Viewer's Guide: Kansas State with big chance in Sunflower Showdown

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Marcus Foster is coming off a 34-point performance against Texas over the weekend. (USATSI)
Marcus Foster is coming off a 34-point performance against Texas over the weekend. (USATSI)

What a wild weekend. Most of the attention will revolve around the Marcus Smart incident, but there was plenty of quality basketball as well. This week should continue that trend, with several marquee games across the country. It starts on Monday, with a couple of interesting Big 12 tilts.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.

Best game: No. 8 Kansas at Kansas State (9 p.m., ESPN). The Sunflower Showdown in The Little Apple. Kansas has opened up a two-game lead in the Big 12, and the Jayhawks seem to be hitting their stride at the right time. But this game means more for Kansas State – the Wildcats had lost three of four before blowing out Texas behind 34 points from Marcus Foster on Saturday. Kansas State has a very solid at-large profile, but a win over the Jayhawks would be a true marquee win. Kansas won the first meeting by 26 points, as Foster was held to seven points on 3-for-12 shooting. The Wildcats have to keep Kansas off the offensive glass, while also limiting transition opportunities. At the other end, making perimeter shots and extending the Kansas defense is key.

Second-best game: No. 16 Iowa State at West Virginia (7 p.m., ESPNU). Iowa State is starting to pick up some momentum as a potential Final Four sleeper come March, and it's easy to see why. The Cyclones have multiple guys capable of carrying the offense, and Fred Hoiberg is a terrific coach. With that said, Iowa State has had some trouble on the road in the past – and West Virginia isn't an easy place to play. The Mountaineers played Kansas tough over the weekend, and Juwan Staten is making his case as an all-Big 12 player. Over the past three games, Staten is averaging 25.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists – while getting to the free-throw line 41 times in that span. Who will win the point guard battle between Staten and DeAndre Kane?

Another one to watch: Providence at Georgetown (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1). Suddenly this is a battle between two bubble teams. Providence has dropped three of its last four since a 15-5 start, while Georgetown is on a three-game winning streak – starting with last weekend's win over Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. A win here could see the Hoyas jump the Friars in the pecking order. Providence needs a bounceback game from Bryce Cotton, who was held to nine points on 4-for-11 shooting against Xavier over the weekend. His battle with Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera should be fun to watch.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Virginia has won seven straight, with its 10 ACC wins by an average of 16 points. The Cavaliers host Maryland (7 p.m., ESPN).
  2. Florida State is mired in a slump, losing five of its last seven games – the Seminoles need to turn it around against Miami (7 p.m., ESPN).
  3. Two one-bid league leaders are in action on Monday, with Southern tripping to Jackson State (8:30 p.m.) and North Carolina Central hosting Florida A&M (7:30 p.m.).
 
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