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Monday, January 10, 2022

Game day breakdown: No. 9 Kansas basketball vs. No. 15 Iowa State

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) chases down a loose ball during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) chases down a loose ball during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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No. 9 Kansas Jayhawks (12-2 overall, 1-1 Big 12) vs. No. 15 Iowa State Cyclones (13-2 overall, 1-2 Big 12)

Time: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022

Location: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas

TV: Big 12 Now/ESPN+ | Radio: IMG Jayhawk Radio Network

Keys for Kansas

1. Make the hustle plays

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said on multiple occasions that he was disappointed with the Jayhawks’ intensity and effort from the opening tip in last weekend’s loss at Texas Tech.

But there was more to it than that. That lack of fire from the jump carried over to the rest of the game, hurting the Jayhawks on offense, defense and in intangible areas.

Missing shots or giving up tough buckets to a good opponent are part of the game. But Self believes that winning in the effort areas is almost entirely up to how bad players want it.

“It’s always been a given here (that) if it’s a 50-50 ball we’ll get 70% of them,” Self said Monday. “And if you look at our team, other than CB (Christian Braun), who is the great 50-50 ball guy?”

Consider that a challenge to the rest of the group and don’t be surprised to see the Jayhawks turned up more than they have been all season in this one.

“A big reason why we will get good defensively is if we can start being more active,” Self said.

2. KU’s guards must be good

Self was awfully complimentary of Iowa State guards Izaiah Brockington and Tyrese Hunter on Monday, calling them “as good as anybody in our league.”

Brockington leads the Big 12 with six double-doubles so far and is averaging 17 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting 49.2%, 41.2% and 80.3% from the field, 3-point range and free throw line.

Hunter, a freshman from Racine, Wisconsin, is third in the Big 12 in assists per game (4.8) and leads all freshman nationally with 32 steals.

That puts the onus on Braun, Ochai Agbaji, Remy Martin and Dajuan Harris Jr., to be equally as good or better.

Martin is still battling soreness in his right knee and could be limited again at tipoff. Harris has been pushed around physically a little more in KU’s most recent games. And Braun had a quiet game against Texas Tech until late and Self said Agbaji’s defense was not where it needed to be against the Red Raiders.

If all four guys aren’t better against an ISU team that features a defense that Self said “right there with Texas Tech’s,” KU could have its hands full even at home.

“There’s no guarantees you’re going to win a game against a top-20 team, no matter where you play them,” Self said on his Hawk Talk radio show Monday night. “We’ve got to be really good (Tuesday) night.”

3. Time for more small ball?

With KU big men Mitch Lightfoot and David McCormack both struggling on both ends in the loss to Texas Tech, Self and the Jayhawks are still searching for the best solution to their woes up front.

While getting both of those guys to deliver better production is one answer — Self emphasized Monday that KU still wants and needs both bigs “to play well” — Self said he has started to consider playing small more often, with Jalen Wilson or KJ Adams at the 5 and four guards out there with them.

“That’s not how I envisioned it going, but I do think there’s a possibility that (we) could do that more,” Self said. “Iowa State could be a team, depending on who they have at the 5, that you could do that with.”

The Jayhawks played some of that small-ball lineup against Tech but mostly in the final 5-7 minutes while trying to catch up. Self said he did not know yet how effective the strategy could be with this team because they haven’t used it enough.

“Last year I liked it because J-Will was the guy (at the 5),” Self said. “Maybe I’ll like it more moving forward.”

Marquee Matchup

Iowa State junior Tristan Enaruna vs. his old team and teammates

Tuesday’s game will be a homecoming of sorts for the former Jayhawk, who played at Kansas in 2019-20 and 2020-21 before transferring to ISU.

The 6-8 native of Netherlands appeared in 55 games for the Jayhawks. But Self said he’s a different player today than he was in a KU uniform.

Part of that, of course, is getting a chance to play. Enaruna has started all 15 games for the Cyclones so far this season, already logging more minutes this year (262) than he did in 25 games as a freshman. He played 329 minutes during his sophomore season at Kansas.

“I think it’s opportunity, but I think he’s more aggressive (too),” Self said before saying KU had never recruited a better individual person than Enaruna. “I think he’s gotten better. I think he’s I think he’s stronger. I think he’s more confident offensively, and they’re playing him in a way that can take advantage of his size some and his athletic ability inside. I'm really happy for him.”

Enaruna enters Tuesday averaging 6.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 55.4% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 81.8% from the free throw line.

Jayhawk Pulse

Coming off a tough loss in Lubbock, Texas, last weekend, the Jayhawks will look to get back on track in front of their home crowd, which will include longtime KU coach Roy Williams.

Williams and his wife Wanda are expected to attend the game, marking Williams’ first game in Allen Fieldhouse since he was coaching the Jayhawks.

KU leads the all-time series with Iowa State 186-66. The series dates back to 1908 and features KU owning a 96-16 record in games played in Lawrence and 55-10 at Allen Fieldhouse. KU has won four in a row over ISU and five of the last six.

KU opened as a 12-point favorite in the eyes of oddsmakers in Las Vegas and holds a 77-66 edge in the eyes of KenPom.com’s predictive numbers, which is good for a win probability of 84%.

The Jayhawks are unbeaten at Allen Fieldhouse this season (6-0) and will be playing just their second game of the season against a ranked opponent. Iowa State, meanwhile, is 3-1 away from home this season and one of just three teams in the country with at least three wins against the AP Top 25. The program had one such win total in the previous two seasons combined.

