Last time Kansas’ men's basketball team traveled to play in Gallagher Iba Arena Bryce Thompson’s jersey didn't read "Cowboys."
Instead, a red and blue "Kansas" was embroidered on it.
On Tuesday, Thompson, now a member of Oklahoma State, will face off with his former team.
Thompson has been a key cog for the Cowboys rotation through the first stretch of the season. He is averaging 8.5 points per game in 10 games after missing one game for the Cowboys due to an unknown injury.
Thompson acknowledges Tuesday’s game may have a different feel, but he is not thinking about it.
A Big 12 team sits at the top of men’s college basketball yet again.
“There’s going to be something there because I used to go there last year,” Thompson said. “But at the same time, I just try to take it and just do what I do.”
OSU coach Mike Boynton just wants Thompson to stay focused on playing with the team.
“We got to guard ourselves against trying to make it about one person,” Boynton said. “If Bryce comes out thinking he has got to prove to (Kanas) coach (Bill) Self that he should have started every game, we're not going to do very well.”
Kansas (11-1) enters the contest ranked No. 6 in the country, and has impressed Boynton this season.
Boynton has played Kansas nine times holding a 3-6 record in those meetings, but says this Jayhawks team is different from any of the previous ones.
“The Kansas game is always a big one, there's no way around that,” Boynton said. “I believe after watching the film and seeing this team play that this will be the best Kansas team that I’ve coached against.”
Tuesday’s game will be the first for OSU since Dec. 18 against Houston, after the previous two OSU games have been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, and will also be the first Big 12 game of the season. The Cowboys have been dealing with COVID-19 and health issues since students went on Christmas Break.
“I think we’re ready to play,” Boynton said. “I think we’re excited to play again.”
Boynton said that on Dec. 27, when the Cowboys returned to practice, they had only four players available.
While the Cowboys are prepared to play on Tuesday Boynton revealed he doesn’t expect OSU to have everyone available for the game.
“It's been a challenge to get bodies to practice, to be honest,” Boynton said. "It's the ultimate kind of dilemma, particularly for a team like us because we're built to play a certain way, and that's fast and using our athleticism and depth and all that stuff. When we don't have your conditioning it makes that much more of a challenge.”