For the majority of the season, Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks have been the favorite to win the Big 12 Tournament. Tonight’s battle with the Big 12 Player of the Year Melvin Ejim and the Iowa State Cyclones will be their biggest test of the year with a Big 12 Championship berth on the line.
Coming into the game, Andrew Wiggins is fresh off his a 30-point performance against Oklahoma State which followed his 41-point explosion against West Virginia. Wiggins’ 71 points over the past two games is good enough for a astonishing 43-percent of Kansas’ scoring in the same stretch.
What makes this stat more nerve-wracking for Iowa State is the efficiency Wiggins has maintained, shooting 21-for-35 from the field and 25-for-29 from the charity stripe. To add fuel to the fire, in the last meeting between the Cyclones and Jayhawks, Wiggins racked up 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting. With the hot streak that the 6-foot-8 guard is currently on, another 30-point outing tonight could become a feat easily accomplished.
So what does this mean for Andrew Wiggins and Kansas? Well for Kansas, coach Self must recognize the level Wiggins is playing at and rely heavily on his production to carry the Jayhawks to a victory. Wiggins, on the other hand, simply has to keep doing what he has been doing — dominate offensively and rebound. With the absence of Joel Embiid, Wiggins has to shoulder the load with efficient scoring, solid rebounding and great defense. Wiggins has proven he can step up and fill those shoes, so tonight shouldn’t be any issue. But to put it simply, if Kansas wants to beat Iowa State, Wiggins must carry them to victory.