Just another night in the Big-12. #16 Iowa State travels to the Phog to take on the #6 Kansas Jayhawks. Tomorrow will be the last time the two meet in the regular season and it will be the road Cyclones that will look for revenge after KU was able to win at Hilton earlier this year. The prospects of an upset don’t appear to be great. Vegas has tabbed Kansas as an eight point favorite against ISU.
After a blazing start, Iowa State stumbled and lost three straight games in conference play – sandwiching the loss to Kansas between a loss at Oklahoma and Texas. That’s the reality of the Big-12 and the ‘Clones bounced back nicely with a win over another ranked team over the weekend at home against Kansas State. For Kansas, the win catapulted the streak the Jayhawks are still riding as one of the hottest teams in the country. After a relatively underwhelming start, KU seems to finally be living up the high expectations that came with the incredible recruiting class Bill Self was able to put together.
While Andrew Wiggins is still finding a way to fall short of expectations despite leading the team in scoring, freshman sensation Joel Embiid has surged to the top of draft big boards with lesser numbers but a tangible effect on every possession. The center has stepped into a starting role to take on more minutes and has responded about as well as anybody surrounding KU basketball could have hoped. Embiid is dominating both ends of the floor – drawing immediate doubles on the offensive end and keeping opponents out of the paint as a basket protector on the defensive side of things. Look for Embiid to roam the paint and do his best to neutralize DeAndre Kane, who will look to get the the hoop as much as possible.
As per usual with Iowa State, especially on the road, much will be dictated by how the Cyclones shoot the deep ball on the road. Ejim and Kane are usually pretty reliable shooters but if Georges Niang is spreading the floor and successfully draws Embiid away from the floor it could be a tough matchup for Kansas. If Niang isn’t able to play effectively away from the basket Kansas will cruise.
Kansas is simply playing too well right now to consider fading the steam. The Jayhawks get the season sweep over Iowa State and do it in style with a cover.
Free Pick: Kansas -8