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The Day After: Iowa State

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Kansas guard Wayne Selden, middle, pulls a laugh out of teammate Andrew Wiggins late in the game against Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden, middle, pulls a laugh out of teammate Andrew Wiggins late in the game against Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

There was no bank shot and no overtime in this one, but the Jayhawks' latest victory over Iowa State at Allen Fieldhouse certainly had plenty of drama.

A game that began with the look of a Kansas blowout turned into a one-possession game late, with the 16th-ranked Cyclones charging hard and the home crowd roaring to help keep No. 6 Kansas ahead.

In the end, a career-best performance by KU freshman Andrew Wiggins proved to be enough to give the Jayhawks their seventh win in a row and their second victory in two weeks over a tough Iowa State team.

While Wiggins stole the show with his scoring explosion, Perry Ellis' first half (15 points on 7-of-8 shooting) played a huge part in the victory, as did another fantastic game from point guard Naadir Tharpe.

Wednesday's victory pushed KU to 16-4 overall and 7-0 in Big 12 play and set the Jayhawks up with a golden opportunity to take complete control of the conference race heading into back-to-back road games at Texas (Saturday) and Baylor (Tuesday).

Quick takeaway:

I'm not sure enough credit is being given to what the Jayhawks have done this month against the Cyclones. Iowa State is darn good. They opened the season with 14 straight victories, can shoot from distance as well as just about any team in the country and can score from all five spots on the floor and create tough mismatches for opponents because of it. Despite all of that, the Jayhawks basically handled ISU for 80 minutes. Yes, the Cyclones made a couple of runs and looked sharp in doing it, but Kansas controlled the majority of both games and did so behind the strength of different players stepping up at different times. This team is gaining more confidence every time out.

Three reasons to smile:

1 – Andrew Wiggins is on a roll and only getting better. After going for a career-high 27 points in the victory over TCU, Wiggins one-upped himself with a 29-point outing against Iowa State. His shot looks good every time he lets it go and he's done a much better job of finishing during recent weeks. ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said after that game that Wiggins is oozing with confidence right now and went as far as to call that fact “scary.” Two of the best parts about Wiggins' 29-point night on Wednesday? He reached that number by taking just 16 shots and only went to the free throw line six times.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins slaps hands with the Jayhawk faithful as he leaves the court following a career high, 29 points against Iowa State in the Jayhawks' 92-81 win, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins slaps hands with the Jayhawk faithful as he leaves the court following a career high, 29 points against Iowa State in the Jayhawks' 92-81 win, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

2 – The offense as a whole is playing so much off of instinct right now. Rather than thinking too much and worrying about where to be and when to be there, the Jayhawks are just being. Every player seems to know his role inside and out and, more importantly, appears to be comfortable playing to it. Passes are moving quicker and being thrown crisper and the offense has a real good feel for when to pull it out and reset and when to attack.

3 – Joel Embiid finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds and it seemed like he had a pretty ho-hum night. That's the sign of a big-time player. Two of Embiid's best plays of the night? In the first half, he grabbed a rebound, gathered to go up for the put-back, tripped over an Iowa State player laying in the lane and still managed to keep his balance enough to finish the play. Later, when ISU big man Georges Niang attacked the right side and ducked under the rim to try a reverse layup, Embiid, who was leaning to protect the right side, stopped on a dime and still managed to swat Niang's shot with his off hand. That's No. 1-pick type stuff right there.

Kansas center Joel Embiid lunges for a bucket after an Iowa State foul during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Joel Embiid lunges for a bucket after an Iowa State foul during the first half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Three reasons to sigh:

1 – Opponents' points at the rim (again)... Iowa State scored 28 of its 81 points on Wednesday on layups or dunks. That number (35 percent) wasn't quite as bad as the 43-percent mark that Kansas State enjoyed a couple of weeks ago, though it was a higher number of points (28 compared to 26). The Jayhawks have made progress in this department, but opponents too often continue to find it too easy to score inside.

2 – It looked, to me, like the Jayhawks might have momentarily thought this one was over when they went up 30-14 midway through the first half. As KU coach Bill Self said after the game, the Jayhawks played about as well as they could've during the game's first 10 minutes, but, after building that kind of lead there's no way that ISU should've been within three points at halftime. Don't get me wrong, the Cyclones deserve credit for battling back. But KU did its best to help them. The ill-advised Joel Embiid three-pointer, a few careless passes and too many quick shots come to mind.

