Sunflower Showdown

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Sunflower Showdown
Sunflower Showdown logo.png
University of Kansas "KU" logo.pngKansas State Athletics wordmark.png
KansasKansas State

Sport(s)Football and Basketball
First meeting1902
TrophyGovernor's Cup (Football)
 
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Sunflower Showdown
Sunflower Showdown logo.png
University of Kansas "KU" logo.pngKansas State Athletics wordmark.png
KansasKansas State

Sport(s)Football and Basketball
First meeting1902
TrophyGovernor's Cup (Football)

The Sunflower Showdown is the series of athletic contests between Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, most notably football and men's basketball. The name is derived from the official nickname for the state of Kansas: the Sunflower State.

The two schools compete each year for the Governor's Cup in football. The football series dates back to 1902, and has been played every year since 1911, making it the fifth-longest active series in Division I college football.[A 1] The University of Kansas built a large advantage in the series by 1923, and leads the overall series 64-42-5 or 65-41-5 (depending on whether a 1980 forfeit by KU is counted)[1] after the 2013 game.

The men's basketball series dates back to 1907, and is the most-played series in either school's history, and the sixth-most-played in NCAA history.[2] KU leads the men's basketball series 187–92 following the most recent game on February 10, 2014. This ranks as the third most victories by one school over another in NCAA Division I men's basketball.[2]

In 2010, Dillons bought the naming rights and the series was re-branded "The Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown".[3]

Origins[edit]

Charles Robinson

The rivalry between the two schools can be traced indirectly back to their creation in the 1860s. The towns of Manhattan, Kansas (now home to KSU) and Lawrence, Kansas (now home to KU) both competed to be the site of the state University – required in the Kansas Constitution – after Kansas achieved statehood in 1861. Manhattan would have become the home of the University in 1861, but the bill establishing the University in Manhattan was controversially vetoed by Governor Charles L. Robinson of Lawrence. An attempt to override the veto in the Legislature failed by two votes. In 1862, another bill to make Manhattan the site of the University failed by one vote. Finally, on the third attempt, on February 16, 1863, the Kansas Legislature designated Manhattan as home to the state's Land-grant university. Yet the legislature was not done. Prodded by former Governor Robinson, the Legislature distinguished this institution from the "University" in the Constitution, and on February 20 the Legislature named Lawrence as the home to the state University (provided Lawrence could raise $15,000 and acquire not less than 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land). When Lawrence met these conditions, the University of Kansas was established there in 1865.[4]

The first recorded meeting between the two institutions in athletic competition was a little more than thirty years after their founding, in a baseball game in 1898.

Men's basketball[edit]

Sunflower Showdown

Kansas State WildcatsKansas Jayhawks
Originated1907
ContinuityContinuous since 1912
Overall series leaderKansas (187-92)
Most recent winnerKansas State

The two schools have had a strong rivalry in basketball for several decades, peaking in the 1950s. Recently, the University of Kansas has been dominant in the series, including a winning streak over K-State that lasted from 1994 to 2005. Despite the lopsided record, the rivalry has become more relevant again in recent years, with both teams ranked in the AP Top 25 for many of the match-ups.[5]

Jeff Sagarin's rankings of the nation's top programs by decade in the "ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia" nicely track the history of the rivalry.[6] In the 1950s, when the rivalry was at its peak, Kansas State finished the decade ranked as the #3 program in the nation and KU was ranked as #4.[6] In the 1960s KU was ranked #9 for the decade and KSU was ranked #11. In the 1970s, the programs were again nearly even, with Kansas State ranked at #24 and KU at #25. In the 1980s some separation appeared, as KU finished the decade ranked at #19 and Kansas State at #31. The big difference appeared in the 1990s and 2000s when KU was ranked at #4 and #2 for the decades, while Kansas State does not appear anywhere in the top 40.[6]

Even when the schools are at different levels, upsets are always a possibility in the rivalry, as when Kansas State upset a KU team that was ranked #1 in the AP Poll on January 17, 1994, or when KU pulled the upset on a K-State team ranked #1 on January 17, 1953. Most recently, K-State beat a #1 KU team on February 14, 2011 in Manhattan. Over the decades, the rivalry has seen a number of notable coaches match wits, including Jack Gardner, Tex Winter, Lon Kruger and Jack Hartman at Kansas State, and James Naismith, Phog Allen, Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self at KU.

