Bear Hunting Season Is Open

USA TODAY Sports

As we all know, winning on the road has been a difficult proposition for Iowa State this season. It certianly will get no easier as Iowa State travels to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears on Wednesday night. While putting this preview together, I decided to research some tips for bear hunting and surprisingly, it was quite useful. The following excerpts are taken from www.huntingtipsandtricks.com

When spotting a black bear during the hunt either from the ground or from a tree stand at a bait station, it is important to remain calm and take time to aim and execute the shot carefully, adjusting it to hit a vital organ. Any tendency to rush a shot should be calmed down by waiting or taking a deep breath.

Baylor is actually leading the Big 12 in 3-point FG% defense if you can believe it, with opponents hitting just 25.8% of their outside shots. In their first match up, Iowa State was only able to connect on 4-24 long balls, well under the Cyclone's average of over 9 made 3's per game. Baylor's length may have had something to do with the cold shooting, but at the end of the day, Iowa State just flat out didn't knock down the shots that they usually do. If the Cyclones are going to leave Waco with a win though, they'll need a much better effort from outside. Baylor defends the perimeter well, which means ball movement will be key.

With a highly developed sense of smell, black bears are able to detect smells emanating from bodies. To maximize your chances of success you should use scent covers to mask your scent while stalking in on that record book black bear.

Wear deodorant, especially you Georges Niang. Axe Body Spray is no mask for that "freshman stank".

Remember that no tip will help your success as much as pre-season scouting before your hunting trip.

Solid advice. What did we learn from that first match up? Well, for starters Baylor had no answer for Will Clyburn, who was the best player on the floor that night, pouring in 28 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. ISU will need another big game from Clyburn, but expect the Bears to throw multiple looks at Clyburn throughout the game. Another thing to take away from that first match up was that despite a decided height advantage, Baylor can be beat inside. ISU outscored Baylor in the paint 36-32 and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds to Baylor's 10. Attack inside and the perimeter shots will open up.

Defensively, beating Baylor is easier said than done. Brady Heslip warrants constant attention. Pierre Jackson is the quickest player in the conference and an absolute chore to chase around for 40 minutes. If you don't get physical with Isaiah Austin, he has the talent and skill to beat you in a variety of ways. Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers make a living off the offensive glass. In fact, Austin, Jefferson and Gathers all rank in the top 8 in the conference in offensive rebounds per game, grabbing a combined 8.5 offensive boards. That's a lot of second chance opportunities.

The black bear generally does not attack humans unless wounded or threatened. If you plan to go black bear hunting it is good if you have previous big game hunting experience. Black bear hunting requires a high level of stalking skill on the part of the hunter and is a test for his trailing abilities in the field.

Iowa State most certainly has "previous big game hunting experience", but the Cyclones have yet to bring home a trophy kill. Wednesday night's game is an excellent chance to do so. Baylor and Iowa State have nearly identical profiles at this point in the season. ISU's RPI sits at #50 while Baylor's is at #55. Ken Pomeroy ranks the Cyclones as the 36th best team in the country while he has Baylor at 38. Most bracket projections have each team anywhere from an 11-seed to on the bubble. Iowa State has shown that they can stalk and trail big game for nearly 40 minutes, but for whatever reason haven't been able to deliver that final kill shot. If there was ever a time to do so, Wednesday night would be it.

Nose to tail, a black bear can measure eight feet plus. Boars are larger than sows in size.

Hmm. Brittney Griner has some explaining to do.

Prediction

Getting out to a good start hasn't really been a problem for Iowa State on the road this season. The Cyclones have for the most part been able to weather the road conditions and hold serve in other venues and in many cases, have looked impressive in stretches doing so. Closing on the road has been the problem. Iowa State has held crunch time leads in 4 of their 5 conference road losses this year, with only a handful of heartbreak to show for it.

I was shocked to find out that Iowa State has not won in Waco since Marcus Fizer was wearing the Cardinal and Gold. That's right, March 4th, 2000 was the last time an Iowa State team left Waco with a win in tow. Well that just doesn't sit well with me. I might be picking with my heart instead of my head, but I'll be damned if I can't be irrational from time to time.

Iowa State makes just enough clutch plays to pull out a huge road win and complete the season sweep of Baylor.

Iowa State 75 - Baylor 71

Game Info

Tip: 8 PM CT

TV: ESPNU

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network

Baylor SBN Site: www.ourdailybears.com

As always, leave your thoughts, comments and predictions below.

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