Winners of six straight, the 10th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks continue their run through their conference slate, as they welcome the Iowa State Cyclones to Lawrence for a Big 12 showdown at the Allen Fieldhouse this afternoon.
Bill Self's Jayhawks are 13-3 on the season, but more importantly, are undefeated in league play thus far, running their record to 3-0 with an 81-46 dismantling of Texas Tech in Lubbock this week. The win represented the largest margin of victory for Kansas on the road under Self.
Fred Hoiberg's Cyclones shouldn't be taken lightly. ISU has played extremely well this season at 12-4 and opened up Big 12 play with a pair of wins over Texas (77-71) and Texas A&M (74-50). The team does enter this contest off its first league loss, dropping a 76-69 decision to top-10 foe Missouri this week, ending a seven-game win streak for the Cyclones in the process.
This series has been dominated by Kansas over the years, as the Jayhawks hold a 170-58 advantage all-time. That dominance has continued of late, with Kansas winning the last 12 meetings, with ISU's last win coming back in 2005.
The Cyclones are a strong offensive team at 75.8 ppg, fueled by its desire to score from long range. Iowa State is averaging 23.2 three-point attempts per game and hitting nearly 40 percent of the time (9.1 per game). Four of the team's five starters are averaging double figures. Royce White is the resident muscle in the frontcourt. The 6-8 sophomore tops the team in both scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) and is shooting .539 from the field. A trio of guards follow in the scoring column with Chris Allen (12.7 ppg), Scott Christopherson (11.1 ppg) and Chris Babb (10.4 ppg) all getting the job done from the perimeter. The Cyclones kept pace with the high-octane Tigers this week, but faded down the stretch in a seven-point loss. Christopherson hit four three-pointers to lead the team with 19 points. Allen also hit four from behind the arc, tallying 17 points in the loss. White finished with 16 points and Babb tacked on 10, but Missouri shot 51.7 percent from the floor to keep the Cyclones at bay.
Iowa State has a strong frontcourt presence in White, but he may have a tough time in this one, as Kansas possesses not only the top low post player in the league, but perhaps the top player overall in 6-10 junior Thomas Robinson. The gifted big man is certainly playing at an All-American level this year, averaging a double-double with 17.6 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. Perimeter balance comes in the form of guards Tyshawn Taylor and Travis Releford at 14.8 and 10.2 ppg, respectively. In the lopsided win over Texas Tech, Kansas was able to shoot 50.9 percent from the floor in delivering Bill Self his 250th win at KU. Robinson was once again unstoppable, hitting 8-of-11 shots from the floor and recording yet another double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor poured in 15 points and dished out five assists, while Releford chipped in with 12 points. Kansas led by 15 points at the half despite shooting just .333 from the floor (10-of-30). The Jayhawks made up for it after the break, catching fire in delivering on 19-of-27 shots in the second half (70-4 percent), including 6-of-12 from behind the arc.