Kansas Jayhawks Hope Iowa State Cyclones Are Cold From 3 Again


Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) is congratulated by guard Andrew Wiggins (22) Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The 6th ranked Kansas Jayhawks (15-4, 6-0) will host the 16th ranked Iowa State Cyclones (15-3, 3-3) Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse at 8 p.m. CST. The Jayhawks defeated the Cyclones on the road by seven points just sixteen days ago.

When these two teams faced each in Ames on January 13th, the roles were reversed. The Cyclones were ranked 8th and the Jayhawks 15th. Iowa State connected on just 4 of their 25 three-point attempts for 16%. Their cold shooting kept Kansas in the game despite the fact the Jayhawks committed 24 turnovers in the game.

Kansas should not count on the Cyclones to make just 4 shots from behind the arc again. They will need to take of the ball better in this one.

Kansas has played their best basketball of the season since the beginning of Big 12 play and they hold a 2-game advantage in the loss column over the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns. Iowa State is one of 6 teams in the conference with 3 or less losses, and they can ill afford to add another loss with the season entering the final stretch.

Kansas Jayhawks forward Jamari Traylor (31) Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The Jayhawks are led by freshman Andrew Wiggins, who has scored 44 points total in his last two contests. His scoring output has increased because he is being more aggressive in attacking the rim. Wiggins has shot 22 free throws in those games, hitting 19 of them. He leads 15.8 points a game.

Perry Ellis and Joel Embiid also average double digit scoring. Ellis nets 12.9 points per outing, and pulls in 6.8 rebounds. Embiid adds 11.2 points a game, and leads the team with 7.4 rebounds, and 53 total blocks. He and Wiggins are tied for the team lead with 17 steals. Naadir Tharpe averages 5 assists a game to top the team.

Four Cyclones score in double figures, led by Melvin Ejim with 17.9. DeAndre Kane, who was battling an ankle injury 2 weeks ago, puts in 16.3 an outing. Georges Niang, 15.4, and Dustin Hogue, 11.9, help Iowa State throw 4 productive scorers at opponents.

Iowa State is a very good rebounding team, as they average 39.7 caroms a game, 21st in the country. Three players average more than 7 game including Hogue, 9.3, Ejim, 7.3, and Kane, 7.1. Kane also tops the Cyclones is assists, 5.8, and with 28 steals.

The Cyclones average 35% from behind the arc for the season so the 16% effort against the Jayhawks in the first game was certainly an anomaly. Kansas needs to apply stiff pressure around the perimeter, and they need to identify and stick to the shooters. Iowa State hits almost 9 three-pointers a game, on 25 attempts a game. They can get hot just as easy as they can go cold.

The Jayhawks have to do a much better job at protecting the ball in this game. If the Cyclones get hot, and Kansas is coughing up the ball 24 times, Iowa State might just get their revenge.

The Jayhawks have turned up the intensity over the past six games as well. They are showing fire and heart in their play, something that was missing earlier in the season. With this intensity, the defensive pressure has picked up as well. These things are probably two of the main reasons, along with shooting the ball well over 50%, for the success Kansas has enjoyed since entering the Big 12 portion of their schedule.

The Cyclones will have revenge on their minds, so this game should be pretty entertaining. If Kansas continues to shoot well, takes care of the ball, and cover the Iowa State shooters, they should come away with the win.

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