Kansas Jayhawks: Always a Struggle in Stillwater


Kansas Jayhawks’ Head Coach Bill Self played at Oklahoma State, but he doesn’t seem to mind beating them.

In his 11-plus years at the helm of the KU basketball team, he and the Jayhawks (19-3, 8-1), have done so 13 out of 19 times, and will try again Saturday at 1 p.m. in Stillwater.

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Only four conference teams (OSU, Texas, Iowa St. and Kansas St.) have won at Allen Fieldhouse during Self’s tenure, and they’ve each done it only once. No team has swept the Jayhawks during the regular season.

Overall, Self is 120-31 against current Big 12 teams.

In other words, he owns the conference.

But, the one thing the ‘Pokes can claim, is being the only Big 12 team with a winning record at home against KU and Self since he took over in 2003.

OSU (15-7, 5-5) is 4-3 against the Jayhawks in Gallagher Iba Arena, including a 72-65 victory last year.

So, what is going on in Stillwater that has kept Kansas from having a winning record there?

For starters, the Cowboys have had some good teams during Self’s tenure.

In Self’s first game in Stillwater as KU coach in 2004, the Cowboys featured future NBA players Tony Allen and John Lucas III.

OSU defeated the Jayhawks by 20, and eventually ended up just two points shy of the 2004 national championship game.

You probably don’t want to watch, but the entire game is on youtube. Not two minutes in, you can tell it will be a long night for the Jayhawks.

However, it’s not like they have been perennial Final Four contenders during the time, only qualifying for the NCAA Tournament six times in the past 11 years.

They do however have one tough home arena. It’s a horrible place for any visiting team to play, and if you can stomach the video, you’ll see why.

It’s loud, there is a lot of really bright orange shirts, and the student section is nearly on top of anyone trying to inbound underneath the basket.

Self was asked in his weekly presser if going back to his alma mater felt different than any other game.

“It’s not anything different for me anymore,” Self told the media. “It’s just like going to Ames or just like going to Norman, except you have a chance to see people after the game.”

Except, when it comes to wins and losses, it is different, because the Jayhawks have done more of the latter.

They are 14-5 in Norman and Ames since 2003-04. So, while it may feel the same for Self, the outcomes have not been.

Every team in the conference plays the Kansas home game like it’s their “Super Bowl.”

K-State and its fans get so up for the game, the Wildcat athletic department creates a commemorative DVD when they do pull off an upset, as if it’s something that only happens every quarter of a century.

All of those teams who try harder than any other home game during the season when Kansas is in town, have combined to go 22-44 against the Jayhawks.

While OSU has put together a few good teams, and has a great home arena, Iowa St. could claim the same argument, but have lost nine of 12 home games to Self.

Not even their “Hilton Magic” can figure how to routinely beat the Jayhawks.

Texas has a Final Four on its resume during the time, and a future NBA MVP (Kevin Durant), and still is just 4-4 in Austin when KU comes to town.

It took one of the greatest coaches of all time in Bobby Knight at Texas Tech to win back-to-back home games against the Jayhawks during his time in Lubbock.

However, the Red Raiders have still only won three of seven against Self.

When it comes to trying to find a team who has had success in the conference against KU the past dozen years, it’s nearly impossible.

Even with the home success OSU has had, they still have won only two of the past 10 games against the Jayhawks, including three straight Big 12 Tournament losses.

The fact still remains the Cowboys are the only team standing in the way of a .500 or better road conference record for Self during this decade (plus) of dominance.

A Jayhawk win Saturday, and that is no longer the case.

A loss, and Oklahoma St. and its fans can hang on to the one and only “bragging right” any conference team can claim over KU.

Even then, it’s still not much to brag about.

What to watch for Saturday

Kansas offense. vs. Oklahoma St. defense

Oklahoma State is 32nd in the country when it comes to points given up per game, at 59.7. They only allowed 67 to Kansas in a January loss in Lawrence. The Jayhawks have scored anywhere from 56 to 81 points on the road in conference play this year. If they are closer to 56 in this one, they won’t win.

Mason Missing in the First Half

Frank Mason III has scored in double-figures the past 19 games, but has been held scoreless in the first half of the past two games. That can’t happen Saturday. If Mason starts off slow again, the Jayhawks will find themselves down early. If it’s more than about a five-to-seven point hole, OSU and its fans won’t allow a comeback.

A Rebound for Cliff

Cliff Alexander has been MIA the past three games, totaling just 10 points and 13 rebounds. Before that, he was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. OSU is the 199th ranked rebounding team in the country, so Alexander should be able to muscle his way to his best game since a 15-point, nine-rebound effort January 24 against Texas. That is, if Self actually puts him on the court more than 15 minutes.

Prediction: Kansas 75, Oklahoma State 70

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Naming the All-Bill Self Teams

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