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Dec. 11, 1965: The Sunflower doubleheader

Back in the day when teams actually did road trips - KU and K-State had the tradition of the "Sunflower Doubleheader".

Two visiting teams. One night at Allen in Lawrence we play one visitor first, KU the other in the second game. The next night in Manhattan the visitors switch opponents, the home team is always the second game. Each year it flips which city it starts in.


This was the ninth year. The tradition would soon die off. I thought with COVID and 'playing in the bubble' someone might decide to bring it back.

Except in tournaments teams don't play on successive nights, but they used to. Go back far enough to where teams traveled by rail and a team might play the same opponent two nights in a row, like a baseball team would today.


In the game programs there would be a page on each of the two visitors and on KU. The question for K-State fans was 'do we root against KU'? I think the answer was obvious: yes.

The tradition began in 1958 and lasted until 1969. I think the alternating pattern may not have started up right away, the media guide is a little unclear about the early years - ironically the KU media guide is clearer.

Some big teams came. In 57-58 it was Washington and California who encountered KU's Wilt Chamberlain and K-State's Bob Boozer and Jack Parr - that would have been two games worth watching, eh?

Marquette, St. John's, Cincinnati (the year they took 2nd at the NCAA), UCLA (the year they went undefeated and beat us in the final four with Gail Goodrich and Walt Hazzard), USC, Texas, Baylor, San Francisco all came.


Last modified 8/28/21; original content. 2021 John P. Nordin