Iowa State Cyclones vs Kansas Jayhawks
Tip-off: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
Kevin Young and Elijah Johnson sat in Allen Fieldhouse court and started taking questions after impressing YouWager experts in their non-conference play with a victory over the Temple Owls.
The sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks‘ were asked if they were looking forward to the start of the Big 12 grind, an 18-game saga that will include matchups with two newcomers and all the usual pressure, intensity and nerves that come with late-season basketball.
Kansas (12-1) will begin pursuit of a record ninth straight Big 12 title when tonight they welcome the Iowa State Cyclones(10-3) to the Phog. The last time they were unable to finish first was 2005, when the Oklahoma Sooners won the title. Other than that, they’ve won six outright championships and twice shared the title against the Texas Longhorns, in 2006 and ’08 — the same year Kansas won the national title.
Kansas’ impressive run is coming to a rarefied status. UCLA Bruins under John Wooden won 13 consecutive conference championships, a feat sometimes lost amid this college basketball team’s seven straight national titles. Gonzaga won 11 straight league titles before the previous season.
According to the live college basketball online lines, the Jayhawks are very close to success. This team has the nation’s top shot blocker in Jeff Withey, one of the game’s dynamic freshman guards in Ben McLemore, and four senior starters — a rarity in the era of early NBA entrants — who played roles in taking the Jayhawks to the national title game last season.
They’re starting to click, too. After losing versus the Michigan State Spartans on a neutral floor in early November, Kansas has rattled off 11 consecutive wins, along the way beating the Ohio State Buckeyes on the road, routing Pac-12 contender Colorado Buffaloes and fending off a game challenge from the Owls on Sunday in a 69-62 win.
The Cyclones make it to this game on a four-game win streak after rallying to beat Yale 80-70 on New Year’s Day. Iowa State was down by eight at halftime before outscoring the Gonzaga Bulldogs 53-35 after the break.
Will Clyburn scored 14 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and Tyrus McGee and Georges Niang added 14 apiece off the bench for the Cyclones, which trailed by as many as 12 in the first half while shooting 25.9 percent.