3 – Thanks to 29 points from Wiggins and 20 more from Perry Ellis, KU did not need much from its bench in this one. Good thing, too, because it got next to nothing. Brannen Greene and Frank Mason each hit one three-pointer, which accounted for all of the bench scoring the Jayhawks got in this one. Fortunately for Kansas, the starters were sharp from start to finish in this one. Had all five guys not been, the outcome might have been different. To be fair, it's worth pointing out that KU reserves Tarik Black (ankle) and Conner Frankamp (knee) did not play.

One thought for the road:

The Jayhawks' second win over Iowa State in 16 days:

• Kept Kansas as the only undefeated team in Big 12 play at 7-0

• Made KU 7-0 in conference play for the third-straight season and the sixth time in the Bill Self era

• Gave the Jayhawks their fifth win over a top-25 ranked opponent over the last six games

• Made the Kansas-Iowa State all-time series 175-59 in favor of KU, including 49-9 in Allen Fieldhouse

• Gave Kansas its fifth-straight win versus Iowa State

• Made KU 9-1 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 170-9 under Bill Self and 708-109 all-time in the venue

• Made Bill Self 21-3 all-time against ISU (20-3 while at KU), 316-63 while at Kansas and 523-168 overall

• Made KU 2,117-816 all-time

Next up:

The Jayhawks will head out onto the road for the next two games, starting with Saturday's 3 p.m. tip-off at Texas. After that, they'll play Baylor at 6 p.m. on Feb. 4 before returning home to face West Virginia at 3 p.m. on Feb. 8.

Kansas center Joel Embiid battles for position with Iowa State defenders Georges Niang, left, and DeAndre Kane during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Joel Embiid battles for position with Iowa State defenders Georges Niang, left, and DeAndre Kane during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Comments

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 10 months ago

Jayhawk Slant did a RT from some guy named Tom that said Jabari Parker has 117 points on 105 shots and Andrew Wiggins has 124 points on 79 shots. I found that to be an incredible stat since we have heard so much about Parker being such a polished offensive player. When you consider Wiggins offensive efficiency coupled with his outstanding D and off the charts athleticism, I'm left scratching my head how any NBA draft projection could have Parker over Wiggins.

The poor performance, not allowing for excuses, coming off our bench vs ISU shows how much of a team we have become. The bench bailed out the starters early on and has continued to make significant contributions. It also demonstrates how much energy Black brings off the bench to the team.

Newell ponted out some really interesting facts; 1) vs ISU, the Hawks scored 1.22 PPP. It is just the second time in Bill Self's 11 seasons at KU that the Jayhawks have posted at least 1.22 PPP in three straight Big 12 games and 2) Tharpe's 12 dimes reprented almost 46.5% of our made FGs and 3) Against ISU our defense allowed 1.076 PPP for a season avg of 1.034 defensive PPP which ranks fourth behind Oklahoma State (1.014), Kansas State (1.016) and Texas (1.022). Newell goes on to say in the last 4 games, Kansas has allowed 1.03 ppp and in "Self's 11 seasons at KU, the Jayhawks had never allowed 1.03 PPP to four consecutive Big 12 teams in a single season." He then concludes "it's looking more and more like this could be the worst defense Self will take into an NCAA Tournament game."

Newell's a significant loss to KUSports. Why can't the LJW offer a contract to him?

Matt Tait 8 years, 10 months ago

He's great at reading and looking at those stats, which mean different things to different people and nothing at all to some people.

Personally, I don't need a points-per-possession stat or anything along those lines to tell me that KU had a great night offensively. What I saw with my eyes tells me that, along with the 92 points, 52 percent shooting from the floor and 46 percent shooting from three-point land. Different strokes for different folks.

I'm glad you enjoy them, though. Have a great day.

Kent Richardson 8 years, 10 months ago

We may give all our experts grief sometimes but we are loyal to you as much as the players;

Matt Tait 8 years, 10 months ago

Awfully kind of you to say. Wasn't a question of loyalty for me. After all, a little grief keeps things interesting!!!

Like I said, different strokes for different folks. That's the beauty of the Internet. There's so much information out there that just about everybody can find the stuff they're looking for and things they enjoy.

