It’s that time of year. It’s time for Kansas to open Big 12 play and close in on the last leg of the college basketball season with the NCAA Tournament looming on the horizon. Kansas will face a 10-3 Iowa State Cyclone team hoping for big things tonight, January 9, 2013, 6 P.M. on ESPNU.
Kansas has won 21-straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season with nine of those at home. Additionally, KU has won six-straight Big 12 home openers dating back to the 2006-07 season.
Kansas was on a roll in the past 10 games until they stumbled a little against Temple last Sunday, but they are ranked No. 6 in both of the January 7 polls and are 12-1 on the season. They pulled out a come-from-behind victory after defeating Temple 69-62. Coached by Bill Self, who is in his 10th season at KU with a 281-54 record for an 83.9 winning percentage, Kansas averages 77.7 points per game and is giving up 59.2 for a Big 12-leading +18.5 scoring margin. KU is out rebounding foes 39.4 to 32.9 and averages 6.8 steals, while also leading the conference in field goal percentage at 49.9 and blocked shots at 8.4.
Iowa State leads the Big 12 in scoring at 82.0 points per game and has a +15.0 scoring margin while riding a 4 game winning streak coming into Allen Fieldhouse. The Cyclones also lead the conference in rebounding at 43.4 boards per game and rebound margin at +10.8. ISU averages 16.8 assists and 8.2 steals per contest and shoots 45.8 percent from the field, including 35.8 percent from three-point range.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State 171-59, dating back to 1908. KU holds an 88-15 advantage in games played in Lawrence, including a 47-9 record versus Iowa State in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks have defeated the Cyclones seven-straight times in Allen Fieldhouse since 2006. Iowa State is one of only seven teams to have won in Allen Fieldhouse during the Bill Self era, which began in 2003-04. The Cyclones defeated the Jayhawks 63-61 on Feb. 19, 2005. Since the inception of the Big 12, Kansas is 26-8 against Iowa State with a 24-8 record in regular-season play and a 2-0 mark in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
Iowa State should put up a fight against the Jayhawks, so fans should expect another grind-it-out game similar to Temple facing a tough scoring and rebounding team. Kansas needs to continue to improve defense to deny easy shots to keep ISU off rhythm with their high powered offense. While ISU leads the Big 12 in rebounded, Jeff Withey and company need to step up and control the boards to give Kansas second chance points and deny the same for Iowa State.
Kansas fans should be ready for a fight tonight to open Big 12 play.
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