The Iowa State Cyclones take on the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. This is the first time Iowa State has returned to the Sprint Center since it won the Big 12 tournament back in March.
The Opponent: Alabama
Tip: Monday, 8:30 p.m. CST - Sprint Center - Kansas City, Missouri
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Alabama SBN Site: Roll 'Bama Roll
The Crimson Tide are 3-0 with wins over Towson, Western Carolina and Southern Mississippi. They have also averaged a respectable 81 points per game so far. Here's a fun fact for you - both Alabama's football and basketball teams played Western Carolina this year. The football team played WCU on November 22 - five days after their basketball team.
What does this mean for Iowa State? Absolutely nothing. But wouldn't it be fun to play some sort of terrible football team this late in the season? I bet we could beat someone like
Texas Tech Kansas Drake on the gridiron if we got a chance to play them this late in November. *nervous laugh*
Alabama is 1-0 all time against Iowa State on the basketball court, with their one victory coming in 2007 at the Las Vegas Classic, a game the Crimson Tide won 83-68. You may remember that Iowa State team as the one that started Bryan Peterson, Rahshon Clark, Wesley Johnson, Craig Brackins and Jiri Hubalek. Not the worst bunch on paper, but the McDoormat factor certainly came into play. Alabama made 11/16 three pointers (!!!!!) in that game. Look for the Cyclones to try to return the favor tonight.
With Abdel Nader and Matt Thomas back in the rotation, Iowa State will have two more weapons to throw at its opponents going forward. It will be interesting to see if the Mayor decides to turn it up a notch on the defensive side of the ball with the added depth on the bench.
Nader will provide an immediate boost to physicality and offer yet another mismatch on the offensive end at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds. He has the ability to both handle the rock and bang down low, if needed. From all early season reports, Thomas has been a lights-out shooter at practice. To put it simply, Hoiball works quite well with "lights-out" shooters on the court.
Another thing to look for tonight is to see if the starting lineup changes at all. Naz Long has played well as the starting 2 guard through the first two games, but does Fred see his value as more of a hustle/instant offense kind of guy off the bench (a la Tyrus McGee) with Nader and Thomas back from suspension? AND, how will the team's chemistry be in their first official game with the two new additions?
I'm seeing most betting lines on this game in the -6/6.5 range in favor of ISU. Personally, I think that's giving Alabama too much credit. I bet the Clones pull off a double digit victory and move on to face the winner of Maryland/Arizona St.
Roll the Tide.
Iowa State 87 - Alabama 71