LAWRENCE — As we wait for No. 6 Kansas and No. 16 Iowa State to tip off at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Allen Fieldhouse, here are five things to know as the Jayhawks try to move to 7-0 in the Big 12.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
• 1. Turnover questions: Kansas committed a season-high 24 turnovers in their victory at Iowa State earlier this month. That’s also the highest number for any Big 12 team in a conference game this season.
“I think a lot of it was self-inflicted,” KU coach Bill Self said. “We had 24, and they had eight, and we probably had eight or 10 that were totally unforced.”
Freshman center Joel Embiid finished with seven turnovers, struggling against some of Iowa State’s double-teams in the paint. With more double teams expected on Wednesday night, KU spent the week working on how to counteract the post double.
“(It’s) just being patient,” KU forward Landen Lucas said. “Just enjoy the trap. Don’t panic. If they’re sending an extra guy at you, somebody is open.”
• 2. The Big 12 race: If Kansas can hold serve at home against Iowa State, they’ll keep their two-game lead over Texas and Oklahoma — two teams that have yet to play at Allen Fieldhouse. After Wednesday, Kansas will make a two-game swing into Texas, playing at Texas on Saturday and at Baylor on Tuesday. In reality, the Jayhawks can probably afford a 1-2 stretch over their next three games; they would still be in decent shape in the conference race. On Tuesday, Bill Self called it his team’s toughest three-game stretch in the Big 12 — even with Baylor in shambles.
• 3. The offensive boards: Andrew Wiggins was a major factor on the boards in the first game against Iowa State, finishing with a career-high 19 rebounds. The number may have been a little inflated — Iowa State sent nobody to the offensive boards, and Wiggins racked up a ton of defensive rebounds in the first half.
But he also finished with five offensive rebounds, a season high. And in Big 12 play, Wiggins is averaging 2.8 offensive rebounds per game. For the season, Wiggins is grabbing around eight percent of the available offensive rebounds when he’s on the floor. That’s better than Brandon Rush in 2008 (6.3 percent) and Ben McLemore (five percent) last season.
• 4. Success in Lawrence: Iowa State is the last program to beat Kansas in consecutive years at Allen Fieldhouse, accomplishing the feat in 2000 and 2001. That little piece of trivia will be good for at least another year after KU beat Oklahoma State at Allen Fieldhouse earlier this year.
• 5. Three-point shooting: The Cyclones were just four of 25 from three-point range against KU at Hilton Coliseum earlier this month. That mark included a zero-for-nine night from sophomore Georges Niang. In four career games, Niang has often been a little off against KU. He’s made just seven of 27 three-pointers against KU in four games.
Still, expect Iowa State to clip off a ton of threes.
“When we play Iowa State, it usually is a fun game for fans,” Self said. “I know it’s kind of stressful for coaches probably. We played pretty well up there the first time. We were fortunate they missed shots.”