Phil Leister 8 years, 10 months ago

Different strokes for different folks, of course. But some strokes are better and more informative than others. We get plenty of opinion, observation-based articles from Keegan. Jesse always seemed more like a coach the way he broke down the plays and stats, which was refreshing. Losing that was a bad deal for the LJW.

Joe Joseph 8 years, 10 months ago

Newell's still doing his stats thing at the Topeka Capital Journal. I don't read it, but that's where he's at. lol

Joe Joseph 8 years, 10 months ago

This may be the worst defense Bill Self has coached while at Kansas, and yet it's still the best fg% defense in the conference. Which is crazy, because it sure seems like KU gets scorched often.

Brian Mellor 8 years, 10 months ago

I think it's quite possible that we, along with the rest of the country, will have to adjust our expectations in the wake of the rule changes made during the off-season. The rules were made precisely to open up the offensive game and provide more fluid, faster-moving offensive games.

Matt Tait 8 years, 10 months ago

No question about it. At this point, it's possible that 7-4 might be enough to earn a share of the title.

That said, I can't see 'em losing 4 games. Probably not even three.

Time will tell.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 10 months ago

C'mon guys and gals..join me in the KU Big 12, 18 - 0 club!!

So far, I think I'm the only member but that's OK. Jump on the train anytime...all are welcome!!!!!!

Ron Prichard 8 years, 10 months ago

Oak, I wouldn't be surprised to see them go undefeated, but I still think they lose one game somewhere on the road, so I'll go with 17-1. I really don't see who can beat them, but I think they will beat themselves at least once, if that makes sense.

I would be okay with that, too. I think a loss late in the conference season could really bring this group down to earth and refocus them. It will make me very nervous if we run the table going into the NCAA tourney.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 10 months ago

I posted several games ago something to the effect of "The JayHawk train has departed the station and is bound for GLORY." I'm not about to go out on the limb with an 18-0 jinx prediction but will say that nobody can beat Kansas (anywere and anytime) if we come close to playing our game. Look at last night....ISU through their best stuff at the Hawks and lost by 11.

I'm really fired up about attending the next two games at UT and BU. Those games will be a really good measure to how far the team has come since the SDSU nightmare. If we win those two games, the conference race is effectively over.

You know the really good thing if we win these next two game is Self should be able to play his bench alot the last half of the season with two games vs. TT and WVa, not to mention the three of the remaining home games vs. OU, UT and TCU. The remaining heated games at OSU and KSU would give Self a forum to see how the bench performs in a pressure situation.

Joe Joseph 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm a fan of Frank Mason and am on record of predicting he will finish among the top-10 in scoring (at Kansas) before his career is over. I'll concede that my prediction may have been a bit bold, but I'm still confident he will be top 20 at the very least.

That said, I thought Mason had a really poor outing yesterday evening. It seemed like bad things happened just about every time he was around the ball on offense or defense. He made the one rather clutch three-pointer, but that was it. It seemed like Iowa State started getting hot almost as soon as Mason checked in, and right about the time he drove into traffic, didn't convert, then threw an errant pass out of bounds the very next play.

I was surprised Greene didn't get a longer look (did he get any?) in the second half after I thought he put a solid 1st half together. He certainly would have matched up better length-wise against ISU. Mason must have been doing some good things off the ball that I didn't notice, however, because Self certainly played him plenty in the 2nd half.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 10 months ago

According to some, Mason was nervous because Trey Songz was there to watch him based on the fact they went to the same HS and he knew he was coming.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 10 months ago

"Made KU 9-1 in Allen Fieldhouse this season, 170-9 under Bill Self and 708-109 all-time in the venue"

Matt, which comes first in AFH: Win #800 or loss #125?

Same question to my fellow posters.

Brian Mellor 8 years, 10 months ago

Taking the total win/loss average we're looking at over 100 more wins before we rack up 16 losses. Just looking at Self's record we'd be looking at about 320 more wins before we got 16 losses. Based on that, I'm guessing we'll safely hit 800 first unless we hit a really bad stretch of seasons.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 10 months ago

Assume Bill Self stays at KU.

Will Bill Self reach 800 career wins before he reaches 20 home losses at AFH?

Will he win 277 more games before he loses 11 more in AFH?

His record says he will. He has won 316 games at KU and only lost 9 games in AFH. Insane.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Man, that is 5 Wins over IowaState in the last 12 months. BAM!

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