Early years[edit]

The teams were fairly even up until the 1930s, with the series standings at 31-27 in favor of Kansas entering the decade. During the 30's and 40's, Kansas would gain a large lead in the standings with a number of win streaks, including 22 in a row from 1938 to 1947. In 1935 Kansas tied an NCAA record by beating Kansas State five times in the same calendar year, a feat that was only accomplished one other time, when Kansas beat Nebraska five times in 1909.[2]

1950s[edit]

Both schools were national title contenders in the 1950s, with Kansas State starting the decade in the title game of the 1951 NCAA tournament, and KU winning the title at the 1952 NCAA tournament. Befitting a clash of these titans, one of the best games of the 1951-1952 season was an epic 90-88 overtime victory by #4 KU over #8 K-State in the 1951 Big Seven Holiday Tournament. KU returned to the national title game in the 1953 NCAA Tournament missing back to back titles by 1 point, claiming the league title along the way over a KSU team that had earlier been the top-ranked basketball team in the country.

The rivalry heated up even further with the arrival of Bob Boozer at Kansas State and Wilt Chamberlain at KU in the middle of the decade. In the 1955-1956 season, Kansas State split the season series with KU and won the Big Seven Conference title. The following year, Chamberlain led KU to the league title and a triple-overtime loss to North Carolina in the title game of the 1957 NCAA tournament. Kansas and Kansas State played another classic the following season, when Boozer scored 32 points in a 79-75 double-overtime victory at KU on February 3, 1958, while KSU was ranked #4 and KU was ranked #2. (When the two teams had previously met that season on December 30, 1957, they were ranked #2 and #3 in the country.) Following that season, KSU made another appearance in the Final Four. To close the decade, Kansas State swept the season series from KU on the way to a 25-2 record and a #1 ranking in the final AP Poll for 1959.

Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Jayhawks since 1955

During the 1950s, the two schools also engaged in one-upsmanship in facilities. In prior decades, Kansas State had played their games in Nichols Hall, which doubled as a gymnasium, livestock pavilion, and pool.[7] In the late-1940s the state Legislature approved and paid for the construction of a new and much larger basketball facility. In 1950 Kansas State opened Ahearn Field House, one of the largest basketball facilities in the country at the time, which seated 14,000 spectators. Meanwhile, KU still played their home games on a converted stage in Hoch Auditorium with a seating capacity of 5,500. In response to the construction of Ahearn, the University of Kansas successfully lobbied the state to pay for the construction of Allen Fieldhouse, which would seat 17,000.[8] KU opened the facility with a 77-66 victory over Kansas State on March 1, 1955.

This period also saw the beginning of the 'Sunflower Doubleheader', with two non-conference teams visiting the state to play KU and K-State at one venue one night, then switching venues and opponents the following evening. This event was held from 1957 to 1968, and featured national powerhouses such as UCLA, Xavier, San Francisco, St. Joseph's, Cal, and Marquette.

1960s and 1970s[edit]

The basketball rivalry between the two schools continued unabated through the 1960s and 1970s, with the two schools competing annually for the Big Eight Conference championship (see chart below). In Dick Harp's last two seasons as the KU coach, the Jayhawks plummeted to losing records of 7-18 in 1962 and 12-13 in 1963. Nevertheless, in the championship game of the Big Eight Holiday Tournament in December 1962, KU posted a surprising 90-88 quadruple-overtime victory over K-State. Also, on February 20, 1965, one of the classic pranks in the series was perpetrated when a pair of 6x12 banners saying "Go Cats, Kill Snob Hill Again" unfurled on the east and west sides of the Allen Fieldhouse scoreboard with eight minutes left in the first half. Unfortunately for the Cats, this did not come to pass, as KU beat K-State 88-66. Another popular "prank" perpetrated by Kansas State students throughout the years is throwing live chickens, painted blue and red, on the court during pre-game introductions, as a taunt at the Kansas mascot, the Jayhawk. For years the Kansas State administration has attempted to stop this practice, and following a nationally-televised game on February 19, 2007, PETA complained about it in a letter to KSU President Jon Wefald.

Bramlage Coliseum, home of the Wildcats since 1989

1980s[edit]

The 1980s saw the return of star power to the schools and arguably the rivalry's most high-profile game. At the start of the decade, Rolando Blackman at Kansas State and Darnell Valentine at KU squared off in some classic match-ups. To close the decade, it was Mitch Richmond (K-State) and Danny Manning (KU) battling.

