KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two games within three days against one team — the Kansas Jayhawks will face Iowa State on Thursday and again on Saturday.
“It has happened,” said head coach Bill Self. “Not in a span of three days, obviously. We’re playing them back-to-back so I better like it and our players better like it and embrace it.”
Playing a home-and-away so close is unusual, but players are focused on getting wins to finish the season strong.
“It’s not something you do normally and that’s probably the biggest challenge, but we’ll know them really well going into the second game. This first game, we’re playing a team we don’t know well at all." KU sophomore guard Christian Braun said. "They haven’t had all their players so it’s going to be a challenge getting to know their guys and what they do."
“The team that wins the first game is guaranteed a split,” Self said.
For the first time since 2009, the Jayhawks fell out of the Associated Press men's basketball Top 25. Before this, KU had the longest streak in AP poll history.
“That happening to us really means something to us, motivates us to be better," KU forward Jalen Wilson said. "We have a lot of people watching us that have played here and supported Kansas for so long so it’s up to us change that and change how people see us as a team."
“I don’t think we always think about the rankings,” Self said. “I think it’s better to be ranked than not ranked. If you don’t like where you’re ranked, then play better next week.”
Kansas is currently ranked sixth in the Big 12.