Probable Starters

No. 9 Kansas

G – Dajuan Harris Jr., 6-1, 180, Soph.

G – Remy Martin, 6-0, 195, Sr.

G – Ochai Agbaji, 6-5, 210, Sr.

G – Christian Braun, 6-7, 205, Jr.

F – David McCormack, 6-10, 265, Sr.

No. 15 Iowa State

G – Izaiah Brockington, 6-4, 196, Sr.

G – Tyrese Hunter, 6-0, 178, Fr.

G – Gabe Kalscheur, 6-4, 198, Sr.

F – Tristan Enaruna, 6-8, 220, Jr.

F – George Conditt IV, 6-9, 234, Sr.

Comments

Rodney Crain 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Team,

  • Try harder

  • Play smart

  • Take good shots

  • rebound

  • limit turnovers

  • Do not foul as much

almost forgot - wear your mask at the end of the bench.

Robert Brock 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Two ranked teams. NOT on television. Thanks, Big 12.

Glen Miller 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I guess ESPN+ is the official channel of the Jayhawks now. Seems to be the only place you can watch a game anymore. Sad that it has become a pay to watch world for everything. The cable you already pay for isn't good enough now. Guess they have to make that money to pay their players NIL deals somehow. It's a shame.....

RJ King 5 months, 3 weeks ago

The TV deals, scheduling, broadcasts have nothing to do with NIL deals.

Edward Daub 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I have to say, I would welcome some "small ball". I would love to see Jalen Wilson and K.J. Adams rotate at the "5", and allow both "Big Mac" and Mitch to be spectators tonight.

I realize that such a decision leads to greater defensive deficiency "in the paint", but it should help open up the offense. Time will tell.

Hubie Brown (NBA) made a good point the other day. He said "never leave your feet, unless you are going to shoot the ball". Rock Chalk!

Carolyn Hunzicker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

ANOTHER ESPN+ GAME.... INCLUDING BASKET BALL BOTH MEN AN WOMENS, BASEBALL AND FOOBALL KANSAS HAS GONE TO ESPN + 31 TIMES THIS YEAR. DON'T EVEN KNOW ANY WOMEN ON THE BASKETBALL TEAM, THEIR ALWAYS ON ESPN+. Makes it kinda hard to support them since we don't know them! KU must really need the MONEY

RJ King 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Don't know why the 7pm start, but that doesn't fit well with espn's double header time slots: 6 and 8pm (CST). Also, I believe espn has a commitment to show each team at least once. Tonight's broadcast of OSU @ WVU game kills two birds with one stone.

The espn+ package is only $4.99 or $5.99 per month. Just pay $25-$30 from Nov-March, then cancel 'til the next year. That's only maybe $2.50-3.00 per game. You can watch and re-watch as many times as you like. Also take off your cap lock. It's worse than the whining.

Barry Weiss 5 months, 3 weeks ago

ESPN+ is pretty cheap and the quality is much better than a few years ago. Also now it has a big time relationship with the PGA, so alot of golf will be on it.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

It will be interesting to see how much of a factor a muzzled home crowd will be and/or whether they choose to be muzzled. It is hard for me to imagine being at what is hopefully an exciting event an spend 2 hours yelling into handkerchief/sock/paper bag/…. I’m far enough away that I personally don’t need to worry about it. Sorta glad and feel sorry for the students at the same time.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe CB needs to go around the huddle and punch his teammates in the chest. Just smack ‘em. Who’s gonna fight?

Apparently, he’s the team badazz and his teammates need to learn to move beyond playing games (good O) and fight (good D). Those that snivel can go to the bench. Hopefully some one is willing to fight back - without actually injuring a teammate or getting a technical in the game. Might even be a situation where a T would be okay - if it means we’ve found some aggression.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Wasn’t there one year that Coach recruited a practice squad from the football team to for a no fouls scrimmage. Looking for Clint Normore to stuff a crossing route/weak move to the basket. Still one of my favorite plays of all time (OU 2008 NC).

Bryce Landon 5 months, 3 weeks ago

No one hates Iowa State more than I do, and no one would love to see KU crush them more than I. But the way we've been playing, I don't see us crushing them. I see us winning, but just barely. We've only played a complete game once all season, and that was the Missouri game.

Tony Bandle 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Bryce, my man, well said, but I'm afraid with this team we better take any victory any way we can get it and thank our lucky stars!! A conference record of 12 - 6 is not out of the realm of possibility. [One already plus twice to BU, at ISU, at WV and a random loss to someone we shouldn't lose to, maybe TX....God, I hope it's not KSU].

Bj Cassady 5 months, 3 weeks ago

When I played back in the ancient days we played a team that featured a dirty player who played way too physical and gave very hard hurting fouls. I told my teammates let him come into the lane (on offense) he did and I reached for the ball and ahem accidently broke his nose. I got a common foul, he was out of the game. Message sent.

Clark Groseth 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Y'all can talk about defensive this and offensive that. Ain't none of that gonna matter if the Hawks continue to turn the ball over 17 times.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Tony - It’s understandable to be frustrated after the offensive defensive last game. Do you think BU is significantly better than last year or we are that much worse? We did beat BU last year. When was the last time any team swept us?

That being said, 12-6 probably isn’t out of the question. I think we’ve even won the conference in the past at 12-6. IIRC, having a balanced conference with lots of competition has played to our advantage in the past because the fieldhouse and Coach Self are usually good for a few points that make the difference in close games.

Dirk Medema 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Ooops. 13-5 was the worst record for a conference champion (2015&2018).

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