Your #20 Iowa State Cyclones welcome the #18 Arkansas Razorbacks tonight in what will be the premier non-conference matchup played in Hilton Coliseum this season. The Cyclones are fresh off a 96-59 rout of Lamar on Tuesday, but will face their toughest test yet against the Razorbacks in what is sure to be a game featuring a plethora of scoring.
The Opponent: Arkansas (6-0)
Tip: Thursday, 8 p.m. CST - Hilton Coliseum - Ames, Iowa
TV/Webcast: ESPN2 (Brent Musberger, play-by-play; Fran Fraschilla, color) / WatchESPN
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Arkansas SBN Site: Arkansas Fight
The Razorbacks play at a pace that is very similar to Hoiball, but have a much higher emphasis on forcing turnovers. Head coach Mike Anderson has long been known for his "40 minutes of hell" style that pressures teams into making mistakes. You can read a full preview about what to expect from Arkansas here, courtesy of cylentbutdeadly.
Basically, the Razorbacks do a good job balancing the scoring duties on offense and have a number of guys that could get hot, much like our beloved Cyclones. Their best guard is 6-foot-6 Michael Qualls, who is averaging 15.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 2.2 APG. 6-foot-11 Bobby Portis roams the paint and is arguably their first option on offense. Portis averages 14.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and makes 52.2% of his shots from the field.
Here's a fun fact... Former Iowa State guard Chris Babb's brother, Nick Babb, is a freshman for Arkansas. The younger Babb has only appeared in five of the Razorbacks' games so far, averaging 8.4 minutes per contest.
This is going to be a toughie. In my humble opinion, there are a number of things that Iowa State has to do well in order to win. First and foremost, Naz Long and/or Matt Thomas has to have a good game shooting the three ball. When the shots aren't going in from outside, opposing teams can collapse in on Georges Niang inside and suffocate the offense. When one or more of our shooters are going off, it forces defenses to guard them on the perimeter, giving Niang space to work.
Second on my "to win" list is limiting turnovers. This should always be in the game plan, but is especially true tonight against an Arkansas team that feasts on miscues.
It'll be a close one tonight, but the difference is where the game's being played: Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones pride themselves in defending their home turf, and I expect Hilton Magic to come through against the Razorbacks.
Iowa State 87 - Arkansas 85
What is more likely to happen tonight?
This poll is closed
Nick Babb comes off the bench, drops 30 points, and does the "eat" motion to the crowd.
Brent Musburger leaves mid-broadcast to hunt down Katherine Webb.
An Iowa State player gets T'd up for calling a Razorback player a "pig".
Georgios Tsalmpouris breaks the Iowa State record for threes in one game.