The first basketball edition of the Sunflower Showdown is tonight in Allen Fieldhouse. Both Kansas and K-State enter with much different teams this year, but the rivalry remains the same.
Last year we had two top 20 matchups for the showdown and a split between the Jayhawks and Wildcats. Those are now just memories made that add fuel to the fire of this in-state showdown that’s been played nearly 300 times
:Going into a hostile environment we’ve gotta be ready to do something that hasn’t been done in a lot of years,” Wildcats junior guard Cartier Diarra said.
“More than spoken words, you know, Sunflower Showdown, just gotta respect every opponent and play as hard as we can like we do every game,” Kansas forward David McCormack said.
Kansas leads the series in games played at AFH 49-18, but numbers matter less when you step on the court and the environment, especially in Lawrence, takes center stage.
“The crowd is different, you probably can’t hear plays so my young guys, everybody needs to understand that it’s going to be a lot of signs and we need to be able to read that and execute and still finish the game,” Diarra preached.
For those newcomers on both sides, there’s only so much preparation to be done for a rivalry, until you’re on the court, it’s all word of mouth
“I hear the guys talking about it, it’s a big game, rivalry game, obviously. I know they just beat West Virginia so it’s going to be a good game, just need to lock-in,” Kansas guard Isiah Moss, who transferred to KU for his final season, said.
Even those as well versed as Bill Self get a little more pep in their step when this one is next on the schedule.
“I’m excited, I love playing rivalry games and I think our players will too,” Self said.
No matter how many times someone has been a part of it, the mentality doesn’t change.
“Just be ready to fight.”