So you’ve been a KU fan for ages, but you still don’t really understand why there’s still a rivalry between Kansas and Kansas State when KU has traditionally been better in every way. Well, this is it. The loose, simplified history of why KU and K-State hate each other so damn much.
Back in the 1860s, when Kansas was first becoming a state, it was required for Kansas to have a state university. Both Lawrence and Manhattan were like, “Hell yeah, put it here!” And that friends, is when the long history of shitting on each other began. Manhattan was leading for a while, but continually kept missing by one or two votes to officially be the state university. Eventually, Manhattan became a land-grant university instead, while Lawrence officially became the spot for the University of Kansas.
We started competing against each other in baseball:
Yup, you read that right. It didn’t initially start with basketball or football. The first time KU and KSU ever interacted with each other was back in 1898 for a baseball game. (Which, of course, KU won 13-2).
Basketball finally came into play:
In the early 1900s, the rivalry started gradually becoming more intense through basketball games. Both teams were in the NCAA. In the 30s and 40s, KU started majorly taking the lead by repeatedly kicking KSU’s ass in basketball. This has continued on as somewhat of a tradition here at KU.
The 50s happened and things got pettier:
KSU played in the NCAA conference of 1951, but in the final game, they lost to Kentucky. The next year, KU was like, “Well shit, our rivalry team is doing better than us,” and then won the national title of the NCAA conference of 1952. The only other really prominent thing you should know from this time period is that KSU received a grant to make the Ahearn Fieldhouse which would seat 14K people. KU was still playing in Hoch Auditorium at the time which seated only 5.5K. So, KU needed to one-up KSU by getting the state to pay for Allen Fieldhouse, which would seat 17K. The pettiness never ends.
Here we go again, it’s the 80s:
This is deemed peak rivalry time. Darnell Valentine and Danny Manning were the iconic figures from KU’s basketball team throughout the decade, with specific rivals on KSU’s team. Both KSU and KU faced off in 1988 in the NCAA tournament, but KU went on to take the title, yet again.
After that, the rivalry died out for a bit until the 2000s. Right now, the KU vs. KSU competition is considered to be back at it’s peak again. Honestly, it still doesn’t look like KU has much to worry about… Unless we’re talking football. But we can just do what we always do and pretend that doesn’t exist.
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