Iowa State Cyclones vs. Kansas Jayhawks Pick & Prediction JANUARY 27th 2024

Iowa State has been quite successful of late when hosting Big 12 teams that are featured in the Top 25.

It is a stretch that includes taking down mighty Kansas.

The No. 23 Cyclones eye a seventh consecutive home victory over a ranked home opponent on Saturday afternoon when the No. 7 Jayhawks visit Ames, Iowa.

For a second straight season, Iowa State (15-4, 4-2 Big 12) is 12-0 at home, and last won its first 13 there in 2014-15. The Cyclones have been particularly good against Top 25 opponents at Ames, winning the last six such games and eight of nine — most recently 57-53 over then-No. 2 and previously undefeated Houston on Jan. 9.

During that six-game run, visitors to Ames are averaging just 61.7 points and shooting 29.3 percent from 3-point range.

“We’re very grateful to be able to play in front of such a great fan base that gives us energy,” Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said of the environment at Hilton Coliseum.

Kansas (16-3, 4-2) fell victim to the madness of the Cyclones’ home court, ending a seven-game winning streak in the series with last season’s 68-53 loss — when both teams were also ranked. The Jayhawks shot 38.6 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers in that contest.

Kansas enters this season’s only scheduled meeting with Iowa State just 1-2 on the road in Big 12 play. Both defeats came against unranked opponents in UCF and West Virginia.

Kansas also has lost 11 of its last 13 true road games against Top 25 teams. However, one of those victories came at Iowa State in February 2022.

The Jayhawks gutted out a 74-69 home win over Cincinnati on Monday and will have had some down time to prepare for their latest key league matchup. And, perhaps, they get the likes of banged-up stars Hunter Dickenson (18.8 points per game, 11.1 rebounds per game) and Kevin McCullar Jr. (20.0 points) a little healthier during the layoff from game action.

“It does mean more to win on Monday,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self, whose squad has played 10 games decided by nine or fewer points this season.

“So, maybe, you can be in better spirits (until) Saturday.”

Kansas freshman Johnny Furphy has stepped up since starting the last four games — he is averaging 17.0 points on 16-of-26 shooting and 8.3 rebounds in the last three. The 6-foot-9 Furphy has been a key contributor to a Jayhawks group that is talented but doesn’t have much notable depth.

“He’s a good player. We’ve known that all along,” Self said.

“We need guys to step up and play in a way that adds value when they’re in the game.”

Meanwhile, Iowa State’s Curtis Jones has totaled 35 points in the last two games.

“You can just tell he’s more confident out there,” Otzelberger said. “He’s hunting his shot more, which we want him to do. Being more aggressive.”

Versatile Cyclones star Tamin Lipsey, the team leader in points (14.1), assists (5.6), rebounds (5.3) and steals (3-2), has also been dealing with injury. He’s totaled just 17 points in his last two games, but nearly missed a triple-double during last season’s home win over Kansas with nine points, 10 assists and eight boards.

–Field Level Media

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