Perhaps not even the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers would have knocked off Kansas on Monday night. That's conjecture, though.
"The Lakers might," Iowa State's Shane Power opined. "The Bulls wouldn't."
Regardless of the level Kansas achieved in its 102-66 Big 12 Conference championship-clinching triumph, the two-time defending league champ Cyclones knew they were out of their league.
"Honestly, I had a feeling they'd play like this," Power said. "Right from the tip we let them get going. They were obviously pumped up. From the first tip, I didn't think we were in the game."
Iowa State paid the price for posting victories in the Allen Fieldhouse the last two years. Another factor may have played a role, too Â the fact the Jayhawks lost to UCLA the only other week they were ranked No. 1 this season.
"Yeah, I think that was in the back of their minds," ISU guard Jake Sullivan said. "They wanted to stay there longer than a week. They were perfect tonight. I don't know if they're the best team in the country. I haven't seen every team. But they're the best team we've played. They can beat anybody."
Kansas scored as many points in the paint Â 66 Â as Iowa State scored all night. Drew Gooden, Nick Collison and Wayne Simien combined for 57 points and 22 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Iowa State's best big man, 6-foot-7 Tyray Pearson, was overmatched. Pearson, the Big 12's third-leading scorer at 19.3 points a game, missed eight of nine shots and settled for three points.
"They came out and played like they were No. 1," Pearson said. "It would have been hard for anybody to beat them tonight, especially in this fieldhouse."
Pearson had ample opportunity to make an analysis. He spent the last 15 minutes on the bench as coach Larry Eustachy's guest. Eustachy hooked him.
"I wasn't executing on either end of the floors," Pearson explained, "and coach put somebody in who could help the team."
Nobody could help the Cyclones, though. So lopsided was the score that KU coach Roy Williams inserted his end-of-the-benchers with five minutes remaining. Usually it's news if those caddies log as many as two minutes.
"I told Roy I appreciated him taking out his superstars and putting in the scholars," Eustachy said, "but they still beat us every way they could. Their effort was tremendous. They got us in transition all night."
Earlier in the day during the Big 12 coaches teleconference, Eustachy had been asked to pick the league's MVP.
"I said (Kirk) Hinrich was great and Gooden is big-time," Eustachy said, "but Roy has this team as together as any team I've ever seen coached. They play with a purpose and they got their purpose on us big-time."
Monday's defeat was Iowa State's worst in the Big 12 and Eustachy's worst ever. It was only the second time a foe had reached the century mark against a Eustachy-coached team. It was ISU's most lopsided defeat since a 93-54 pasting by TCU in 1997. Tim Floyd was coach then.
Sullivan led the Cyclones with 14 points. He made five of 12 shots, but most were with a hand in his face. KU's perimeter defense Â Jeff Boschee in particular Â was nearly impenetrable.
"Without a doubt," Sullivan said. "Their defense was great. Boschee is as good a defender as there is in the conference."
Iowa State, 11-16 overall and 3-10 in the league, slipped a half-game into the cellar and remains in danger of going from first to worst in league standings.