(10) Kansas (24-1) at Kansas State (16-9)

Fair Currently: Manhattan, KS
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Mon Feb 14, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kansas may be second in the Big 12, but Kansas State coach Frank Martin feels the Jayhawks are the No. 1 team in the country. They now own that official designation heading into their contest in Manhattan on Monday night.

Kansas will again try to prove it belongs atop the AP Poll by continuing its utter dominance of the Wildcats in the Sunflower Showdown.

The Jayhawks (24-1, 9-1) are one game behind Texas for the conference lead. Their only defeat of the season came at the hands of the Longhorns, 74-63 on Jan. 22.

Top-ranked Ohio State suffered its first defeat of the season Saturday, allowing Kansas to claim the No. 1 spot for the first time since the end of last season, when they eventually were upset by Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Martin is convinced the Jayhawks deserve the top ranking.

“(Kansas is) the No. 1 team in the country. And they’re the No. 1 team in our league,” he said. “I understand Texas is in first place. But no one has beaten (Kansas) for a conference title in my years in this league. So they’re the best team in our league, so until someone does so, they will stay that way.”

Kansas has outscored opponents by an average of 18.4 points during a six-game winning streak, including an 89-66 home victory over Iowa State on Saturday.

“I want to be No. 1,” said forward Marcus Morris, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds against the Cyclones. “I want to have that chip on our shoulder every time we go out. I want to be the one that gets everybody’s best shot because I believe we can take it.”

The Jayhawks have dominated their in-state rival winning 42 of the last 44 meetings overall and 26 of 27 in Manhattan. Their last loss in the series came Jan. 30, 2008, at Kansas State.

Kansas limited the Wildcats (16-9, 4-6) to 37.3-percent shooting in a 90-66 victory at Lawrence last month. Junior forward Markieff Morris had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Jayhawks, while twin brother Marcus Morris grabbed the same amount of boards and had 10 points.

Marcus Morris had 18 points and eight rebounds to lead Kansas to the Big 12 tournament title with a 72-64 win over Kansas State last March.

The twins will likely be key again as the Wildcats lost two forwards since they last faced Kansas. Junior Freddy Asprilla and sophomore Wally Judge both left the program.

“They have lost pieces. But they’re still going to give it their best shot,” Marcus Morris said. “They play hard just like we play hard. Their fans are going to be juiced. We’re going to be No. 1 going in there. It’s going to be a tough environment. Basically, it’s going to be a man’s game.”

Kansas State nearly took some positive momentum into this matchup, but Rodney McGruder’s 3-pointer came slightly after the buzzer and the Wildcats fell 58-56 at Colorado on Saturday.

Jacob Pullen will likely need an improved effort after making 4 of 12 shots and finishing with 12 points against the Buffaloes. The senior guard, fourth in the conference with 18.0 points per game, scored 21 at Kansas last month.

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Monday, Feb 14