KANSAS JAYHAWKS (23-4)
at IOWA STATE CYCLONES (19-8)
James H. Hilton Coliseum - Ames, IA
Tip-off: Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kansas -1, Total: 144
Kansas hopes to retain its recent dominance over Iowa State when the teams square off Monday night in Ames, IA.
The Jayhawks have won 14 of the past 15 meetings, but that one loss came at ISU last season (72-64), which was part of the Cyclones' 5-1 ATS mark in the past six contests, including three straight covers. When these teams last met on Jan. 9, Kansas won a wild affair, 97-89 in overtime, but failed to cover the 11.5-point spread at home. Although the Jayhawks started February with three straight losses, they have been rolling for the rest of the month, posting four consecutive wins (SU and ATS). In the past three contests, Kansas opponents have shot 22% FG, 33% FG and 36% FG. However, Iowa State has lit up the scoreboard for 87, 87 and 86 points during its current three-game win streak, shooting 52% FG during this surge. And more importantly, the Cyclones have won 22 straight home games.
Can Iowa State pull off the upset in front of its crazed fan base on Monday night? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Scott is 55% ATS (22-18) on college hoops Best Bets since Feb. 8, while StatFox Gary is 54.4% ATS (87-73-4) for Best Bets this season. StatFox Dave is 6-3 ATS (67%) in the past two days, and is 52.1% ATS (146-134-5) for the season. StatFox Brian has been 50% ATS or better in five of the past six days (9-8, 53%).
Kansas has a strong offense that scores 73.3 PPG (54th in D-I) on 46.8% FG (36th in nation), but the school doesn't get enough credit for its defense which has held opponents to 59.9 PPG on 35.5% FG and 30.4% threes this season. Freshman SG Ben McLemore (16.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG) is in the midst of an incredible season, making 50% FG, 43% threes and 88% free throws. Although he has cooled down a bit in his past three games with 11.3 PPG on 11-of-31 FG (35%), McLemore was unstoppable when these teams met last month, scoring a season-high 33 points on 10-of-12 FG (6-of-6 threes) and 7-of-7 FT. He banked in a three-pointer during the final seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime. Senior C Jeff Withey (13.6 PPG, 8.5 RPG) is just as important to this team on the interior, especially on defense where he ranks third in the nation in blocked shots (4.0 BPG). He has scored at least 11 points in 11 straight games, and has been outstanding during his team's four-game win streak with 16.8 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 3.5 BPG. Withey dominated ISU with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in the Jan. 9 overtime win. Senior PG Elijah Johnson (9.1 PPG, 4.4 APG) appears to be finding his shooting stroke that has been missing all season (38% FG, 32% threes), knocking down 12-of-24 FG over the past three games. Johnson had an eventful game against the Cyclones last month with 12 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and also six turnovers. Senior swingman Travis Releford (12.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG) has shot an incredible 61% FG, 45% threes and 80% FT this season, and has been especially sizzling during his team's win streak with 13.8 PPG on 67% FG (20-of-30). PF Kevin Young (7.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG) is also ending his senior season in style with 8.3 PPG and 8.8 RPG during the four-game win surge. Young posted a double-double in the last meeting with Iowa State, scoring 10 points and tallying 12 rebounds.
Iowa State loves to push the tempo under head coach Fred Hoiberg, scoring a whopping 79.5 PPG, good for 5th in the nation. The Cyclones shoot 45.8% from the floor, 37.0% from downtown and 72.0% from the free-throw line, and have six players averaging at least 9.6 PPG. All six of these players scored in double-figures in the loss in Lawrence on Jan. 9, led by junior PF Melvin Ejim's 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Ejim (11.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG) has tallied a double-double in four of his past five games, averaging 15.0 PPG and 11.2 RPG over this span. Senior PG Korie Lucious (9.7 PPG, 5.8 APG) scored 15 points in the loss at Kansas last month, but shot just 4-of-10 from the floor. Poor shooting has plagued him all season (37% FG), but he makes up for that with an 80% clip from the free-throw line and a solid 1.75 Ast/TO ratio. In the past four games, Lucious has 27 assists and just eight turnovers (3.38 Ast/TO ratio). Freshman F Georges Niang (11.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG) rarely takes a bad shot (54% FG) and makes a solid 37% of his threes. Before fouling out of Saturday's 86-66 win over Texas Tech with just seven points, he had averaged 17.0 PPG in his previous two games. In the previous meeting with Kansas, Niang recorded 13 points and seven rebounds in just 27 minutes before fouling out. He has been saddled with at least four fouls in 10 of his past 14 games. Senior SG Will Clyburn (14.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG) is ISU's top scorer, and he has 15.3 PPG in his past four contests, including a well-rounded 17 points, six boards, three blocks and three assists in Saturday's romp over the Red Raiders. Clyburn is averaging a hefty 20.8 PPG on 53% FG in his past five home games, and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in the loss at Kansas earlier this season. Senior SG Chris Babb (9.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG) is not afraid to shoot from long distance with 2.1 threes per game on a strong 39% clip. In his past six games, Babb has drained 20-of-38 threes (53%), which includes making 5-of-9 from deep for 17 points on Saturday. Babb made just 3-of-11 shots at Kansas, but finished with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in that defeat. Senior SG Tyrus McGee (13.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG) is the team's top reserve and top three-point shooter (45.1% threes), posting seven straight double-figure scoring games. He netted 11 points versus the Jayhawks last month before fouling out.