.
K-State completes the first half of the Big 12 season by hosting Nebraska on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. tipoff in Bramlage Coliseum.
The Wildcats will complete the week at Iowa State one week from today.