Tonight, Iowa State marks its first appearance on ESPN’s Big Monday since 2006.
Tonight, the nation’s college basketball fans will be entertained.
Kansas and Iowa State, Hilton Coliseum, 8 p.m.
The Jayhawks have a 66-37 record against Iowa State in Ames (they’ve been doing this a long time), but there have been a lot of ISU home wins in this series that burned brightly and for a long time.
Larry Brown coached Kansas for five seasons, including in 1988 when the Jayhawks won the national-title. His teams went 0-5 in Hilton.
KU was ranked seventh when it came to Ames in 1993. It left with a 75-71 loss that helped lift ISU into the NCAA tournament. The Cyclones were 11-of-17 from 3-point range in that game.
The Jayhawks also lost at Iowa State in 1995, 1999, 2000. The 2001 Kansas team went to the NCAA Sweet 16, and had three players who are still in the NBA: Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and Drew Gooden. Iowa State beat that team in Ames, 79-71.
In 2004, Kansas went to the Elite Eight. But it lost at Iowa State. Then, while Kansas maintained its excellence, Iowa State faded. KU won seven straight times at Hilton.
That streak ended last year with a bang. The Cyclones beat the Jayhawks, 72-64. Kansas went on to reach the national-championship game.
Tonight, Kansas brings a No. 6 ranking to Ames. The Jayhawks share the Big 12 lead with Kansas State at 11-3. Iowa State is 9-5 in the league. Overall, Kansas is 23-4, ISU 19-8. The Cyclones are 15-0 at home this season, and have won their last 22 games in Hilton. That’s the third-longest active streak in the nation.
Iowa State leads the nation in 3-pointers made, with an average of 9.6 per game. It has six players who can’t be left unguarded beyond the arc, and it’s a good passing team. It’s a good rebounding team, too.
Kansas, meanwhile, is Kansas. Freshman guard Ben McLemore is an All-America candidate. Center Jeff Withey is a 7-footer who is a bad matchup for most teams, ISU included. He blocks four shots per game, and has 272 in his career. He has been the Big 12′s Player of the Week the last two weeks.
I think it’s going to be loud in Hilton tonight. And crazy. Real loud. Real crazy.
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