Monday night features a Big 12 showdown as the Iowa State Cyclones (11-14, 4-8 in the Big 12) travel to the Allen Fieldhouse to take on the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks (22-3, 11-1 in the Big 12). At this point, the Cyclones are just looking to play spoiler, especially as they travel to Kansas.
For the Jayhawks, they are looking to keep pace with Baylor, who leads the conference with a perfect 12-0 record. This matchup is a rematch from Jan. 8 when the Jayhawks beat the Cyclones on the road 79-53.
Iowa State will hope to repay the favor on the road Monday. Tipoff for this one is scheduled for 9:00 pm ET.
For the Iowa State Cyclones, they come into this one having gone 3-7 in their last ten games. They are coming off of a win on Saturday as they beat Texas at home 81-52.
They have faced several top-25 teams this season, having gone 1-8 against ranked teams with their only win being a 76-66 win over No. 10 Seton Hall back at the beginning of December. They will look to play spoiler against Kansas Monday.
For the Kansas Jayhawks, they have been rolling as of late. In fact, they have won 10 in a row, including an 87-70 win over Oklahoma on Saturday. In that time, they also have impressive wins over No. 14 West Virginia (58-49) and No. 24 Texas Tech (78-75).
Their last loss was a 67-55 loss to No. 1 Baylor back on Jan. 11. They will look to make it 11 wins in a row as they host Iowa State.
The Kansas Jayhawks come into this one as 15.5-point favorites playing at home. The over/under on total points scored is set at 141.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, Kansas holds a slight advantage over the Iowa State Cyclones. They currently rank 81st in points per game, averaging 74.1 points (77.7 at home). For the Cyclones, they rank 85th overall averaging 73.8 points per game (71.1 on the road).
On the defensive side is where Kansas has been shining. They currently rank 6th in the country on defense as they are allowing an average of just 60.1 points per game to opponents (63.2 at home). For Iowa State, they fall to 232 in scoring defense. They are allowing 71.9 points to opponents (79.5 on the road).
Iowa State Would Love Upset
On the offensive side, Iowa State has a respectable offense that can run with a lot of teams. They are led by sophomore guard Rasir Bolton. For Bolton, he comes in with 14.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and one steal per game.
Unfortunately, they recently lost their leading scorer in sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton. He recently broke his wrist and will be out for the rest of the season. Prior to his injury, he had been averaging 15.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 steals.
With Haliburton out, the others are going to have to pick up the slack. Other major contributors for the Cyclones include Solomon Young (9.4 points, 3.8 rebounds), Prentiss Nixon (8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals), George Conditt IV (7.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks) and Michael Jacobson (7.1 points, 5.6 rebounds).
Jayhawks Look For Another Victory
Kansas has been on an absolute tear lately, and it has been in large part due to sophomore guard Devon Dotson. The star guard has been averaging 18 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. In his last game, Dotson scored 19 points with eight rebounds and five assists in their 87-70 win over Oklahoma.
Outside of Dotson, the Jayhawks have two others averaging double-digit scoring. Center Udoka Azubuike (12.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) and guard Ochai Agbaji (10.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals) have both been solid. Marcus Garrett (9.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.9 steals) and Isaiah Moss (8.3 points, 1.8 rebounds) round out the scoring leaders for Kansas.
Kansas Wins But Can They Cover?
It was just a couple weeks ago that Kansas went to Iowa State and beat up on the Cyclones 79-53. The question is whether they can have a repeat performance and not only win but surpass the 15.5-point spread.
For me, though, some things indicate this is feasible. First, Kansas has been a very solid 12-1 at home. Additionally, they not only beat the Cyclones on the road but did so while they still had Tyrese Haliburton healthy and playing (they held him to just 5 points in 36 minutes.
I expect that attention will now go to someone else like Rasir Bolton or Michael Jacobson, and I see the Jayhawks smothering the Cyclones on defense. I wouldn’t blame you if you went the other way as 15.5 points is a lot to cover, but for my money, I am taking Kansas despite laying the points.