Mar 14, 2014, 9:52 PM EDT
DeAndre Kane had 20 points, six boards and six assists, hitting 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, and Georges Niang added 25 points and seven assists, doing the majority of his damage down the stretch, as No. 16 Iowa State held off No. 10 Kansas in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament, 94-83.
If you want to know what Iowa State is a trendy Final Four pick and why they will be such a dangerous opponent in the NCAA tournament, all you need to do is watch the film of this game.
This group simply has so many weapons offensively. They are just a nightmare to try to matchup with defensively. Kane’s confidence from three has never been higher. Niang is a nightmare for anyone to try and guard one-on-one. And Melvin Ejim, who had as quiet of a 19-point performance as you’ll ever see, was the Big 12 Player of the Year.
But we already knew all of that about the Cyclones.
The story from this game was the inability of Kansas to find any kind of consistency on the defensive end of the floor.
For the second time in three games, Kansas played a team that spread them out on the perimeter and absolutely gashed them defensively. West Virginia, a team that’s not even in the conversation when it comes to the NCAA tournament, shredded them in a dominating win on the final day of the regular season. The Cyclones did the same on Friday.
Part of the issue is the absence of Joel Embiid. Without him in the lineup, Kansas doesn’t have a rim protector, and if there’s anything we’ve learned over these last six days, it’s that Kansas is not a great defensive team on the perimeter. You can beat them off the bounce and get to the rim.
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The other concern is that, outside of Andrew Wiggins and Perry Ellis, everyone else on Kansas seems to be in a bit of a slump offensively. Naadir Tharpe is 2-for-13 from the floor and 0-for-5 from three the last three games. Wayne Selden is 12-for-36 from the field and 4-for-19 from three the last four games. If they aren’t going to be locking people up defensively, they need more balance offensively.
Wiggins put on a show the last two games, and that resulted in a loss to West Virginia and an overtime win over Oklahoma State. Ellis had 30 points on 11-for-12 shooting on Friday and the Jayhawks still lost to Iowa State.
They need to get stops even if Embiid is out. If they don’t, this is a group that can get picked off before Embiid is even able to return to the floor.
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