In what is sure to be the least read post on this website for at least this year, Kansas visits Ames for round two of the matchup against Iowa State.
Last night was a boon for both the offense and defense, but it’s fair to reason the next matchup won’t be the same. For starters, Kansas got fairly lucky on the defensive end in terms of Iowa State shooting just 5-25 from three despite some pretty good looks behind the arc. That being said, it’s worth noting many of the open ones came from guys who are sub-30 percent shooters from three on the season. As I have said both here and on the podcast, a defense can only take away so many things and needs to prioritize what to take away, so allowing bad shooters to shoot seems like a reasonable strategy.
One thing I noticed last night (and have been noticing for much of the year, but it really stood out last night for some reason) is the help defender will oftentimes try to block a shot at the rim that he has basically no chance of blocking, rather than staying in position for a rebound. This has given up quite a few offensive rebounds over the course of the season, and gave Iowa State a few extra ones last night. The Cyclones rebounded just 21 percent of their misses, but in a year where Kansas hasn’t been terribly efficient offensively, it’s more important to make sure they can attempt more field goals than their opponents.
Offensively I was encouraged by how the Jayhawks played. The ball movement was crisp and they actually got some layups to go down. Although they didn’t dominate the offensive glass, the hustle for missed shots and loose balls (on both ends of the floor) was noticeable. Some of that was due to getting to play a bad team that isn’t good at defense, but the energy level is something that should show up against every team on the schedule. Sure they won’t shoot 46 percent from three again (probably), but even if they are 10 percent lower than that, that should be good enough to win a lot of games, especially if they keep not turning the ball over (just 9.5 percent of possessions).
I think it will be closer, but I like the Jayhawks again. Even with the talent disparity, they matchup well with the Cyclones and do things that bother them on both ends. I suspect Iowa State comes out more motivated and probably puts up quite a fight for the first half or so, but I’ll take Kansas to eventually pull away, 76-65.
2021 ATS: 15-5