Scouting Iowa State

News, notes and quotes on No. 3 KU's matchup with Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum today at 1 p.m. (CT), as the Jayhawks (17-1) begin three of their next four games on the road. Today's game will be televised on ESPN with Ron Franklin and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.

SCOUTING IOWA STATE

Iowa State (12-6, 1-2  Big 12), which is coming off a 78-71 defeat at Texas Tech on Wednesday, has lost three of its last five games after previously winning four straight. However, two of those losses came against then-No. 2 Texas (90-83) at home on Jan. 13 and vs. then-No. 7 Duke (86-65) in Chicago on Jan. 6.

Head coach Greg McDermott's Cyclones suited up just eight scholarship players against Tech. ISU's third leading scorer and top three-point shooter, Lucca Staiger, quit the team a day before to pursue a professional basketball career in Germany.

ISU, which is 9-2 at home this season, is averaging 75.8 points per game and allowing 67.0. The Cyclones are shooting 47.1 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from three-point range (No. 3 in nation) and 62.1 percent at the free-throw line, while outrebounding foes 38.4 to 36.1 per game.

Junior forward Craig Brackins leads the Cyclones' attack at 16.2 points per game (No. 10 in Big 12). He has a team-high 23 blocks and is second on the team with 49 assists and 8.2 rebounds per game. Senior forward Marquis Gilstrap has also been huge this season, averaging 14.9 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds per game (No. 5 in Big 12). Junior guard Diante Garrett is next in scoring (8.4 ppg, No. 3 in Big 12 with 5.2 assists per game and also team leader with 25 steals), followed by junior forward LaRon Dendy (7.7 ppg, 20 blocks), sophomore guard Scott Christopherson (6.9 ppg, team-best 22 treys), sophomore center Justin Hamilton (4.9 ppg), freshman guard Chris Colvin (3.0 ppg) and sophomore guard Dominique Buckley (2.0 ppg).

KU will obviously have to contain Brackins and Gilstrap. The latter is a 6-7, 215-pound transfer from Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College who opened the Big 12 season with three straight double-doubles, averaging 18 points and 12.3 rebounds in conference play. He joined former Texas standout and current NBA star Kevin Durant as the last two Big 12 players to post double-doubles in their first three games vs. conference competition.

"He has helped us out a lot with his physical play, rebounding and scoring," Garrett told Cyclones.com. "He can do a lot of things on the court that we didn't have last season."

KU coach Bill Self is quite impressed with Gilstrap.

"I don't want to call Gilstrap a secondary scorer (behind Brackins), because he is a guy that can go for 30 every night," Self said. "Iowa State has two guys now that defenses have to decide how they're going to guard, and Gilstrap is such a good athlete that he can make plays you don't coach. That is something that Iowa State probably has not had as much of, with a very athletic wing like this."

Of course, Self knows all about Brackins. He exploded for 42 points in KU's 82-67 victory over ISU in Ames last season.

"You are not going to be able to stop him," Self said. "Maybe we can slow him down and limit his good touches, maybe we can make him run, which we did not do a good job of last year. We will wait and see how the game goes this year. They are a little more balanced, in large part because Gilstrap is a really good player."

Iowa State has a formidable task on Saturday; the Cyclones have lost their last 16 straight games to ranked opponents, including three this season. But Gilstrap just hopes ISU can showcase a similar performance against Kansas as it did vs. Texas recently.

 "The sky is the limit for us as long as we play like we did against Texas," Gilstrap said. "If we play like that every night, we should be able to hang with anybody."

NO OVERLOOKING THE CYCLONES

Self doesn't see his players looking ahead to KU's ESPN Big Monday clash with Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 25.

"Our focus is going to Ames, and playing the Cyclones," Self said. "We have been successful up there the last few years, but we also have labored the last few games. We know it will be tough, and all we have to do is put on the Texas tape, and know how [Hilton Coliseum] can rock, and how Iowa State can play."

Former KU coach Larry Brown, one of the best coaches in basketball history, never won in Hilton Coliseum during his five years at Kansas (1983-88), four with Danny Manning on his roster.

That demonstrates how rough it is to play in Ames.

"It's always been a tough atmosphere," KU senior guard Sherron Collins said. "It is always going to be hard playing there, especially when Iowa State is going to give everybody its best shot. ... The crowd never gets out of the game."

SERIES HISTORY

Kansas leads the all-time series with Iowa State 166-58 with the series dating back to 1908. KU has won the last eight meetings, and holds a 64-36 record against ISU in games played in Ames, Iowa, including a 20-18 edge in Hilton Coliseum. The Jayhawks have defeated the Cyclones five-straight times in Hilton dating back to 2005. 

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