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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Kansas beginning to look like the force it was expected to be all season

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Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe, right, celebrates with teammate Joel Embiid after making a basket during the first …

Iowa State had the higher ranking. It had three fewer losses. It had the home-court advantage and it had its best player on the floor after an injury scare the previous game.

But the No. 9 Cyclones never seemed to have an advantage on No. 18 Kansas on Monday night in a bad-blood Big 12 feud. The Cyclones' frustrations with the Jayhawks only grew once again following a 77-70 loss at Hilton Coliseum.

It seems no matter the circumstances, coach Fred Hoiberg's team just can't get over the hump against its nemesis.

Kansas dominated the interior with star freshman Andrew Wiggins grabbing a career-best 19 rebounds while scoring 17 points. When Wiggins wasn't making a play inside, center Joel Embiid was. He scored 16 points with nine rebounds and five blocks. Kansas outrebounded Iowa State by 17.

Junior guard Naadir Tharpe wasn't bad either with 23 points on 7-for-9 shooting.

Suddenly the Jayhawks are beginning to look like the team the nation expected to see all season. After four unexpected losses, the last of which came at home eight days ago to San Diego State, the Jayhawks have rattled off three impressive wins over Oklahoma, Kansas State and Iowa State.

Look who is in control at the top of the Big 12 standings. Some things never change.

The Cyclones had DeAndre Kane back after he was carried off the court with an ankle injury in the Cyclones first loss of the season Saturday at Oklahoma. Kane had his moments against the Jayhawks but not nearly enough of them to avoid a second straight defeat after starting the season 14-0.

Kane scored 21 points with eight rebounds, but his fellow starters combined to make just 12 of 47 field goal attempts. The Cyclones have averaged 36 percent shooting behind the 3-point line this season but they made just 16 percent (4-for-25) Monday.

Hilton Coliseum was buzzing before the game. Iowa State fans had waited a year for another shot at the Jayhawks on their home court. Last season's game here ended in controversy and a fan coming out of the stands to bark at Kansas coach Bill Self postgame.

Things were tamer this time around. Two stellar Kansas freshman made sure of it.

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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