Big 12 Basketball

Three Thoughts on Kansas’ 71-58 Win Over Iowa State to Reach Big 12 Tournament Finals

Jalen Wilson, Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Big 12 Basketball Tournament semifinals featured two familiar foes as the Kansas Jayhawks took on the Iowa State Cyclones for a spot in the Championship Game. Kansas and Iowa State have combined to win eight of the last nine Big 12 basketball tournaments, which coincides with the league’s permanent move to Kansas City.

On Friday night, both teams were playing for NCAA Tournament seeding. Iowa State would be looking to land a Top 4 seed, while Kansas is hoping to lock down the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, which takes place in Kansas City at the T-Mobile Center.

Here are three thoughts on Kansas’ 71-58 win over Iowa State.


Kansas’ First and Second Half Runs

Kansas’ run in the first half was powered by Jalen Wilson, as he scored 11 of the team’s first 13 points, as the Jayhawks jumped out to a 13-7 lead. But Iowa State did not let the game get away from them in the opening 20 minutes.

Then, the Cyclones made a push in the first few minutes after halftime. ISU trailed 33-27, but clawed their way to a 39-38 lead with 14:21 to play. However, that would be the last (and only) time Iowa State would lead the game, as KU went on a dominant 13-4 run over the next five minutes that put Kansas up 51-43 at the 9:09 mark. KU would never look back as they would close out the game, led by Jalen Wilson’s 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Gradey Dick finished his night with 15 points.

Turnovers Kill Iowa State

This is where the Cyclones lost this game. Iowa State had 22 turnovers on the night, which led to 25 points for the Jayhawks. Iowa State played well in other areas, shooting 42% from three-point range and winning the rebounding battle, while also beating Kansas in points in the paint. But overcoming 22 turnovers is an impossible ask. The Cyclones came into this game ranked second in the Big 12 in turnover margin (2.17), but tonight, it was -5, which sunk this team.


Kansas Back to Defend Its Title

The Jayhawks are in an all-too-familiar spot, as they look to defend their Big 12 Tournament Title on Saturday night at T-Mobile Center on Saturday night in Kansas City. At this point, KU may not even need to win on Saturday night to land the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, which would put them right back in Kansas City for a theoretical Sweet 16 and Elite 8 match up, 30 miles down the road from Lawrence.

The last time Kansas won the Big 12 Tournament in back-to-back years was in 2010 and 2011. Granted, that 2011 season isn’t going to be one that KU fans fondly remember, as the No. 1 seed Jayhawks lost to Cinderella VCU in the Elite 8. However, Kansas is clearly a team on a mission in one of Bill Self’s best coaching jobs of his career, given all the talent he lost off last year’s National Championship team.

As for Bill Self, it’s still unclear if he will coach this team in the NCAA Tournament, but for now, Norm Roberts is doing a great job holding down the fort.

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