6:00pm (ESPN): #3 Kansas (-1.5) vs #5 Iowa State
We though that if Iowa State was going to beat Kansas State that they would need to continue their hot shooting including from behind the arc. Iowa State would need a higher scoring game. If the game was low scoring then Kansas State’s defense was probably winning out and the Wildcats would likely win the game. So when the Cyclones shot 42% from the field and just 27.3% from behind the arc and the final was 63-59 then of course we would expect that… Iowa State won?
The outcome of the game was not what we would have expected with what we saw in the stats. However, if we look a little closer we see that Iowa State out rebounded Kansas State 43-29. That’s a huge advantage. We still wouldn’t have expected Iowa State to win a game like that against the Wildcats. That’s a great sign for the Cyclones but they likely cannot win like that consistently against quality teams.
In the other semifinal Kansas took control early and remained in control the rest of the way. Kansas showed the energy they needed but most importantly they got a terrific game from Quentin Grimes. Grimes had one of his best games of the season. He was 6-for-13 from the field including 5-for-8 from behind the arc. In addition to that he grabbed eight rebounds, had four steals and dished out four assists to only two turnovers.
Dedric Lawson was really good as well. We cannot take for granted what Lawson gives this team. He scored 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting including 2-for-3 from behind the arc. He had eight rebounds, a steal, a blocked shot and just two turnovers.
As a team Kansas shot 52.4% from the field and 40% from behind the arc. They went 14-for-16 (87.5%) from the free throw line. West Virginia was just 8-for-17 (47.1%) from the line.
So what do we expect today when Kansas and Iowa State battle tonight? This championship game is going to come down to which team shoots better. If Iowa State is hitting shots they will likely win. If both teams are shooting well give the advantage to Iowa State since they will likely be shooting a better percentage of three-point shots.
Kansas has a shot at getting a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament with a win. A loss probably puts them at a four seed although their schedule could help them in that regard.
Prediction: Kansas finds a way to upset all of the other teams in the conference and defeats Iowa State to win the Big 12 tournament.