Like Nebraska in football, when Kansas’ men’s basketball team visits Ames, it’s a big deal. No matter what.
The Jayhawks lost virtually every meaningful player from their national title-winning club from a year ago. They aren’t close to the level they’ve been at in years past. Heck, they aren’t even ranked!
Hilton Coliseum, for the first time this season, will hit decibel levels Saturday that it hasn’t approached yet this season. The game is on ESPN, which adds signifiance and an urgency with players and fans.
The world is watching. That’s nothing new to Kansas, but it is to ISU, who’ll make its only appearance of the season Saturday on ESPN The Uno.
Does the home team have what it takes to beat KU after six straight losses in the series, four of them at Hilton?
I believe they do. Whether those things happen is another story.
Some of the biggest wins in school history have come against the Jayhawks:
— The Roland Rocket beats Wilt the Stilt
— Hoiberg’s deep 3-pointer from “the chicken”
— Cato & Co. beat KU to win the final Big 8 tourney
— Fizer, Tinsley steal first win at The Phog in 18 years
— Stinson shoots down KU with last-second basket
Would a win Saturday be as meaningful as any of those? Not a chance.
But it would be something great to build on for Coach Greg McDermott, who has not had what could be considered a signature win. One thing is for sure, the place will be rockin’.