College Basketball Pick
As Kansas aims for another Big 12 title, Iowa State continues to look for answers and unfortunately, this probably isn’t the Game to find them in. The Cyclones already have eight losses with five road Games remaining in Conference play. And for a team usually unbeatable at home, they have already lost three in Ames this season, one to this Kansas team back on Jan. 16. So if they can’t beat the Jayhawks at home, how will they beat them at Allen Fieldhouse?
It was a typical performance from Kansas in that first Game with all seven of its players scoring at least six points. Carlton Bragg had 10 in that Game and while he’s suspended for now, that shouldn’t play too much of a role in this one. The difference between the two teams was obvious in that first Game. LAnden LUcas, not known for being a scorer, couldn’t be stopped in the paint as he was 7-of-9 from the field for 14 points. Without a true big man, the Cyclones continue to have issues down low. On the other end, Iowa State just doesn’t have enough options to hold serve against Kansas.
Monte Morris was great in the first meeting with 23 points, five boards, seven assists and Four steals, but it wasn’t enough. Deonte Burton even had a good Game as LUcas isn’t used to guarding big guys that can shoot and dribble. The only other ISU player with more than six points was Naz Mitrou-Long and he had 18. So Iowa State’s best players all surpassed their season averages at home and they still couldn’t beat this Kansas team. On the road this season, the Cyclones have been hit or miss. They won at OK State and gave Baylor a scare, but couldn’t stop TCU or Vanderbilt and an early loss at Iowa looks worse by the day. Now at one of the toughest places to play in the country, Iowa State could be headed to a double-digit loss, similar to what happened against West Virginia on Tuesday.
The only chance Iowa State has is if they somehow win the rebounding battle, which hasn’t really happened much this season. In that first Game, KU outrebounded ISU 41 to 24 with 14 on the offensive glass. Even with Bragg gone, Iowa State’s leading rebounder, Burton, still isn’t a guy that can overpower LUcas down low. Otherwise, the Cyclones will need big Games from their top guys yet again, but also someone like Matt Thomas to step up and hit shots from deep. He’s been on fire with 19 threes in the last Four Games, but that still didn’t matter in two recent losses.
The Jayhawks have the edge everywhere on the cOurt from LUcas to one of the best trios in the nation in Frank Mason, Josh Jackson and Devonte’ Graham. Iowa State’s defense is by no means good and none of these guys had trouble creating shots in that first meeting with the Jayhawks shooting close to 60% from two-point range. The Cyclones are in dire need of a win, but this isn’t the Game that will get them one.
Our Pick – Kansas by 14