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Staff Picks: Kansas, No. 24 West Virginia

Emily+Ryan+celebrates+on+the+court+after+Iowa+State+defeats+Baylor+66-63+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Jan.+13%2C+2024.
Tyler Coe
Emily Ryan celebrates on the court after Iowa State defeats Baylor 66-63 at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 13, 2024.

Pavle Markovic, Sports Reporter

Iowa State 64, Kansas 63

Following a week full of highs for the Cyclones, they quickly fell back down to earth in their 71-63 loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday night. This loss also ended Iowa State’s perfect start to Big 12 conference play and its previous eight-game win streak.

Now the Cyclones travel to Lawrence, Kansas, on Wednesday to face off against the Kansas Jayhawks for the second time this season. Iowa State took advantage of having its first home conference game against Kansas, as they bounced back from a slow start to win 69-61.

The Jayhawks will want to get some revenge on the Cyclones, and they will look to do it as they host Iowa State at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas has played its best at home with its 7-1 record with its only loss coming against West Virginia to open up its conference play.

Kansas is also coming off of a two-game losing streak in which it fell to No. 10 Texas and No. 4 Kansas State on the road, while the Cyclones have had more time to prepare for the Jayhawks following TCU’s forfeit. With that being said, I have this matchup going all the way down to the wire, in which I have Iowa State pulling out a one-point win.

No. 24 West Virginia 71, Iowa State 58

After traveling to play Kansas, Iowa State then has to travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the Mountaineers who have been dominating their past couple of opponents.

Since they blew a 19-point lead in Ames, Iowa, West Virginia has averaged at least 76 points per game while also keeping its opposing teams to an average of 47 points per game. It has come as no surprise that the Mountaineers have dominated teams both offensively and defensively, as they rank in the top three in the Big 12 in both categories.

But Iowa State has done a good job of forcing its opponents to shoot bad shots, as they have forced a 37% field goal percentage, which is the third-best in the conference. The Cyclones even forced West Virginia’s best player, guard JJ Quinerly, to shoot below 30% from the field, which is unusual to see from one of the Big 12’s best.

However, I do expect this game to be rough all-around for the Cyclones, as they are playing an angry Mountaineer team that just earned itself a spot back into the AP top-25. With it being in Morgantown and at the WVU Coliseum, I have Iowa State losing by a decent margin to a hot West Virginia team.

Brett Twelmeyer, Sports Reporter

Iowa State 70, Kansas 65

The last time these two foes faced each other, Iowa State won by eight in front of the home crowd. Now on the road again, Iowa State will enter a tough road environment that is Allen Fieldhouse.

Since their last meeting, the Cyclones are 3-1, technically 4-1 due to the TCU forfeit, and 1-1 on the road. Kansas is 2-3, including losses to Texas and Kansas State on the road.

Like Iowa State, Kansas defeated Baylor at home, proving how tough winning on the road is in the Big 12. The Jayhawks will likely be looking for revenge, trying to defend their home court against the Cyclones.

With the extra time off, a meet and greet with the fans and losing the last game on the road to Texas Tech, I predict the Cyclones will be more prepared than ever for this game.

No. 24 West Virginia 76, Iowa State 73

Another rematch, another road game. Just like against Kansas, Iowa State won the first matchup at home. Now on the road, the Cyclones will try to complete the sweep.

The first game was not too long ago, Jan. 10, when Iowa State came back from a 19-point deficit to win by 10. Since then, the Mountaineers have really shifted gears, going 3-0.

Sure, West Virginia beat up on the new schools, but wins are wins in this conference. The Mountaineers have been led by guard Quinerly, who led scoring in the past three games for West Virginia.

This game will likely play out much differently. Iowa State probably will not have to dig itself out of a trench, but it will be a battle the whole way.

Iowa State will need to rely on its post play and free throws as it did in the first game against West Virginia to stay in this one. If the Cyclones can manage the first half, they will have a shot, but I don’t see this one slipping out of the Mountaineers’ hands.

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