KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas staved off Iowa State when the teams met twice in January.
Now the Jayhawks have to do it without seven-foot phenom Joel Embiid, who had a large hand in the first two wins.
"That's what everybody came here for," junior point guard Naadir Tharpe said. "If one guy's missing, the next guy should be able to step up."
In their quarterfinals takedown of Oklahoma State in overtime, the Jayhawks posted a defensive rebounding rate of 86 percent while snagging 27.3 percent of available offensive rebounds.
The first number meshes nicely with the mark achieved in the March 1 loss to Oklahoma State, 90 percent, in which Embiid played. The Jayhawks don't figure to be as successful on the offensive glass without Embiid, the nation's No. 81 offensive rebounder, and against Oklahoma State swiped 27.3 percent of available offensive rebounds.
Cyclones' Spacing a Matchup Nightmare
Iowa State employs a nontraditional lineup, with two point guards and three forwards. The small look hurts the Cyclones in some matchups, such as against Kansas, when they'll double Embiid and take their chances with an outside shooter.
Fred Hoiberg's lineup has plenty of advantages, though, with smooth ball movement and great floor spacing.
"They got a lot of guys who can score the ball at all five positions," Kansas' Tharpe said. "We're gonna have to do a lot of switching. It's always a tough game for us.
"All five positions, they can shoot the ball really well. That's one thing I think about."
Huggins Believes WVU Good Enough for Tourney
West Virginia came to Kansas City needing to win at least one game to have a puncher's chance at the NCAA tournament. The Mountaineers instead delivered a convincing argument as to why they shouldn't receive an at-large bid, losing 66-49 to Texas after falling behind 15-2.
Head coach Bob Huggins says his Mountaineers (17-15) are better than their record indicates, having beat four RPI Top 50 teams.
"Well, we were sixth in the best league in the country," Huggins said. "You know, we struggled early and we lost some games early because we were so young. ... I've learned that you sit there on Sunday and try and figure it out. How do I know what goes on?
"But are we (good enough for NCAA tourney)? Sure we are, right now we are. I mean, take today aside, yeah, we are. But I don't know. I don't know what everybody looks at and what's really important."
Texas' Holmes Says Knee's 100 Percent
Longhorns junior forward Jonathan Holmes injured his right knee Feb. 8 against Kansas State, forcing him to miss two games.
Holmes was a game-time decision in the regular season finale against Texas Tech, playing 21 minutes. Holmes says he's back at full force, though, and looked the part in Thursday's win over West Virginia, scoring 20 points in 18 minutes and recording seven rebounds.
"I'd say it's 100 percent," Holmes said. "It didn't bother me once this whole week so I'm feeling good about it."