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Game Primer: How to Watch, Key Players and Important Information for Kansas Jayhawks at Iowa State Cyclones

The Jayhawks broke their losing streak against West Virginia, but can they establish a new winning streak?
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The Kansas Jayhawks finally broke through and picked up another conference win, staging a big comeback in the second half to notch a victory over West Virginia. Up next is a depleted Iowa State team that is still playing at a high level, but is vulnerable in some key positions.

It's another matchup between two ranked teams, one of many that we will see the rest of the year. So here is everything you need to know before today's game.

The Numbers

Editor's Note: Unless otherwise noted, all stats are provided by CBB Analytics. CBB Analytics is a new stats website in college hoops, covering both men and women's basketball in D-I, D-II and D-III. You can follow them on Twitter @CBBAnalytics

Kansas: 13-4 (3-3 Big 12): CBB Analytics Net Rating - 39th overall, 68th offense, 32nd defense

Iowa State: 12-4 (4-2 Big 12): Net Rating - 36th overall, 26th offense, 109th defense

Line: ISU -5.5

O/U: 135.5

How to Watch

Saturday, January 21st, 5:00 p.m. CST

Ames, IA: Hilton Coliseum

TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+

- B.J. Schaben (Play-by-Play), Chelsea Poppens (Analyst)

Radio: IMG Jayhawk Radio Network

- Steven Davis (Play-by-Play)

Webcast: Kansas Online Radio

Game Coverage

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Opponent Team Form

The Cycloness are coached by Bill Fennely, who is in his 28th season at Iowa State. His record at the school is 580-295. Last season, they finished 28-7 overall, including a 14-4 Big 12 record. They finished the season in an upset by Creighton in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

This season, the team is shooting 43.0% overall and 31.8% from three-point range, with a 79.6% average from the free-throw line. They are a slow paced team that gets the majority of their points in the half court. They are middle of the pack in offensive rebound, points in the paint and getting to the line, but they take almost half of their shots from beyond the arc. 

Defensively, they are a very sound team that plays straight up, fronting the post and trying to keep the ball out on the perimeter where their best defenders are. They don't really stand out in a lot of areas, as they don't force many turnovers, they don't block many shots, and they aren't forcing a lot of bad shots from the opponents. They also send their opponents to the line more often than you would like. But they do limit second chances, with the Div 1 best 78% defensive rebounding rate. 

Players to Watch

The Cyclones are led by senior guard Ashley Joens, who scores 19.1 points per game and pulls down an average of 9.1 rebounds, tops on the team (among those still playing). Emily Ryan is the main ballhandler and leads the team in assists and Lexi Donarski, the returning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, helps round out the perimeter defense.

The losses of Stephanie Soares and Beatriz Jordao are huge in the post, as it leaves a big hole that the Cyclones have been struggling to fill situationally. Some combination of Nyamer Diew, Morgan Kane  and Izzi Zingaro have been picking up minutes, but it is hard to tell who is going to have the unenviable task of trying to cover the Jayhawks in the post.

Matchups to Watch

I feel like a broken record here, because size has been a big issue for Iowa State as well. Senior center Taiyanna Jackson will have a huge impact on this game, but she won't be the only one. Ioanna Chatzileonti and Chandler Prater each bring a different dimension into the post game, and smart use of each can make it difficult for Iowa State to keep up. It's a strange position to be in.

On the perimeter, Holly Kersgieter will need to be on a hot streak, but the defensive efforts of Iowa State could easily send her into a slump. Wyvette Mayberry has pretty quickly shown herself to be the most important Jayhawk on the perimeter, as her ball-handling frees up Zakiyah Franklin to play more off the ball. Look to see how well Iowa State can force Mayberry into foul trouble.


I would normally chalk this one up immediately as a loss, but the post game is a HUGE issue for this team. Iowa State is not nearly the defensive juggernaut they usually are, and so I expect Kansas to get some pretty big opportunities to score.

Kansas kicked it into another gear in the second half against West Virginia, and I just get the feeling they keep it going.  Give me the Jayhawks as they get back above .500 in the conference.

Kansas 74, Iowa State 65.

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