With Richmond and Manning in their senior years, the 1987-1988 season proved to be momentous in the rivalry. In the first matchup of the season, on January 30, 1988, Richmond scored 35 points to lead Kansas State to a 72-61 win to halt KU's then-record 55-game home winning streak. On February 18, KU turned the tables, prevailing 64-63 in Ahearn Field House to deny K-State a victory over KU in the old field house's last year. In what was supposed to be the rubber game, in the 1988 Big Eight Conference tournament, Kansas State won a decisive victory by a 69-54 score. However, the biggest was yet to come. Both teams qualified for the NCAA tournament, and after three wins apiece in the tournament they faced each other on March 27 in Pontiac, Michigan, for the right to advance to the Final Four. Led by Manning's 20 points, KU turned a tight game into a runaway and prevailed 71-58. They eventually advanced to claim the school's second NCAA Tournament Championship (4th national title overall).[9] That game in the Pontiac Silverdome was the first of only two meetings between the 'Hawks and the 'Cats that was not played in Lawrence, Manhattan, or Kansas City, Missouri (the second meeting being the 2007 Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City).

The 1990s and 2000s[edit]

The rivalry slipped in significance after the 1988 season, as K-State slowly declined in the Big 8 and Big 12 conferences and KU saw sustained success under new coach Roy Williams. During Williams' tenure at Kansas, the Jayhawks went 50-6 against the Wildcats. Only occasionally would K-State make some noise, such as the 68-64 win over then-#1 KU in Allen Fieldhouse in 1994.

From 1994 to 2005, KU won 31 straight games against K-State, the longest streak for either school in the series. Also, from 1984 to 2007, KU won 24 straight games on the Wildcats' home floor, the third longest win streak on an opponents home court in NCAA history.[2] During the latter streak, K-State won seven games against KU, but all were away from Manhattan: four games in Lawrence (1988, 1989, 1994, 2006) and three games in the Big Eight Tournament in Kansas City (1988, 1989, 1993). That streak began in Ahearn Field House, where KU won the final five meetings, and carried over into Bramlage Coliseum, where KU won the first 19 contests. KU's streak at Bramlage Coliseum came to an end on January 30, 2008, when #22-ranked Kansas State upset previously-unbeaten #2 Kansas 84-75.[10]

Michael Beasley, before the 2008 Sunflower Showdown

2006–present[edit]

When Kansas State hired coach Bob Huggins to replace Jim Wooldridge in the 2006 off-season, Huggins sought to reinvigorate the rivalry. At K-State's "Madness in Manhattan" celebration to start the 2006-2007 season, Huggins referred to KU's 23-game winning streak in Manhattan and said that "February 19th is when we break the streak."[11] However, KU swept the season series from Kansas State, and Huggins departed following the season to coach his alma mater, West Virginia University.

The 2007-2008 season presented an intriguing contrast between youth and experience. KU was led by the experienced coach Bill Self and retained a lineup of experienced players. Kansas State was led by a first-year head coach, Frank Martin, and featured one of the top-rated groups of freshman players in the nation. Prior to the season, Kansas State freshman phenom Michael Beasley boasted that "We're gonna beat KU at home. We're gonna beat 'em at their house. We're gonna beat 'em in Africa. Wherever we play we're gonna beat 'em."[12] KU came into the first match-up of the season, on January 30, 2008, with a 20–0 record and a #2 national ranking, but Kansas State prevailed 84–75, ending KU's long winning streak in Manhattan. Kansas State's trip to Lawrence later that year was not as enjoyable for the Wildcats as Kansas won 88–74, leaving Beasley's prophecy unfulfilled. Both schools advanced to the NCAA tournament at the conclusion of the 2008 regular season, and Kansas went on to win its third NCAA championship.

The rivalry featured three high-profile match-ups during the 2009-2010 season. In the first game on January 30, 2010, in Manhattan with ESPN's College GameDay broadcasting live from the game, Kansas came into the game ranked #2, while Kansas State was ranked #11. KU prevailed in overtime 81–79, in a game that ESPN described as a "classic."[13][14] After the game, Kansas center Cole Aldrich said, "You're going to get done playing basketball, and you're going to look back and say, 'I loved playing that game.'"[13] The Wichita Eagle wrote that the "rivalry is back."[5] The second match-up on March 3, 2010 was the first time since 1958 that both teams were ranked in the top 5 with Kansas at #2 and KSU at #5. With number one seed implications on the line, Frank Martin called it "the biggest game we've ever played at K-State".[15] Kansas went on to win 82–65 and secure sole possession of the Big 12 Championship. The two teams met again in the 2010 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game with KU ranked #1 in the nation and KSU ranked #9. The Jayhawks won 72–64, completing a three game sweep of the Wildcats and winning the Big 12 Tournament title.

