Iowa State Cyclones (10-1, 0-0 Big 12)
ISU guard Jake Sullivan vs. Binghamton on Dec. 7 (AP Photo/Steve Pope)
The Cyclones host the Jayhawks to open Big 12 play this season. ISU comes into the game with an impressive 10-1 record, with their biggest thusfar a road victory over Iowa on December 13. The Clones won that game 73-69.
ISU's only loss this season was a home game against Boston College.
ISU Players to Watch
There will be lots of matchups to keep your eyes on in this game, but here are a few key ones to look for.
- Jackson Vroman (Jr. F/6-10/230)
Vroman, a JUCO transfer from Snow Community College, led the Scenic West Conference last season with nearly 24 ppg and 10 rpg.
Vroman is a big man that can run the floor, and has a nice face-up game as well as having the ability to score with his back to the basket. His stats thusfar this season are not as gaudy as in JUCO ball, but he's still scoring 10 ppg, and is the second rebounder in the Big 12 - grabbing nearly 10 boards per contest.
- Jake Sullivan (Jr. G/6-1/190)
Sullivan is a combo guard that can flat-out shoot the ball. Through 11 games, Sullivan is averaging nearly 19 ppg, has attempted 46 3-point field goals, and is making them at more than a 41% clip. If the Jayhawks don't keep a body on Sullivan, it could be a long night in Ames.
- Tim Barnes (Jr. G/6-0/170)
Barnes, like Vroman, is another key component of the JUCO help that the Cyclones added this season. A transfer from Southeastern Illinois Community College (SICC), Barnes averaged more than 19 ppg, nearly 8 apg, and more than 2 steals per game at SICC.
Barnes is a slasher and a shooter, tallying nearly 11 points and more than 6 assists per game. Like Sullivan, this guard is also shooting more than 40% from behind the arc.
Kansas Jayhawks (9-3, 0-0 Big 12)
The Jayhawks, while winning six games in a row, are still reeling from the loss of forward Wayne Simien. Simien, the team's leading rebounder and most consistent scorer, was averaging nearly 16 ppg and 9 rpg this season when he went down to a shoulder injury in the Jayhawks' previous game.
KU Players to Watch
- Jeff Graves (Jr. F/6-9/270)
With Simien out of the lineup for this game, the remaining starting spot in the Kansas frontcourt will likely fall to JUCO transfer Jeff Graves. Graves is only averaging about 12 minutes per game, but he'll be tapped on the shoulder for many more until the return of Simien.
Graves does give the Jayhawks much-needed bulk in the post, but so far this season he's only been able to contribute about 3 points and 4 boards per contest. In the last game, however, this big man got his first double-double in a Kansas uniform, grabbing 12 rebounds and scoring 10 points. With a lot of the ISU post defense focused on Nick Collison, Graves will need to be able to put some points on the board when given the opportunity.
- Nick Collison (Sr. F/6-9/255)
Nick has been KU's most consistent and productive player, scoring 19 ppg, grabbing over 8 rpg, and shooting 77% from the charity stripe. Collison, a skilled passing big man, will likely face numerous double-teams in this game, and he'll need to kick the ball to an open perimeter player or drop it to his counterpart in the post, Jeff Graves.
- The KU Bench
With probably plenty of help at the guard slot, the big test for KU's bench will come in supporting the effort down low. In addition to losing Simien, KU's Freshman forward Moulaya Niang is in the process of returning to his native Senegal to attend the funeral of his father, and thus won't be able to be counted on to come in and spell the KU starting guys in the post.
The question of the day: Who subs for Graves and Simien? Will it be Junior WF Bryant Nash? Sr. walk-on Brett Olson? Or, will the Jayhawks elect to play Sophomore guard Michael Lee against one of the bigger ISU guys on defense?
Further Info and Message Board Links
Gametime is 8:00 pm (Central), and television coverage is being provided by ESPN.