I joked yesterday that, given the events in Ames, Iowa State would probably come out and shoot 20-30 from three and win by 15 last night. Well, they tried their best from three (10-26), and actually shot better than Kansas from two (55.5% to 55%), but the Jayhawks shot 45.5% from beyond the arc and dominated the glass en route to a big win over the Cyclones.
Kansas rebounded 34.4% of their misses for the game, and only allowed the Cyclones to grab 20.6% of theirs, the biggest reason for the 11 point margin of victory despite similar shooting stats. After a brief lull on the glass, Kansas is now 1st in the Big 12 in defensive rebounding, and 2nd in offensive rebounding.
Just as important was the turnover battle. Kansas only forced turnovers on 17.3% of Cyclone possessions, but only turned it over themselves on 18.7% of their possessions. The Jayhawks also benefited from getting DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim in early foul trouble, keeping them on the bench while they ran out to a sizable first half lead (which was, of course, erased by halftime).
Kansas's next opponent is about as dissimilar from their previous one as it gets. Texas has the length to matchup with Kansas inside, but Kansas has a big edge in the backcourt. From an NBA perspective, it will be fun to see Joel Embiid go against some length, but we'll also get a glimpse of whether Kansas can keep some bigger frontlines off the glass.
Naadir Tharpe: 9. Tharpe made 2 of his 5 threes, all four of his free throws, grabbed 6 rebounds, and had 12 assists to just 1 turnover. The only thing keeping him from a 10 was his horrendous defense, but he was so good offensively that it didn't matter (and he had to guard DeAndre Kane a lot. Not much he could do). It was also Tharpe's first career double double.
Andrew Wiggins: 9.5. Wiggins exploded for 29 points, going 6-10 from two and 4-6 from three. He had more turnovers than anyone else on the team, but also had 7 rebounds and played good defense, although I do think for some reason Bill Self hid him a little bit. It's one thing to put him on a hot shooting Brady Heslip or Phil Forte, who you can pretty much take out of the game with a guy like Wiggins, but it's another thing to put him on guys like Matt Thomas. He's an alright player, but it's a waste of Wiggins' defensive abilities to put him on a guy like that. I have two competing theories as to why, one serious, and one semi facetious. First, Self probably realized Kansas needed Wiggins's offense last night, and wanted him to save some energy on defense. Or, it could be that Self has decided to see how badly he could hamstring Kansas, such as having Wiggins guard a spot up shooter rather than Kane or Ejim, and still have the Jayhawks win.
Perry Ellis: 8. Ellis came out and had the type of game one would expect him to have against a smaller front line like Iowa State's. The Sophomore shot 8-12 from two, grabbed 6 rebounds, and had 2 blocks. Good Perry Ellis has seemingly gone from a certainty to a luxury over the last month or so, but when he plays well Kansas is extremely tough to beat.
Wayne Selden: 7.5. It's a bit unfair to Selden's potential and talent to call him a glue guy, but after seeing the hustle plays he's made all conference season, it's tough to think of him as anything else. He's probably got the biggest motor of all the guards, he's a high character player, and he's also turning himself into a good jumpshooter. He was 2-5 from three last night, and he also made 2 of his 3 twos, including one of those double pump layups that I always yell at him for. Selden also had 5 assists and 2 steals, and played some pretty good on ball defense. I do wish, though, that Self would have put him on Kane more to stop Kane from posting up Mason so much.
Joel Embiid: 8. Embiid didn't have the defensive impact he did in the first matchup, but he was worlds better at getting out of the double teams, and though he "only" went 5-8 from two, he was 4-5 from the line and grabbed 11 rebounds, including 5 offensive. He also added multiple tapbacks to teammates. Some of these are offensive rebounds, but some are not. For more, read this New York Times article on Tyson Chandler.
Jamari Traylor: 6. It was a bit of an off game for the Sophomore, as he missed his only shot, but he did add 6 rebounds. He also did not commit a turnover.
Frank Mason: 4.5. Mason made a big three late in the game, but was 1-5 from the field overall, had just 1 assist to 2 turnovers, and got repeatedly destroyed defensively. Some of that isn't his fault, however, as it is a little unfair to expect him to guard DeAndre Kane in the post.