By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky and Kansas State played four common opponents this season — Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Georgia and Kansas. Kentucky went 5-1 in those games while Kansas State finished 2-5.
Kansas beat Vanderbilt and Georgia. It lost just 73-72 at Kansas but was routed 89-51 at West Virginia (it also lost 77-69 to West Virginia at home). Kansas also came back to win 70-56 at Kansas State and then lost 83-67 to Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament. Kentucky lost 65-61 to Kansas in the Champions Classic.
Kansas State (24-11) beat Creighton in the first round and then beat UMBC 50-43 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and did not have leading scorer Dean Wade, a 6-10 junior forward, in either game. He averages 16.5 points per game and shoots 55 percent overall and 44 percent from 3-point range. He leads the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game and is second in steals and blocked shots. He also adds 2.8 assists per game.
He’s missed the last three games with a left foot injury but told the Wichita Eagle he was “98 percent sure” he would play against Kentucky.
Kansas State was 3-9 against RPI top-50 teams in the regular season. Kentucky was 7-9 mark. Kansas State was 10-11 against the RPI top 100. Kentucky was 15-10.
KenPom has Kentucky as a 3.5-point favorite in a game that will be played at a much slower pace than the UK win over Buffalo, something that could stymie Hamidou Diallo after his terrific game against Buffalo.
Kansas State is 242nd in the country averaging 71.6 points per game shots only 34 percent from 3-point range. However, Kansas State is only giving up 66.9 points per game.