Ames, Iowa Kansas University played a rugged nonconference schedule this preseason.
Iowa State did not.
"Coach (Roy Williams) told us that for emphasis. He asked us, 'Did we know where Coe College was?''' KU sophomore guard Keith Langford said of one of Iowa State's foes on a schedule that also included Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Savannah State. "He mentioned that right before we left the locker room. The type of schedule we play helps us. These are the caliber of teams we'll see in the NCAA Tournament."
On Monday night against KU, Iowa State (10-2) sure looked like it could have used some tune-ups against the likes of North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, UCLA, Tulsa and Cal-Berkeley.
The Cyclones seemed more than a step slow in falling behind 22-2 and succumbing to Kansas, 83-54, for the Cyclones' worst loss in Hilton Coliseum history.
"You'd have to ask them," KU senior Nick Collison said after scoring a career-high 31 points, "but for us it definitely helped playing a tough schedule. It was no fun losing three games early. If we'd played Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Coe College I don't think we'd be able to come in here and win."¢
Graves has 10 boards: Jeff Graves had 10 rebounds and seven points while playing a career-high 32 minutes in place of the injured Wayne Simien.
Graves, a 6-foot-9, 269-pounder, has come a long way since reporting to KU grossly overweight. Did he ever think he could log 32 minutes in a KU game?
"Yeah, eventually, someday," he said, "but not early in the season."
He said he felt some pressure replacing Simien in the starting lineup.
"I don't have enough shoes to fill his shoes," he said of Simien, who is out because of a dislocated shoulder. "I just wanted to get some rebounds and help where I could."
Graves said he was a bit nervous before the game.
"I may have stayed up a little later than everybody else last night looking at the scouting report," he said. "I was nervous the first four minutes, maybe, then it went away."¢
Not many subs: Williams made his first substitution with 8:10 in the first half with KU up, 26-8. Michael Lee and Bryant Nash entered for Keith Langford and Graves.
"Our numbers are down. I knew they'd have to play more minutes," Williams said of his starters. "I didn't realize the TV timeouts are two minutes long. You have plenty of opportunity to rest."¢
Nose to be fixed today: Langford, who had his broken nose hit by an ISU player with about five minutes left in the contest, will have his nose set this morning in a surgical procedure at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
"I don't want a crooked nose throughout life. I want the nose I was born with," Langford quipped.¢
Injury update: Simien missed the first five games of his freshman season following arthroscopic knee surgery.
It appears in a best-case scenario, Simien, Kansas' 6-9, 255-pound Kansas sophomore forward, will miss five games in the month of January because of his dislocated right shoulder.
"After they did the MRI, it's the same as Saturday. They'll wait a week to 10 days and look at it again to make a determination of what can be done and what is being done, to check and see if the body itself is doing any healing," Williams said of Simien, who suffered the dislocation Saturday against UMKC.
"If you say a week to 10 days, it'd take at least another week (after that), so there's no doubt he's out at least two-and-a-half to three weeks."
That would mean Simien would miss KU's upcoming games against Nebraska, Wyoming and Kansas State, along with the possibility of missing the Arizona game on Jan. 25, in addition to Monday's game.
The shoulder is being immobilized, Williams indicated, as doctors see if the body begins to heal on its own, without benefit of surgery.¢
Stats, facts: KU has won 21 straight regular-season games. ... Collison's previous career high was 28 versus Missouri last March. ... Collison moved past Mark Randall into eighth on the all-time scoring list. ... KU hasn't given up more than 25 points in the first half of the last six games.