No. 9 Kansas at No. 11 Iowa State
▪ WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa
▪ TV/RADIO: ESPN; KCSP (610 AM)
▪ ABOUT KANSAS (14-2, 3-0 Big 12): Last season, Kansas was 2-0 in the Big 12 when it arrived at Hilton Coliseum to face Iowa State on Jan. 13. The Jayhawks, led by freshmen Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, pulled out a 77-70 victory, setting the table for a 10th straight Big 12 title. Now Kansas is going for 11 straight and, with a victory, the Jayhawks can improve to 4-0 in the Big 12 for a fourth straight season. They have also won 11 of 13 at Hilton. After scoring 16 points in a victory over Oklahoma State, Mason surpassed Ellis as Kansas’ leading scorer. Mason, who is averaging 12.4 points per game, also leads the Jayhawks with 68 assists, 23 steals and 22 three-pointers. Freshman forward Cliff Alexander is 10 of 14 from the floor in his last three games and has blocked six shots. Kansas ranks first in the conference in scoring defense (55.3 points per game) and first in field-goal percentage defense (32.7).
▪ ABOUT IOWA STATE (12-3, 2-1 Big 12): The Cyclones return home to face Kansas after suffering their first Big 12 loss, a 74-73 setback at No. 22 Baylor on Wednesday. Iowa State, though, presumably won’t have an issue moving on. KU is coming to town. ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be at Hilton Coliseum. For coach Fred Hoiberg, in his fifth season, the transfer train has rolled on. This year, it’s former UNLV standout Bryce Dejean-Jones, who is averaging 12.9 points per game, helping fill a scoring void left by the departure of DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim. The Cyclones also are getting solid contributions from big man Jameel McKay, a former Marquette transfer. The offense, though, begins with Niang and Morris. Niang is fifth in the Big 12 in scoring, while Morris ranks first nationally with a 5.6-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio. Iowa State has lost two in a row to KU in Ames, but the Cyclones handled the Jayhawks in last year’s Big 12 semifinals at the Sprint Center. Hoiberg is 2-8 all-time against Kansas.