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Iowa State Preview, Or Hey Royce White Is Pretty Good

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Last time the Jayhawks met Iowa State they nearly were dealt an unthinkable loss in Lawrence, and with Iowa State having one of the more famed home courts (at least to Big 12 fans) I don't think any Kansas fans would be surprised if they were dealt their first loss of Big 12 play in Ames.

The biggest way Kansas can maximize its chances of winning is by limiting Royce White as much as possible. White has gone from problem child at Minnesota, where he never played a game, to one of the best players in the conference. He leads the Big 12 in FT rate, ranks first in usage rate and is second in both defensive rebounding percentage and assist rate.

White gets most of his points from two, as he's only taken 5 threes on the year, but he is extremely good at getting to the hoop with 63% of his field goals coming at the rim. Only a third of those are assisted, so he does a lot of the work himself.

The big key to stopping White is probably just sending him to the free throw line. He shoots right around 50% from the stripe, so late in a big game the hack-a-Royce strategy might be our best one.

The other good strategy is to keep him as far away from the basket as possible. Although White shoots 54% from two, he's shooting just 25% on two point jumpers. Only two Cyclones are shooting above 40% on two point jumpers, so while it's not rocket science that forcing teams to shoot a lot of mid range shots is usually the best strategy it goes double for this Cyclone team given that they shoot 37.5% from three.

This might end up being a game that Kansas has to win with offense. Iowa State is last in Big 12 play in forcing turnovers, which should help a lot especially in a tough road environment. They defend the three well but are much poorer at defending the two, allowing their opponents to shoot 49% from inside the arc in Big 12 play. Interestingly the Cyclones are the 2nd best defensive rebounding team in the conference despite an effective height of -.8, which is 233rd in the country. It could be that their opponents don't take many threes, or it could be that their guards are just that good at rebounding.

Based on the first meeting I don't think anyone would be surprised by an Iowa State win. Based on both team's seasons to date, KenPom predicts a 75-67 Kansas win (in 70 possessions) with Kansas having a 76% chance of winning.

one final note: if anyone has a site where games are archived that's NOT espn3 that would be a huge help as I want to do more video analysis type stuff but don't get espn3 (or watch ESPN as it's called now) at my apartment. You can either leave it in the comments or email it to me (fetch9 at gmail dot com). Thanks.