Game 26: No. 13 Kansas at Iowa State – Preview and Prediction

Spiriling downward in a hurry, the Jayhawks hit the road again to take on Iowa State in a game that they must win to keep pace in the Big 12 standings.

It’s been a rough few games for Kansas, who has gone from outright Big 12 leader to fighting to keep up with Texas Tech in a three-week span. Exactly three weeks ago, the Jayhawks fumbled away an opportunity to go two full games up on everybody else in the conference by blowing a late lead in Norman. Now, Kansas faces the possibility of falling two full games behind Texas Tech if things don’t break their way on Tuesday night. They’ll hit the road to take on Iowa State, who is in a down year, but they’ve proven they’re still a force at home against the top teams in the conference.

About Iowa State: At 13-11 overall and 4-8 in the conference, Iowa State’s overall record is poor, but their youth is encouraging for fans to look forward to. This is a team that struggles on the defensive end and, until recently, on the glass. But they can score the ball with anybody, particularly at home. After dropping consecutive home games against K-State and Texas to open conference play, the Cyclones have responded with four straight league wins at Hilton Coliseum, including victories over West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech all by eight points or more.

Game Info and Notes:

  • Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 at 6:00 pm
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas
  • ESPN2 or WatchESPN App
  • The Jayhawks are just 6-5 in their last 11 games against Iowa State. They haven’t swept a season series with the Cyclones since 2012-13.
Cyclones to watch

Donovan Jackson – 6’2″, senior guard

Jackson’s 15.5 points per game are second on the team, and he’s a high volume shooter with nearly eight three-point attempts per contest (converting at a 42% rate). He’s a superb spot-up shooter that can stroke it from anywhere on the court, but he seems to be at his deadliest around the extended free throw line areas on either side.

Lindell Wiggington – 6’2″, freshman guard

Wiggington is a fabulous freshman scorer that’s taken off in Big 12 play. His 16.3 points lead the team (he put in 27 when Iowa State came to Lawrence), and he’s a 44% three-point shooter that locks him in as the other half of a lethal scoring duo with Jackson. He can score in all ways; he’s a great shooter from all parts of the court, but his ability to put his head down and drive is unmatched on the roster. Kansas will likely counter him with Malik Newman, who has proven capable of guarding good scorers this year, but Wiggington is about as good of an offensive player as he’ll draw.

Cameron Lard – 6’9″, freshman center

Coming off a 19-point, 17-rebound performance against Oklahoma, Lard has emerged as a legitimate rebounding beast inside for the Cyclones. That pushed his season rebounding total up to 8.0 per contest, so even though he can’t match Udoka Azubuike’s pure size, he’s probably a better rebounder overall when it comes to technique. He should do battle with Azubuike all evening in a battle of high-percentage shooters, but like his Kansas counterpart, he struggles greatly at the free throw line (53%).

Prediction

Kansas 82, Iowa State 73

AUDIO PREVIEW (58:15 mark): LINK

Alright, look. This has been a dismal few games. The Jayhawks have been blasted by two of the three worst teams in the conference. But eventually, this team is too talented to not get it turned around. They’ve struggled shooting the ball as of late, but a matchup with a poor defensive team like Iowa State should get them out of their funk.

Devonte’ Graham has carried the load recently, but he’ll need Svi Mykhailiuk and Malik Newman to knock down some shots to keep KU in this contest. It also seems to be as good of a chance as Lagerald Vick is going to get to get rolling, as he’ll be able to attack the rim (if he chooses) against an Iowa State team that hasn’t offered much resistance against anybody.

The Cyclones have handled the top Big 12 teams at home this year – but I think Kansas knocks them back to earth a bit with a semi-comfortable win. And if they don’t, well, prepare yourself, because KU Twitter is going to be a madhouse.

Ryan Landreth

I’m a recent graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University. In addition to writing for Rock Chalk Blog, I host the Inside the Paint podcast that covers KU basketball, and I write for Royals Review in the summer. My grandma has had season tickets to Jayhawk basketball for 30 years, and I have the privilege of going to most games with her.