The Sunflower Showdown never lacks intensity or drama, but Friday night’s newest installment of the rivalry will have an extra dash of importance when Kansas and Kansas State meet for a spot in the Big 12 tournament championship.
The semifinal starts at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch the game live on your computer, phone or other streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to their extensive Netflix-like streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live channels, including ESPN. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: ESPN is included in all of DirecTV Now’s four main channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, plus you can get a free Amazon Fire TV if you prepay two months. Once signed up, you can watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: ESPN is included in the “Sling Orange” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
Note: You can also watch the game on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. You’ll need to sign in to a TV provider to watch this way, but you can use your Hulu, DirecTV Now or Sling TV credentials to do that.
No Udoka Azubuike, no problem. Playing without their 7-foot-0, 280-pound interior presence (who is out for the tournament with a sprained MCL) against Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Kansas avenged two regular-season losses to the Cowboys with an impressive 82-68 drubbing. Malik Newman poured in 30 points, the Jayhawks shot a blistering 56.1 percent from the field and despite committing 13 turnovers, they were still able to put up a wildly efficient 1.22 points per possession.
“We showed we can play without Doke,” Svi Mykhailiuk said. “We can still win.”
The only problem with the performance came on the defensive glass. While little-used players Mitch Lightfoot and Silvio De Sousa filled in admirably for Azubuike, Kansas still lacked size and ultimately allowed Oklahoma State to grab a whopping 18 offensive rebounds.
Fortunately for Kansas, the Wildcats aren’t really equipped to take advantage of this weakness, as they rank 249th and 312th nationally in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, respectively. That said, sophomore Makol Mawien is coming off arguably his best game of the season in an overtime win over TCU in the quarterfinals, as he put up 16 points and nine rebounds (two offensive). He struggled in the first two games against Kansas, but if he can take advantage of Kansas’ thin frontcourt, it would provide a major boost for K-State.
Of course, steady backcourt play will also be key for Bruce Weber’s squad. When K-State nearly beat Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on January 13, Barry Brown and Cartier Diarra combined for 30 points on 12-of-25 from the field and 4-of-9 from three-point range. But in the 14-point home loss against the Jayhawks two weeks later, Brown and Diarra tallied just 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting and 1-of-7 from deep. Kansas has one of the best backcourts in the country, and it will be important for Kansas State’s guards to hold their own.
It certainly won’t be easy for Kansas State to pull the upset, but it’s not supposed to be easy against the No. 1 seed and 10-time Big 12 tournament champions.