Game 26: Iowa State at No. 3 Kansas – Preview and Prediction

  • Monday, February 17, 2020, 11:00 am
  • Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, KS
  • ESPN
  • 12 games into the 2020 Big 12 season, Kansas sits alone in second place at 11-1 in the league standings, one game behind Baylor (12-0). Iowa State enters in a tie for seventh place at 4-8.
  • Kansas has won at least 10 conference games in 26 consecutive seasons, a streak which started in 1995. It is the longest active streak in the nation.
  • KU is going for just its second regular-season sweep of Iowa State since 2014, as the Cyclones have played the Jayhawks better than any other Big 12 team in the last 10 years or so.
  • Iowa State enters at 11-14 overall and 4-8 in Big 12 play. They are 0-7 on the road this season.
  • The Cyclones are one of just two schools to defeat Bill Self’s Jayhawks twice in Allen Fieldhouse, with the most recent W coming in 2017 when they were a 10-point underdog.
  • Kansas players lead the Big 12 in six stats: Udoka Azubuike (FG%, rebounding, double-doubles), Devon Dotson (scoring, FTs made), and Marcus Garrett (assist-to-turnover ratio).

Cyclones to Watch

Rasir Bolton – Sophomore, Guard, 6’3″
With Tyrese Haliburton out for the year, Bolton is the lone active Iowa State player averaging at least 10 points per game. He sits at 14.7 points on 41% from the floor, and his specialty is driving to the rim. He shoots just 33% on threes and figures to draw the assignment of Marcus Garrett. A natural scorer, Bolton will need a big night if Iowa State wants to pull an upset.

Solomon Young – Senior, Forward, 6’8″
The Cyclones are bigger than they typically are this year, but they struggle to rebound, as Young is averaging less than four boards despite playing power forward. He scores 9.4 points and is an excellent free throw shooter when he gets teams to foul him. Iowa State doesn’t typically play through Young, but they likely will in attempt to slow the game down against KU.

Prediction

With a spread of 16 points, this is the largest amount of points Kansas has been favored by all season. Iowa State, despite coming off a blowout win over Texas, has struggled in the last month of the year. They’re not a great three-point shooting team, but I expect them to shoot a lot of them as they attempt to pull off a big upset. I don’t expect them to have much success down low, as they struggle to rebound, and the Kansas frontcourt should get plenty of second-chance opportunities. The Cyclones’ hope is to launch threes, but without Haliburton, their odds of making lots of them don’t seem high.

On the flip side, I expect Kansas to play with a similar pace to the one they played with on Saturday against Oklahoma. KU shot the ball very well against Iowa State in their first meeting thanks to the Cyclones’ constant doubling of Udoka Azubuike. If KU starts knocking down threes and forces the Cyclones to spread their defense, Azubuike will turn into a dunking machine inside, like what he did against TCU a couple of weeks ago. KU’s ability to dominate on the glass allowed them to play at a faster pace, and against a weaker and smaller team than the Sooners squad they beat by 17, I’d roll with KU to cover the spread and cruise to a blowout win.

Kansas 82, Iowa State 57
KU -16

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.