MEN’S BASKETBALL: Kansas comes calling

MENS BASKETBALL: Kansas comes calling

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Kansas comes calling

Corey Aldritt

The defending National Champions visit Hilton Coliseum on Saturday, but this year’s version of the Kansas Jayhawks is reminiscent of the movie “Caddyshack 2” — sure,, it’s still “Caddyshack,” but without Chevy Chase , Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray, it’s just not the same.

The Jayhawks cast of five starters from last year’s championship squad all graduated or left for the NBA Draft.

The only current Jayhawk to even score a point in last season’s visit to Ames is junior guard Sherron Collins. He also happens to be Kansas’ leading scorer this year at more than 18 points a game.

“There’s not many guys in the country that have his quickness combined with that low center of gravity and balance that he has with that power. It makes for a difficult match up,” said coach Greg McDermott.

Collins is a bulky point guard who uses his size to get to the rim and pick up fouls. He has also added a new weapon to his arsenal this year as he has shown in conference play that he added the 3-point shot to his arsenal.

He’s shooting 57 percent from beyond the arc in three conference games, and he’s already made more treys than he had all of last season.

“He’s strong and athletic; he can do it all on the court. My teammates will be there to help me too. It’s definitely going to be tough but I’m ready for it. It will be fun,” said guard Bryan Petersen.

Kansas’ post is manned by sophomore Cole Aldrich who is almost averaging a double-double with 15.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

Aldrich learned behind Kansas greats Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson last season and this year has been given the reigns to man the paint.

“Trying to slow down Collins and Aldrich, that’s going to be really tough for us to do, but I think we can limit them as much as we can,” Petersen said.

Aldrich has shown vast improvements from his freshman to sophomore seasons and McDermott thinks that Iowa State freshman Justin Hamilton can experience the same growth over the next year in the Cyclone program.

“You watch Cole Aldrich on tape and there’s a lot of things that you can take away from what he does and you can apply to your game. He’s very strong with the ball, he keeps the ball high, is very sound in his technique of blocking shots, doesn’t foul very often,” McDermott said.

This isn’t the usual top-10 Kansas team walking into Hilton Colliseum this weekend, but the name on the front of the jersey still makes it an exciting game for Cyclone players and fans.

“It’s going to be a fight and going to be a war like it always is. KU is always one of the best teams in the country so I’m looking forward to it,” said junior Jamie Vanderbeken.

With a win over Kansas, ISU could improve to 2-2 in Big 12 play and remain unbeaten in two Big 12 home games.

“The most important thing is, that we talk about all the time, is we have to protect our home floor,” McDermott said.

Keys to Victory

Get hot from beyond the arc

Iowa State lives and dies by the 3-point shot. They were 9-of-20 from downtown in their win over Nebraska and they followed that up with a 2-of-17 effort in their blowout loss to Missouri. The Cyclones also need to find someone other than Lucca Staiger who can consistently hit an open three. Staiger has made two or more 3-pointers in eight straight games, but no other Cyclones have averaged more than one trey in Big 12 play.

Control the ball

The Cyclones have turned the ball over 31 times in their last two games, a number that must go down if they want to score enough points to upset Kansas. The 12.3 turnovers per game still ranks Iowa State third in the Big 12, but that number has gone up in conference play.

Let Hilton Rock

Kansas is used to playing in front of a lot of people because they average over 16,000 fans per game at Allen Fieldhouse, but they have yet to face a hostile Big 12 crowd. If Iowa State can get a lead early and keep the crowd energized then it will put the pressure on the Kansas offense and possibly sway the officiating towards the home team.