Didn't we just do one of these? And with Iowa State as well? Such is the life in the Big 12, where big game after big game come at you relentlessly, and we see everyone twice. We are joined again by Dan Becker (aka KnowDan) from Wide Right & Natty Lite, the SB Nation site that covers the Iowa State Cyclones.
RCT: So the last time these two teams got together, it was billed as the biggest game in the conference to that point, with Iowa State needing a victory to keep up with the Jayhawks in the conference race. Just a few short weeks later, we are in the same situation thanks to a baffling loss at Texas Tech. I've heard lots of theories, but what happened in that game? And is this game really a must win for the Cyclones?
WRNL: This team has yet to find who its leaders are that can get in the ear of the others and tell them to ignore the name on the front of the jersey and play every team seriously. It didn't help that for as hot as Tech was from behind the arc, Iowa State was equally as cold. They settled for shots too easily, and that's been the common theme in three of their four losses. It really came down to not starting the game seriously, allowing a Tech run, and then spending copious amounts of energy to even have a shot to tie on the last possession.
RCT: Thanks to big games on the inside from Georges Niang, Monte Morris and Bryce Dejean-Jones, Iowa State was able to get their first double-digit win in conference play. Do you expect this type of play to continue, or will Iowa State revert back to their usual 3-point shooting focused selves?
WRNL: There's this misnomer out there that Iowa State has to bomb it from deep to win games, and it couldn't be further from the truth. They went 5-11 from behind the arc against TCU and only attempted three shots that weren't either in the paint or behind the arc. When Hoiball is at its best the team is owning the block and opening up outside shooters. That's what happened on Saturday, it happened on Monday against Texas (6-14 from deep, 29-53 overall), and it all has to do with the renewed focus on Niang in the post. Previous Hoiberg teams could shoot the lights out, but this one is similar to last year's squad that has to play an inside-out game to be at their best.
RCT: Obviously in the win last time the Cyclones were able to use a little Hilton Magic to pull out the victory. How much of a difference do you think Allen Fieldhouse will make in this game?
WRNL: Home court matters in college basketball and Iowa State and Kansas have the two best home count advantages in the conference. Even if Allen Fieldhouse is just another gym it's still a tough venue to play in and Bill Self's Big XII record there speaks for itself. Better teams than this year's Iowa State squad have went in there and lost, and it's critical this team keep the game within single digits at all times to have a chance at the end. The way I see it if the game ever gets above 7 or 8 points then the crowd will be too much for the team to overcome.
RCT: Which is better: hosting Big Monday or College Gameday?
WRNL: College Gameday. Not that Big Monday isn't a big deal, and they're both indicators of a national program, but Gameday has significantly more pomp and circumstance around it.
RCT: What is your prediction for the game? Can Kansas use the Phog to reverse the power of Hilton and pull out the victory? Or does Iowa State ride their momentum from the game against TCU and pull even in the conference standings?
WRNL: Momentum? TCU? Does not compute. That was definitely a "taking care of business" game to set up for tonight's match up. This game will hinge on whichever team can stop the bleeding in transition, and despite how bad Kansas' transition defense looked in Ames, I still think Iowa State's is worse. If Kansas gets to running then the crowd gets in to it and we know how things work in the Phog when the Jayhawks get rolling. It'll be another good game between these two, but give me Kansas 78, Iowa State 73
RCT: BONUS - Star Trek or Star Wars?
WRNL: Fan of both, always been a bigger fan of Star Wars. Being set away from our galaxy and our timeline seems to make it easier to be immersed in.
We are on a break from our first bonus question until we play West Virginia in a couple weeks. Instead, Star Wars starts out with the early lead here. Hopefully this one won't be so lopsided.
A special thanks to Dan for joining us again on such a short turnaround.