Coach Bill Self (third from left), on the KU bench

After Frank Martin left K-State in 2012 to take the coaching job with the South Carolina Gamecocks, he was replaced by Bruce Weber, former Illinois head coach. Weber led his first Kansas State team to a co-conference championship with KU in 2013. For Kansas, it was the ninth straight league title and eleventh in twelve seasons; for Kansas State, it was the first regular season conference title since winning the Big Eight in 1977. During the regular season, Kansas swept Kansas State with a 59–55 victory in Manhattan and an 83–62 victory in Lawrence. The two teams met a third time in the finals of the 2013 Big 12 Tournament, where Kansas bested Kansas State 70–54 for the three-game sweep.

The 2013-2014 season season saw a regular season split. Kansas won an 86–60 victory in the first meeting in Lawrence, and Kansas State won in Manhattan in overtime, 85–82, with ESPN's College GameDay again broadcasting from the game. The 2014 win for KSU marked its third home win over KU in seven years, after ending KU's 24-game winning streak in Manhattan in 2008.

Since Huggins' arrival at Kansas State in 2006, the rivalry has regained national relevance but KU has still won 16 of 19 games against KSU.

Conference basketball supremacy[edit]

From 1946 through 1978, Kansas and Kansas State made the competition for the basketball title for their conference (known as the Big Six, Big Seven and Big Eight during this time) virtually a two-way affair. During this 33-year period, KU or KSU won or shared the title 26 times. The following chart shows the conference titles captured by the Sunflower Showdown schools during this span of time. Since 1991 Kansas has won or shared the Big 8[16] and Big 12 titles[17] 18 times. Kansas and Kansas State shared the Big 12 regular-season title for the 2012-2013 season.[18]

TeamSeasonConference
Kansas1945–1946Big Six Conference
Kansas State1947–1948Big Seven Conference
Kansas1949–1950Big Seven
Kansas State
Kansas State1950–1951Big Seven
Kansas1951–1952Big Seven
Kansas1952–1953Big Seven
Kansas1953–1954Big Seven
Kansas State1955–1956Big Seven
Kansas1956–1957Big Seven
Kansas State1957–1958Big Seven
Kansas State1958–1959Big Eight Conference
Kansas State1959–1960Big Eight
Kansas
Kansas State1960–1961Big Eight
Kansas State1962–1963Big Eight
Kansas State1963–1964Big Eight
Kansas1965–1966Big Eight
Kansas1966–1967Big Eight
Kansas State1967–1968Big Eight
Kansas State1969–1970Big Eight
Kansas1970–1971Big Eight
Kansas State1971–1972Big Eight
Kansas State1972–1973Big Eight
Kansas1973–1974Big Eight
Kansas1974–1975Big Eight
Kansas State1976–1977Big Eight
Kansas1977–1978Big Eight

Football[edit]

After the two programs began playing each other in football in 1902, ill will soon surfaced. Following the 1909 contest, a 5–3 KU victory, a dispute between the schools led them to cancel the game scheduled for the 1910 season. After taking the break in 1910, the teams have met on the field every autumn since, and the 2010 game marked the 100th straight year the two teams played. Only four other active series in Division I college football have been contested for more consecutive years.

KU was notably dominant in the series during the early years, building a 17–1–3 advantage through the 1923 season.[19] Since 1923 the programs have been much more even, with KU holding a 47-40-2 advantage during that period (including a 1980 forfeit[1] by KU). Because KU does not acknowledge the forfeit as a loss, due to a 1999 NCAA subcommittee ruling on forfeits,[20] the two schools disagree on the overall series record. KU says it leads the series 65–41–5, while Kansas State reports the record as 64–42–5 following the 2013 game.[21]

The teams began competing for the Governor's Cup in 1969, and many of the most storied or interesting games between the programs have come during this era, including a 1995 match-up between sixth-ranked Kansas and fourteenth-ranked Kansas State, won by Kansas State 41–7.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Kansas State fielded a much stronger team – annually garnering high national rankings – resulting in an 11-game winning streak over KU that lasted from 1993 through the 2003 season, finally ending in 2004. That winning streak was the longest for either team in the history of the rivalry. KSU currently has an active five-game winning streak.

Baseball[edit]

The schools first met on the baseball field in 1898. The all-time series record is disputed between the two schools, with the KU media guide[22] listing the Jayhawks ahead 179-170-1, while the KSU media guide[23] list the series with KSU ahead 172-163-1 (following the 2013 regular season). The discrepancy is likely the result of highly inaccurate records by both schools for the early years of the series, with games missing from both record books. For example, in the 1912 season the KU media guide states that the teams met four times with KU winning three of four. On the other hand, the KSU media guide lists only one matchup, with KSU the victor. A four game series was the standard at the time, as both record books reflect a four game series in 1911 and 1913. Another example is in the 1914 season where the KU record books reflect four matchups with each team winning two, while the KSU books show only two matchups and KSU the winner of both. In the 1916 season the KSU record books show a four game series with KU winning all four, while KU books do not reflect having played KSU at all. These sort of discrepancies are frequent until the late 20's when both schools books begin to coincide.

