Jayhawk hangover or Hilton magic? It’s been four days since the Wildcats lost to Iowa State on Saturday afternoon and I’m no closer to answering that question than I was right after the game. In reality its both and certainly their opponent played a major role in the equation as well. No matter the reason and no matter how you slice it, KSU’s 73-67 loss to the Cyclones dropped them into a third place tie in the conference.
Iowa State is a talented team with a very good coach that presents a unique set of matchup problems for any team they go up against – the Kansas Jayhawks can attest to that. Throw in that the Wildcats were on the road playing in what is probably the best home court advantage in the conference outside of Lawrence and there is little cause for concern here.
Still, a loss is a loss.
For K-State the six point loss this past weekend is their first against a team not currently ranked in the top-10. Again, the Cyclones are a good team and are likely tournament bound, but this isn’t the same as dropping a game to #1 Michigan, #2 Kansas or #7 Gonzaga.
To be fair, it’s not like K-State got blown out of the water. They held a one point lead (27-26) at the break and when the Cyclones ramped up their offense in the second half, the Wildcats shot 64% from the floor and scored 40 points to keep pace with ISU’s 47. It was just a one possession game with less than a minute to play but that is somewhat misleading since the Cyclones missed 12 of their 22 free-throws.
As you’d expect given the way the teams are constructed and how they play, the Wildcats held the advantage in FG% (50.9 to 48.1), the Cyclones hit more threes (11 to 7) and shot at a better clip from the perimeter as well (50.0 to 36.8). Both teams took care of the basketball dividing a combined 21 turnovers as evenly as possible given the odd number. Iowa State came into the game as a better rebounding team and that trend held as well as they won the battle of the boards by eight (34-26). Everything played out as you’d expect based on the stats with the notable exception that the Wildcats got to the line just nine times in the game.
- Will Spradling: 15 points (5-8), 4-5 from three, 4 assists, 3 rebounds
- Rodney McGruder: 13 points (6-11), 7 rebounds, 1 assist
- Shane Southwell: 11 points (5-11), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
- Will Clyburn: 24 points (8-16), 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist
- Georges Niang: 15 points (6-11), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
- Korie Lucious: 10 points (3-4), 8 assists, 2 rebounds
- Melvin Ejim: 6 points (2-6), 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
- Tyrus McGee: 11 points (4-6), 3-4 from three, 1 assist in 18 minutes
Iowa State (14-5, 4-2) will take on Oklahoma State (13-5, 3-3) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in what figures to be an excellent game tonight. The Cyclones could win in a rout, even though it’s a road game, but they are also the team that lost to Texas Tech by five last week.
#18 Kansas State (15-4, 4-2) will play host to the downtrodden Texas Longhorns (9-10, 1-5) tonight. The game, which tips-off at 7 pm will be on ESPN2. Despite starting their conference season 0-5, the Longhorns bring a talented, though underachieving roster, into Bramlage. Texas is also coming off a 16 point home win over Texas Tech so they may have a little extra confidence on their side – as much as beating the Red Raiders can provide anyway. Don’t expect the game to be a thing of beauty as Texas is a terrible shooting team – 281st/347 in the nation. It may, and probably will be ugly, but that sort of game suits the Wildcats just fine and with the home crown behind them should come away with a win.