Sunflower showdown begining to heat up

Story by Kyle Davis

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The news feed on Facebook at 8:45 p.m. Saturday was flooded with new statuses, all about the same subject: the Kansas Jayhawks’ overtime win over Kansas State University in the Sunflower Showdown.

How do I know? I was posting a KU-favoring status of my own.

So, what does this game, that was back-and-forth from beginning to end and was as exhausting to watch for the fans as it must have been for the players, mean? Does this mean that Kansas State has caught up to Kansas or that it is as good of a team? I don’t think so.

What I have heard constantly about this Jayhawk team is that it is not playing up to its potential. My answer, good. Who wants to play their best basketball in January? Teams want to peak in March, right around the last few games of the regular season and their conference tournaments. If Kansas isn’t playing its best basketball, but can still manage to be 20-1 and the No.1 team in the country, I would hate to have to play them when they are at their best.

I am starting to believe that K-State is a legitimate, top-25 team. K-State has experienced drop offs in Big 12 play after strong starts in past years, including last year when the Wildcats entered conference play at 11-3 before losing their first four Big 12 games and finishing the season 22-12.

However, I think this year will be different for the ‘Cats as they’ve already played the toughest part of their Big 12 schedule. This team will not win a national championship, but they are a Sweet 16-caliber team.

What this might mean is for the first time in several decades, the Sunflower Showdown might again be a rivalry, and not a one-sided battle like if Canada challenged Mexico to a game of hockey. Since the Big Eight Conference became the Big 12 in 1996, the Jayhawks have won 31 of 33 meetings.

This could be the start of a new, revitalized rivalry, which would be great for both sides. K-State is trying to prove they belong near the top of a tough conference and the more difficult the conference is, the more impressive it is that Kansas is in first place and has the chance to win the conference for the sixth consecutive year.

Maybe now there will be actual bragging rights, instead of the Jayhawks owning the rights to the rivalry and people calling it a fluke for the few times the Wildcats win. The rise of Kansas State would be good for the Big 12 and for the rivalry and would get Kansas sports fans excited about both home-town teams while the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals go through another 10 years of rebuilding.<br/>