Kansas Basketball Previews: Iowa State

Hilton Magic! Fred Hoiberg has come to Ames and has ignited the Cyclone faithful - as well as the basketball team - and has the Cyclones sitting at 12-4 on the year, and 2-1 in the Big 12 after a narrow loss at home to Missouri.

Fortunately for everyone involved in RCTland this contest is at Allen Fieldhouse, where the Cyclones haven't won since 2005. This year's team is just 1-2 on the road this year, so you can see that they have beefed up their record a bit by playing a lot of home games. Still, this is a much different team now, sitting 51st in KenPom, than they were when they lost at Drake (121st).

The Cyclones make their hay offensively, with the 22nd best eFG in the country (and the best eFG in conference play so far at 56.8%). Kansas, of course, has the best eFG allowed at 36.4%, but given the strength of their conference schedule so far that is not surprising at all. I do expect Iowa State's eFG to be closer to KU's percentage allowed than their Big 12 average so far, barring someone (or someones) absolutely going off from three.

Another place Kansas should be able to do well is on the boards: Iowa State isn't a very proficient (by choice) offensive rebounding team and while they rank 32nd nationally in defensive rebounding they are 7th in Big 12 play so far, and have also played Missouri.

Defensively the Cyclones are much worse, which should be great for the Jayhawks. They force barely any turnovers; good news for a Jayhawk team turning it over on 21.8% of their Big 12 possessions, and while they defend well from three (28.7% allowed, 21st nationally) they are abysmal inside the paint, allowing opponents to shoot 49.4% from two. With Thomas Robinson they'll have to collapse more, which should open up some looks from three.

The main player to watch is probably Royce White: The Minnesota transfer is averaging 13.1 points per game, and is doing it relatively efficiently, with a 53.9% eFG. He has a 23.2% defensive rebounding rate, and is the best offensive rebounder on the team, but with KU's trees on the inside we'll see if that continues. White is also the tallest regular at 6'8", which poses obvious problems for the Cyclones inside, but it could also limit Jeff Withey's playing time, depending on how perimeter oriented the Cyclones can play.

Iowa State has a lot of talent, and I think they can finish as high as fourth in the conference if things break right, but they don't have enough to beat KU at Allen Fieldhouse: KenPom predicts a comfortable 79-62 win for the Jayhawks and gives the home team a 93% chance to win. They do shoot 39% from three as a team, so they have a shot, but they'll need to make a lot of them to win on Saturday.

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