The Jayhawks travel to face the Hilton magic.
By Dylan Gehlbach
Well, the time has come. Monday night we will finally get to see just what this Kansas basketball team is made of.
The Jayhawks will travel to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Iowa State Cyclones in the midst of one of the best home-court advantages of college basketball. Oh, and the Jayhawks have to win to stay in control of their Big 12 title fate. That makes this pretty important.
The Cyclones should have beaten the Jayhawks in a thriller in Allen Fieldhouse, a game where Ben McLemore banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. The Cyclones also took out the Jayhawks in last year’s meeting in Ames. Iowa State has won their last 23 home games. That is the best streak of any Big 12 team right now.
It seems clear that the Cyclones make this one of the most difficult games the Jayhawks have played all year. The question is: Can Kansas pull out a win?
Fortunately, Kansas has a lot of things going for them right now. After a terrible three-game losing streak, the Jayhawks bounced back to trounce Kansas State. On Wednesday, the Jayhawks traveled to Stillwater to win against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a one-point, double-overtime thriller. Any worry of fatigue this Saturday quickly went away as Kansas outscored TCU 38-9 in the first half of that game. Though Kansas did not do much more in the second half, they were dominant.
This is good news for Kansas fans. The Jayhawks are riding into Ames feeling like the best team in the Big 12. When Kansas hosted Iowa State earlier in the season, the Jayhawks were not at the top of their game. They had been squeaking out wins against lesser teams and were having problems scoring. Going into Monday’s game, the Jayhawks scored at will against TCU and were able to work on some offensive sets in the second half. That is a very important thing.
The Kansas offense has to show up on Monday if the Jayhawks want to have any chance to win. While the Jayhawk defense is the best in the nation, Iowa State will find a way to score. Iowa State is the best team in the Big 12 when it comes to offensive efficiency. Only one of their regular players shoots under 40%, and that’s Korie Lucious at 37.2%. That means that every single possession that the Cyclones get will be a good opportunity to score.
The Kansas offense has clearly struggled at times. Twelve first-half points for the team at TCU is a clear indicator of that. Luckily, the Jayhawks seem to be in the prime of their season.
There’s one other thing that Kansas has going for it. Kansas hasn’t lost the Big 12 in nine years. Kansas State hasn’t won it since…
Yeah. That’ll factor in too.