Wow. So that was a fun game. Kansas defeated Iowa State 92-81 in Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night. Here are five quick observations from the game:
1. Andrew Wiggins is pretty good at basketball.
Okay, that's cheating. But my goodness that was amazing. Flying down the court in transition, pulling up with confidence both in the mid-range and from deep. Wiggins finished with 29 points on just 16 shots, including 4 of 6 from downtown, also adding 7 rebounds. Unquestionably the sequence of the game was with 3:27 left in the game, when Wiggins got fouled hard (ruled an intentional foul), drained two free throws, gathered and tipped in an Embiid miss in one fluid motion, then broke free in transition off a turnover for an exciting dunk that brought the Fieldhouse to a loud roar. Wiggins appears to be figuring out ways to assert himself in KU's offense, even though it's not exactly ideal for him. If Wiggins is able to continue his hot streak, he could have a legitimate shot at Big 12 Player of the Year. What a disappointment, huh?
2. Naadir Tharpe played a very intelligent game.
I've had my frustrations with Tharpe but he played a very solid basketball game, with double digit assists and only one turnover. The biggest thing with me, though, is he only had one shot that game that I can classify as a bad shot. But he made it, so I would say he played pretty well. Kansas still is trying to figure out ways to hide him on defense, but he occasionally has been productive on that end as well. Tharpe got the steal that led to the momentous Wiggins dunk late in the second half.
3. DeAndre Kane is a monster.
DeAndre Kane was just fantastic in that game. He got to the rim with relative ease, and often faced great contests once he got there, but it didn't matter. He shot 70% at the rim going into the game, and I'm pretty sure that's going to rise coming out of the game. Before re-watching, I believe Selden and Tharpe spent the most time guarding him, and they didn't do much to impede Kane's progress toward the rim, though it's quite possible he would have gotten there even with good defenders on him. I would have liked to put Wiggins on him earlier, since he wasn't in foul trouble. But I'll go ahead and trust that Self knows what he is doing on defense.
4. Wayne Selden has been quietly improving.
I can't really show you significant statistical output from Wayne Selden, but I have come away from several games in a row fairly impressed with his play. He has done a lot of the little things, such as drawing attention and kicking it to the hot hand, attacking when the offense is stagnant and has a lane, and continuing to make a couple very impressive reads and passes each game. Selden is having a lot of fun out there, and it appears to be contagious. His defense, which I'll talk about in the future in greater detail, has even been improving lately. Self has been assigning him with more important tasks on defense, and it appears that he does much better when he is engaged with a ball handler than he is defending off ball and rotating. I'm gaining more confidence with Selden each game in Big 12 play, and I have a feeling that Bill Self is as well.
5. Perry Ellis went up strong against smaller defenders.
This one was pretty big for me. Perry Ellis got the ball in situations to score several times in the paint and went up strong over smaller defenders to score. This is hopefully something he will do more often, and it was really encouraging to see. He finished with 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting, with 6 rebounds. On defense, he even added 2 blocks and a steal, though he did leave a couple of shooters open, though that probably was to be expected since he usually isn't guarding long-range shooting threats.
Tom Fehr is a KU student, fan, and new contributor to Rock Chalk Talk. You can follow him on Twitter @TJFsports.