First, let’s start with an admission: The game was poorly officiated. The call that has drawn the most ire from Cyclones fans (the no-call on what was clearly a charge by Elijah Johnson) is more than deserving. It was a textbook offensive foul, and regardless of which way the call went, a whistle should have been blown with that much contact. However, it’s worth noting that it is not Elijah Johnson’s responsibility to blow the whistle in that instance. It’s also worth noting that this probably wasn’t the worst call in the game. That one actually went against Kansas, when Jeff Withey was called for a charge against an Iowa State defender whose feet were not even close to planted. That gave Withey his third foul, forcing the Kansas center to sit for several minutes and dramatically altering Bill Self’s strategy. I assure you, this call had a far greater influence on the game as a whole, though I doubt you’ll hear complaints about it from Iowa State fans. Also, despite the bad calls, Iowa State still finished with an advantage on the foul line. Kansas was called for more personal fouls (22 to 19), and Iowa State attempted more free throws (34 to 27).
More so, the victory was a testament to Bill Self’s coaching prowess and KU’s continuing conference dominance. As Kansas players and fans know, every time KU steps on the court, their opponent is playing the biggest game of their season. Every team is saving their best shot for the Kansas Jayhawks. Last night, Iowa State broke a school record by hitting 17 three pointers in a single game. They completely neutralized Jeff Withey and took him out of the equation on defense (he finished with 0 blocks before fouling out). For Kansas to still find a way to win that game, in front of a crowd like that, is something truly remarkable that has gone entirely unnoticed.
Bad calls or not, Kansas found a way to win an unwinnable game. That is why they have won eight conference titles in a row; it is what separates them from everyone else. And yes, it is why a few calls occasionally go their way. But when Kansas went on a three game losing streak earlier in the season, the last people Bill Self or any of the Kansas players blamed was the refs. So, for the time being, the path to a Big XII conference title still runs through Lawrence. Deal with it.