Headed into tonight’s matchup all the talk was about the Kansas Jayhawks being the new no. 1 and how they would respond. Everyone knew Kansas State had a lot to play for but not many gave them much hope of turning away a Jayhawk squad that had been rolling since losing to Texas.
The only way anyone saw Kansas State having a chance was if senior guard and preseason Big 12 player of the year Jacob Pullen had a monster night. Ask and you shall receive. Jacob Pullen did just that and the rest of the Wildcat team responded.
After scoring 23 points in the first half Pullen led his team to a nine point halftime lead over Kansas in a game that the Jayhawks were never really in. Kansas State ultimately turned in one of their most balanced and explosive offensive performances of the season in the 84-68 victory over Kansas. Pullen finished the game with a career high 38 points.
For the Wildcats the game provided a statement win for a team flirting with the possibility of missing the NCAA tournament. The win for Frank Martin and Kansas State should help secure the Wildcats a spot barring a collapse down the stretch and the preseason #3 team in the country puts themselves in a position for a fresh start.
For Kansas and Bill Self the game must serve as a wake up call. A team that talked about embracing the top ranking did little to show they were ready for the challenge and with the Big 12 title looking like a longshot, Kansas needs to focus on earning a top seed for the NCAA tourney and avoiding a letdown like they experienced tonight.