THE SCOUT: K-State travels to struggling Kansas on senior night |  K-State Sports

THE SCOUT: K-State travels to struggling Kansas on senior night | K-State Sports

Tuesday’s Sunflower Showdown comes with both teams coming off road losses. Kansas lost at Baylor and K-State at Cincinnati.

Both teams underperformed preseason expectations. The Jayahwks lost seven conference games for the first time in the Bill Self era, and K-State is on pace to miss the NCAA Tournament in Jerome Tang’s second season.

Jayhawk senior Kevin McCullar returned from injury Saturday and has missed four of the last five games. Kansas has two streaks on the line going into Tuesday night: They haven’t lost on Senior Night in 40 years and haven’t dropped back-to-back home games in 34 years.

K-State, meanwhile, is keeping its chances in the NCAA tournament slim. They have to win their last two games of the regular season, which is a tall order because they are both against ranked teams. The Wildcats haven’t won at Allen Fieldhouse since 2006. Winning at Kansas is tough for any team, especially when you’re rivals.

3-point shooting

The 3-point shooting of these teams is the complete opposite. K-State takes a lot of threes and Kansas doesn’t take many. Kansas ranks last in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage and 11th at 31.4 3-point percentage per BartTorvik.com. K-State’s 3-point defense is still the best in the Big 12 and ranks eighth in 3-point percentage allowed, according to Bart Torvik. Johnny Furfee is the best 3-point shooter for Kansas this season, and Dajuan Harris is shooting at a good percentage but not taking much. Kansas is shooting four percent better at home than on the road. K-State will have to contend with Furphy and McCullar Jr, who can both get hot from three. 3-point defense was good, but will need to be at an elite level in front of a loud crowd. Bart Torvik is an analytics website that provides rankings, statistics, charts and tables for every college basketball game, including a breakdown of every player’s stats.

K-State has shot from three much better in the last three games and is vastly improved from the previous meeting. They are shooting 46.2 percent from three in the last three games, with Tyler Perry leading the way. In conference play, K-State ranks seventh with 33.5 3-point percentage and second with Bart Torvik’s 42.1 % 3-point percentage. Good three-point shooting is the great equalizer, especially on the road. BYU shot 38 percent from three and made 13 threes last week, snapping Kansas’ home streak. For K-State to win, they will need to have similar numbers with Tyler Perry leading the way.

Revolutions

Turnovers have been an issue all season for K-State and are one of the reasons for their struggles this season. K-State is last in the conference with a 22.4 percent Bart Torvik turnover rate. They posted their second-worst turnover percentage in conference play against Cincinnati, which ranks 188th nationally in turnover percentage.

Kansas ranks 8th in the Big 12 with a 17.0% forced turnover rate, and in the previous game, K-State had a 20.7% turnover rate. The problem for the Wildcats against Cincinnati was that there were too many live ball turnovers and they were outscored 29-6. It is too much to ask K-State to limit turnovers because they are turnover prone this season, but they have shown they can limit turnovers on live balls and will need to do so again.

Kansas has been good at limiting turnovers this season, they rank fourth in the Big 12 with a 16.1% turnover rate. K-State hasn’t been good at forcing turnovers this season, and that’s been the main difference between this year’s team and last year’s. K-State had seven Big 12 games this season in which they forced a turnover of 13 percent or less. It’s hard to play defense when you don’t force a lot of turnovers and that can hurt your offense. K-State will have to do a better job of forcing turnovers, but it will be a tall order.

First strike protection

K-State has one of the best defenses in the Big 12, especially when it comes to hitting defense. They rank in the top two in the conference in 3-point percentage, two-point percentage and free throw percentage.

The problem for K-State is that they don’t do a good job of limiting offensive rebounds and second-chance points. The silver lining for K-State is that Kansas is not good at getting rebounds on offense, as they are 13th in the conference in rebounding offense. K-State had its best offensive rebounding rate of the season against Kansas earlier this season and will need similar results again.

K-State had its best offensive rebounding percentage in conference play against Cincinnati and did a good job attacking the offensive glass. However, Kansas is one of the best at limiting offensive rebounds as they rank second in the Big 12 in offensive rebounding allowed. In the previous game, K-State had a 25.7% offensive rebounding rate and will need to be over 30% in this game.

Final thoughts

Tyler Perry has been playing really well all season and is doing everything in his power to get K-State into the NCAA Tournament. He’s been light over the past four games and is now shooting 34% from 3 on the season after struggling to start the year.

In his last four games, he is averaging 21 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.5 rebounds per game, shooting 53.5 percent from the floor, 55.8 percent from three and 90.4 percent from the free throw line. He played like an All-Big 12 player and stepped up in ways this team needed.

On the other hand, Cam Carter has struggled lately and needs to play better for K-State to win some games. He hasn’t shot over 50 percent in the past seven games and had a four-game streak without making three.

In his last four games, he is shooting 30% from the field, 21% from three and 88.8% from the free throw line. He’s one of the best wing defenders in the Big 12, and fatigue can set in as he’s averaging 36.1 minutes per game.

Carter had a stretch earlier in Big 12 play where he was really good and should get back to playing like that. K-State is at its best when it’s one of the best players on the floor, and it looks like it’s going overboard right now. He needs to play looser and looser and let the game come to him.

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