Viewer's Guide: Iowa State will need effective Kane against Kansas

Iowa State needs an effective DeAndre Kane (ankle) in order to beat Kansas on Monday night. (USATSI)
Iowa State needs DeAndre Kane (ankle) in order to beat Kansas on Monday night. (USATSI)

After a weekend filled with close games and upsets, another week of college basketball gets underway with a couple of key contests on Monday. The marquee battle is between Iowa State and Kansas -- but the biggest storyline is the health of the Cyclones’ best player.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.

Best game: No. 18 Kansas at No. 9 Iowa State (9 p.m., ESPN). This game took something of a hit over the weekend, when Iowa State suffered its first loss at Oklahoma -- with point guard and All-America candidate DeAndre Kane going down with an ankle injury. He's a game-time decision for Monday, but even if he does play, there is a question of how effective he can be. Kansas is starting to turn it around, winning at Oklahoma and vs. Kansas State this past week. Last season, these two teams played a couple of classics: with Kansas winning in overtime in each game. The key in this one will be Iowa State’s ability to get out in transition and get easy points. Of course, that could come down to Kane’s availability and health.

Update: Kane to suit up against Kansas

Second-best game: Virginia at No. 16 Duke (7 p.m., ESPN). This is a big spot for Virginia -- at Cameron Indoor against a struggling Blue Devils team. The Cavaliers have won three in a row since getting rolled by 35 at Tennessee and are now 3-0 in the ACC. On the other side, Duke has lost two of three after its 13-point loss at Clemson on Saturday. Following losses this season, the Blue Devils are 3-0 with an average margin of victory of 21.7 points. Mike Tobey could play a big role for Virginia on Monday; he had 16 points and seven rebounds against North Carolina State over the weekend. For Duke, will Jabari Parker snap out of his slump? He hasn’t shot 50 percent in a game since December 19 and is just 16 for 48 in his past four games.

Another one to watch: No. 2 Syracuse at Boston College (9 p.m., ESPNU). Before the season, this looked like a potential upset spot. Instead, Boston College is 4-11 against Division 1 teams -- although the Eagles did beat Virginia Tech on the road on Saturday. Meanwhile, Syracuse cruised past North Carolina on Saturday, in a game that was not as close as the 12-point scoreline would have indicated. This game doesn’t exactly bode well for Boston College. The Eagles don’t rebound the ball on the defensive end consistently, don’t shoot the ball well, and will have trouble keeping Tyler Ennis out of the lane.

Bonus: Texas also visits West Virginia on Monday night (7 p.m., ESPNU). West Virginia is coming off a heartbreaking home loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, while Texas is 1-2 after beating Texas Tech over the weekend. The battle between Juwan Staten and the Texas backcourt should be interesting.

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