It's safe to say that things didn't go according to plan for Iowa State on Saturday, as the Cyclones allowed Texas Tech to escape with the 78-73 upset in Lubbock. Previously lacking a victory in six tries, the Red Raiders now have a "1" in the win column thanks to another slow start by ISU on the road.
However, tonight Fred Hoiberg and co. return to the friendly confines of Hilton Coliseum to face off against the #19 Texas Longhorns in a game that has MASSIVE conference title race implications. Basically, the loser of this matchup will be on their heels for the remainder of the season when it comes to contending for the Big 12 crown. The winner, on the other hand, might as well be deemed the number one contender to end Kansas' streak with Kansas State's brutal remaining schedule. I'd say it's more of a must-win for Texas, but ISU needs this just as badly since it's at home.
Here's what the conference standings look like right now:
The Opponent: Texas (14-5, 3-3)
Tip: Monday, 8 p.m. CST - Hilton Coliseum - Ames, Iowa
TV/Webcast: ESPN (Brent Musburger, PxP; Fran Fraschilla, Analyst) / WatchESPN
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
We're Talking Texas by Wide Right & Natty Lite's cylentbutdeadly.
Stat dissection in Kirk Haaland's enCYCLONEpedia: Iowa State vs. Texas preview.
And from the enemy's point of view...
Iowa State Preview from tjarks of Barking Carnival.
Texas vs. Iowa State Basketball Preview from Cody Daniel of Burnt Orange Nation.
To me, this game is going to hinge largely on rebounding. Texas has a bunch of size and currently rebounds the ball at the fourth best rate in the nation. If Iowa State allows the Longhorns to get too many second chance opportunities, this one will be yet another nail-biter. (Side note: Doesn't it seem like we've had a season's worth of nail-biters already this year? What does a guy gotta do to see his team win by 15+ these days?)
Texas is coming off a disappointing loss against Kansas at home in which they let the Jayhawks go on a huge run in the second half to pull away, so they'll be trying to get the train back on the tracks tonight just like ISU. The Longhorns are also similar to the Cyclones in that they have a pretty balanced offensive attack, with their top six scorers averaging between 7.5-12.7 PPG. The biggest threat on the perimeter is sophomore Isaiah Taylor, while star freshman Myles Turner and senior Jonathan Holmes are likely to present issues on both ends of the floor for Iowa State's forwards. The battle between Taylor and fellow second-year player Monte Morris will undoubtedly be must-see television.
Rick Barnes has had his team run both man-to-man and zone defense for stretches this year, so it'll be interesting to see which route he goes tonight against the Cyclones. Typically, Fred Hoiberg teams are not the best teams to play zone against, but this year's squad has been too inconsistent from three point range to feel confident about being able to break an opponent's zone with ease. Perhaps they'll prove me wrong tonight with a little help from Hilton Magic.
I'm going to start a new tradition of picking against Iowa State. We'll see if that can add any positive voodoo to the outcomes of upcoming games.
Texas 77 - Iowa State 75
What's the biggest key for Iowa State to get back on track tonight?
This poll is closed
Getting Georges Niang back on the block, where he can utilize his deadly arsenal of post moves!
Shooting well from the perimeter. It opens up our offense to attack more efficiently!
More urgency on defense. Teams can't keep having a field day from three point range against us!
Being in Hilton Coliseum. Hilton Magic, baby!