Series standings[edit]

The schools compete annually in football, men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball, baseball, cross country, track and field, women's tennis, rowing, men's golf, and women's golf. Kansas State does not sponsor fast-pitch softball or women's soccer, and Kansas does not sponsor men's tennis. Below are the series records in the major sports. Kansas leads the active series in all sports combined 575-458-7 according to KU or 558-461-7 according to K-State.

SportSeries RecordLast Result
FootballKU leads 65-41-5 or 64-42-531-10 KSU win on November 30, 2013
Men's BasketballKU leads 187-9285-82 OT KSU win on February 10, 2014
Women's BasketballKSU leads 63-4687-84 OT KU win on March 7, 2014
BaseballKU leads 181-171-1 or KSU leads 173-165-12-1 KU win on April 6, 2014
Women's VolleyballKSU leads 62-45-13-1 KU win on November 16, 2013
Women's TennisKU leads 39-146-1 KSU win on April 19, 2014
Women's RowingKSU leads 17-13*17-6 KSU win on March 29, 2014

† - As recorded in the KU record books.
‡ - As recorded in the K-State record books.
* Includes fall meeting led by KSU 7-5, and spring meeting led by KSU 10-8.

Championships[edit]

Conference[edit]

Kansas: 161 (plus 33 conference tournament titles)

56 – Men's basketball (plus 26 conference tournament titles)
4 – Women's basketball (plus 5 conference tournament titles)
8 – Football
4 – Baseball (plus 1 conference tournament title)
1 – Soccer
Softball (1 conference tournament title)
27 – Men's indoor track and field
1 – Women's indoor track and field
33 – Men's outdoor track and field
1 – Women's outdoor track and field
19 – Men's cross country
1 – Men's golf
6 – Tennis

Kansas State: 68 (plus 13 conference tournament titles)

6 – Football
18 – Men's basketball (plus 9 conference tournament titles)
13 – Women's basketball (plus 4 conference tournament titles)
4 – Baseball
1 – Volleyball
13 – Men's cross country
3 – Women's cross country
3 – Men's indoor track and field
1 – Women's indoor track and field
1 – Men's outdoor track and field
2 – Women's outdoor track and field
3 – Wrestling

NCAA national championships[edit]

Kansas: 11 (most recent, 2013 Women's outdoor track and field)
Kansas State: 0

Not Recognized by NCAA:

Kansas State was ranked #1 in the 1959 AP/UPI Poll for Mens Basketball

Kansas won 2 Helm's Men's Basketball National Championships (1922, 1923); Intercollegiate Bowling Championship (2004)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The four longer active series are: Lafayette-Lehigh (123 years); Minnesota-Wisconsin (107 years); Clemson-South Carolina (105 years); and Wake Forest-North Carolina State (1043 years).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sports People". New York Times. August 27, 1982. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d [1]
  3. ^ Dillon's To Sponsor Multi-Sport Sunflower Showdown
  4. ^ Griffin, C.S. "The University of Kansas and the Years of Frustration, 1854-64" (English). Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
  5. ^ a b "The Night The Rivalry Was Reborn" (English). The Wichita Eagle. Retrieved 2010-02-02. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia. ESPN. 2009. 
  7. ^ Nichols Hall
  8. ^ "Fieldhouse Built to Catch KSU, MU" (English). Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  9. ^ "Rock Chalk Site" (English). Retrieved 2006-10-10. 
  10. ^ K-State beats KU in Manhattan
  11. ^ "KU at K-State: 23 and counting?" (English). The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  12. ^ Beasley ensures K-state leaves no doubt
  13. ^ a b "Kansas' 'Mr. Big Shot' Comes Through for KU Late" (English). ESPN. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  14. ^ "Collins, KU Win Epic Showdown" (English). Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  15. ^ Kansas St.-Kansas Preview
  16. ^ http://bigeightsports.com/Sports/MensBasketball/MensBasketballChampionships.htm
  17. ^ http://www.big12sports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&&&DB_OEM_ID=10410&ATCLID=205160610
  18. ^ http://www.big12sports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&&&DB_OEM_ID=10410&ATCLID=205160610
  19. ^ "College Football Database" (English). Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
  20. ^ Haskin, Kevin. "Jayhawk Notebook". CJOnline. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "KSU-KU Postgame Notes" (Press release). Kansas State University. October 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  22. ^ KU Baseball Season by Season Record
  23. ^ KSU Baseball Season by Season Record

External links[edit]