After their 73-66 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners on Thursday, the Iowa State Cyclones will face the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks in the 2013 Big 12 tournament on Friday.
Expect the Jayhawks to soar over the Cyclones.
Kansas (27-5, 14-4 Big 12) dominated Texas Tech 91-63 on Thursday to advance to the semifinal matchup in Kansas City. The Jayhawks shot an astounding 66 percent from the field, while going 9-of-18 from downtown and 20-of-23 from the free-throw line. Kansas also outrebounded Texas Tech 26-16 while forcing 17 turnovers.
The Jayhawks are interesting in that all of their games against ranked opponents have been close, yet they've lost to unranked teams TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor.
The 81-58 loss to Baylor on March 9 was alarming. The Jayhawks shot 38 percent and allowed the Bears to shoot 58 percent. They also were outrebounded and committed 13 turnovers.
Kansas defeated Iowa State in both of their matchups, but both games went into overtime. Kansas was able to hold off a three-point barrage by the Cyclones (17-of-41) with a three-point barrage of its own (13-of-25) and an advantage on the glass on Feb. 25. The Jayhawks also shot better and cleaned up on the glass against Iowa State on Jan. 29.
Will Iowa State upset Kansas on Friday?
However, it's definitely worth noting that Kansas has had problems taking care of the ball all season long. The Jayhawks committed a combined 29 turnovers in their two matchups against the Cyclones, and they rank 153rd in turnovers per possession (according to TeamRankings.com). They've lost the ball in more than 19 percent of their possessions this season.
In the end, the fact that the Jayhawks have been able to defeat Iowa State twice this season despite committing so many turnovers tells you something. Kansas is a better shooting team, it has an advantage on the glass and it plays much better defense (ranked first in the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage, via TeamRankings.com). That has proven to be a lot to overcome for the Cyclones.
Iowa State has the right idea by trying to win the ballgame with its three-point shooting (ranked 32nd in the country), but it's not enough.
The Cyclones will fall to the Jayhawks for the third time this season in the semifinals of the 2013 Big 12 tournament.
Prediction: Kansas 85, Iowa State 75
*Complete bracket can be found here