Kansas at Iowa State basketball: Five players to watch


Well, Iowa State basketball fans, it is almost upon us. The annual showdown with the bad birds of the Big 12 in Ames, the Kansas Jayhawks. Given how close the conference is looking right now, this game could ultimately prove pivotal in the regular season title chase. Let us begin by glancing at some of the many dangerous “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawks.”


Perry Ellis (#34, Jr F, 6-foot-8, 225 lbs.)

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I suppose we will start with last season’s Cyclone kryptonite in Ellis. Much like the brand, Ellis looked sharp against ISU last year with 58 points spread over three games. This year is no different as he is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 ppg and leading in boards with 6.4 rpg. As one of the few upper classmen on the team, he is relied upon heavily to provide steady leadership. Look for Georges Niang or Dustin Hogue to draw the primary defensive assignment here.

Frank Mason III (#0, So G, 5-foot-11, 185 lbs.)

Next, I’m going with Mason. He is providing very well-rounded numbers with 12.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.4 spg, and shooting 48 percent from the floor, including 47 percent from three. He is the clear point guard for the Jayhawks and should be watched closely at every stage of the game. Monte Morris will likely try and lock him down most of the night.

Cliff Alexander (#2, Fr F, 6-foot-8, 240 lbs.)

Named the heir apparent to Joel Embiid from last year, Alexander has so far underwhelmed for the blue and red. He is averaging a respectable 8.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, and 1.4 bpg, but these numbers are far below what we expected. That is no reason to sleep on a consensus top-10 recruit though. Hogue or Niang will draw the start on Alexander (depending on who takes Ellis), but Jameel McKay will be huge in this post battle.

Iowa State

Jan 13, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis (34) defends the shot against Iowa State Cyclones forward Dustin Hogue (22) during the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Kansas beat Iowa State 77-70. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Hogue (#22, Sr F, 6-foot-6, 220 lbs.)

On the side of Hilton Magic, we start with Hogue. He has mostly played well in three Big 12 games, averaging 11.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg, but will need to find another gear against the talented Kansas big men. He definitely has an edge on most in the experience department and his motor is still second to none. I am looking for Hogue to be very motivated Saturday night.

Naz Long (#15, Jr G, 6-foot-4, 210 lbs.)

My other Cyclone to watch, for the second straight game, is Long. He bounced back in a big way against Baylor with 19 points on 7-8 shooting, including 5-5 from downtown. Long will need to keep that hotness alive, though, and hope it spreads to the other shooters if ISU is to knock off an underperforming, but still very good KU team.

Kansas will be a tough opponent as they are still loaded with talent and potential. I’m counting on each and every one of you at home or at Hilton to help the Magic happen and show the Jayhawks who is going to win the conference this year!

Next: Kansas-ISU game preview