No. 1 Target: OSU Eyes Kansas

It's been more than 21 years since college basketball's No. 1-ranked team has traveled to Oklahoma State to face the Cowboys in Stillwater. That drought comes to an end Saturday when former Cowboy player and assistant coach Bill Self brings his top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks (27-1) to face Travis Ford's Cowboys (19-8) in a nationally televised game (CBS Sports) at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The last time the No. 1-ranked team in the nation set foot inside what was then known as Gallagher Hall, Richard Dumas scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Cowboys upset top-ranked Oklahoma 77-73 on Feb. 4, 1989.

Oklahoma State has only hosted the nation's No. 1-ranked team three times in school history, and has a 2-1 record in those games. In addition to the 1989 victory over the Sooners, head coach Henry Iba's Aggies upset No. 1-ranked St. Louis 29-27 in overtime on Jan. 20, 1949.

The school's only loss inside Gallagher Hall to the top ranked team in the nation inside came more than 60 years ago when Bradley won 42-35 over Iba's team on Feb. 25, 1950.

OSU is 2-6 in all games against No. 1-ranked teams – at home, on the road, and at neutral sites (see complete list at bottom of story).

Self's Jayhawks will be favorites when the ball is tipped at 3 p.m. Saturday, but the former Cowboy player (1981-84) and assistant coach (1986-93) has not had much success as a head coach at Gallagher-Iba Arena. His teams have won just once in five tries against the Cowboys (0-2 with Oral Roberts University and 1-2 with KU), including OSU's 61-60 upset of the fourth-ranked Jayhawks two years ago.

"Our team in '08 didn't win in Austin, didn't win in Manhattan and didn't win in Stillwater, so it'd be nice for this team to definitely make a sweep of that; to do something that our other (NCAA title) team labored so much to do," Self said Thursday.

The Jayhawks already have defeated Kansas State, 81-79, and Texas, 80-68, on the road this season.

Three current players were members of the OSU team that upset Kansas on Feb. 23, 2008. The Cowboys won 61-60 to give the Jayhawks just their third and final loss of the season. KU would win the remainder of its games and claim the NCAA title.

Obi Muonelo, James Anderson and Nick Sidorakis participated in that historic game two years ago. Point guard Byron Eaton scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Cowboys, while Muonelo contributed 12 points (he was 3-of-5 from three-point range) and Anderson, just a freshman, added 7 points. Sidorakis contributed one assist in his one minute of action.

The only current Jayhawks who played that day are point guard Sherron Collins (0 points in 11 minutes) and post Cole Aldrich (2 points in nine minutes).

Collins and Brady Morningstar have won more games while playing for KU than any other players in the history of the program. Collins, the senior point guard from Chicago who is averaging 15.1 points and 4.4 assists, has won 124 games as a Jayhawk but he has never won in Stillwater or Lubbock, Texas.

"Our motivation for this trip would be a chance to win another game and go 14-0 and win it (the Big 12 regular-season title) outright and also beat a very good team. And Sherron hasn't won in Stillwater either, so that's motivation for him right there," Self said.

The 6-foot-6 Anderson, who leads the Big 12 in scoring (22.5 points per game), could very easily be suiting up for the Jayhawks instead of the Cowboys on Saturday. The McDonald's All-American from Junction City, Ark., narrowed his choices to OSU and KU before signing with the Cowboys three years ago.

Anderson has turned into one of the conference's best players – he's ranked first in scoring, fourth in field-goal percentage, eighth in free-throw percentage, eighth in three-point field goals made, and sixth in minutes played.

Self believes he could be the Big 12's Player of the Year. "He's played as good as anybody in our league, period. And he'll be very, very tough to beat out for Player of the Year in our league. I don't think that award has been decided by any means yet and we have a couple of guys fighting for it themselves, but what he's averaging and his team's done well. I think he's probably has as good of year as anybody thus far," the KU coach said.

OSU's History vs. No. 1 Teams
March 7, 1997: KU 74, OSU 59 (in Big 12 tourney at Kansas City)
Feb. 12, 1997: KU 104, OSU 72 (in Lawrence)
April 1, 1995: UCLA 74, OSU 61 (in Seattle at Final Four)
Jan. 13, 1990: KU 91, OSU 77 (in Lawrence)
Feb. 4, 1989: OSU 77, OU 73 (in Stillwater)
Feb, 25, 1950: Bradley 42, OSU 35 (in Stillwater)
March 26, 1949: Kentucky 46, OSU 36 (in New York City at NCAA Finals)
Jan. 20, 1949: OSU 29, St. Louis 27, OT (in Stillwater)

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