Kansas (16-3, 5-2) at Iowa State (15-4, 4-3)
When: Monday, January 25th 2016
Where: James H. Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Kansas Jayhawks look to take over first-place in the Big 12 Conference tonight when they visit the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames. The Jayhawks failed to reach 70 points in their two recent road losses, but came back with a 76-67 home win over Texas on Saturday. Landen Lucas, a 6-10 junior, received his first start of the season and grabbed 10 rebounds (six offensive) to help Kansas to a season-best 14-point advantage in second-chance points (19-5). Wayne Selden Jr., the country’s eighth-best 3-point shooter at 48.5%, went 4-of-8 beyond the arc against Texas to tie J.R. Giddens for 15th place on the school’s all-time list with 137 made 3-pointers. Kansas has 20 wins over ranked teams over the past three seasons – tied with Iowa State for the most. Jayhawks sophomore Devonte’ Graham is shooting 48% beyond the arc during conference play and owns a 3.14 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last five games. Leading scorer and rebounder Perry Ellis (16.3 points, 6.6 boards) collected a season-high 26 points on Saturday and hit all six of his free throws after missing five in the previous game at Oklahoma State. The Jayhawks will step out of conference on Saturday to take on the Kentucky Wildcats at home.
Iowa State has slowly turned this series around by winning four of the last five matchups including twice in the Big 12 Tournament to secure the conference’s automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. The Cyclones have won three in a row including last Monday night when they knocked off top-ranked Oklahoma in Ames. Over the next ten days, the Cyclones will face off against three top 10 teams in succession (Kansas, Texas A&M, and West Virginia). Iowa State is 16-3 at home against ranked teams in their last 19 tries and will look to make it another one tonight. Monte Morris, who ranks fifth in the conference in scoring (15.2 points), second in assists (6.8) and second in steals (2.1), is averaging 19 points on 65.9% shooting from the field over the last five games. He led the team with 18 points in Saturday’s 73-60 win at TCU. Matt Thomas (10 points per game) is shooting 41.7% from 3-point land in 11 games since becoming a starter, knocking down at least three 3-pointers seven times. The Cyclones, who rank second in the Big 12 in fewest turnovers (11.3), committed 23 versus TCU – their most against any opponent since 2007.
Iowa State is really tough to beat here at home. They seem to give Kansas more trouble than any other team in the country. They’re actually favored in this one, but I’ll lay the small number.
Pick: Iowa State -2