Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport
Iowa State won't have any trouble finding motivation for this one. Hopefully Bill Self and Kansas can do the same.
Sometimes in sports you have a series of events that lead to a culminating moment. Ben McLemore hits a three and Kansas wins in overtime. The Jayhawks benefit from a few calls and beat a juiced up Cyclone team at home playing very good basketball. It's a fortunate situation on the one end, but a very frustrating one on the other.
As a Kansas fan it's impossible not to recognize the good fortune that led to both wins over Iowa State. At the same time the constant clamoring that suggests we owe some sort of apology can be difficult to ignore. Iowa State is the worst matchup in the Big 12 for Kansas. Tonight's game is going to be filled with a tremendous amount of added fire because of those first two games. This could work in several ways, some could be good for Kansas, some could be very bad. What's clear is that there is plenty of fuel for a burning fire.
I did a Q&A with SB Nation's Iowa State representation, but for my part I didn't have a lot of questions for them. I think Kansas fans realize that Iowa State is a tough matchup, this will be a huge task in front of Kansas today and a challenge that may well end in a loss. I did have one question as it pertained to this matchup, and that was the general feeling from the Iowa State side regarding the last game. I just wanted some perspective.
I think Iowa State has had a lot of poor calls go against them, a lot of blown leads (that whole coming back on OU thing is a foreign concept), so they're more sensitive in general to the officiating. K-State fans have the whole rivalry thing going, so it would make sense for them to take an interest in the outcome of the game. I think there was a lot of outrage throughout the league about the call, and a lot of it is just buildup over an entire decade of poor Big 12 officiating, but it was certainly magnified by the fact it was on Big Monday. Nobody's really happy with the call, which to my recollection is the first the Big 12 has actually admitted was wrong, but I can say that I'm over it, other than contributing to completely bogus petitions that call for KU to never play basketball again.
The added animosity does come from the fact that many KU fans seemed incapable with just saying something like, "hey, obviously bad call, but great game, you guys have a good team, looking forward to the next meeting". Instead, there was far more comments about Iowa State being lucky to be in the game for a variety of reasons. Our fans certainly demonstrated very reprehensible behavior after the fact as well, with the hate tweets at Elijah Johnson being the primary issue, and we certainly hope stuff like that never happens again.
On the topic of the actual game: Look, our teams have played twice, we know we can play with you guys even with your overwhelming recruiting talent gap, and I think every Cyclone fan and player is looking forward to another meeting with the reigning king (albeit split) of the Big 12. They've been classics so far, so why not make it 3 for 3?
- CanAzn, Wide Right & Natty Lite