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Monte Morris is Statistically Dominant in Big 12 Play

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Iowa State point guard Monte Morris goes by "BigGame" on Twitter for good reason. When the conference schedule opens, he consistently takes things to another level.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

A commonly discussed topic in Cyclone Nation is the NBA potential of star point guard Monte Morris. A typical assessment goes like this:

  • Good: Everyone agrees Monte rebounds well for a guard, is an assist machine with good court vision, and never, ever, turns the ball over.
  • Marginal: His defense is a point of debate, he is opportunistic and accumulates a lot of steals, but often is overpowered or appears to play matador style on driving opponents.
  • Bad: He's small-ish physically with questionable speed for the NBA and his three point shooting could use some work.
Wait. What? I am continuously surprised that people bring up Morris' three point shooting. He's an excellent three point shooter, possibly the best on this ISU team, and has been for 2 seasons now. Of course, I get caught looking only at conference numbers which may not tell the whole story, so I wanted to dive a little deeper into his overall.

It didn't take long to figure out. Morris is a decent college shooter from inside during non-conference play and adequate from deep the last two seasons.

In conference play? He's a human torch.

morris stats

Last season, Morris led the team in conference play from behind the arc at 44%. This was a dramatic 14% jump from his non-conference clip. However, he only shot slightly over two per game, making 18 long balls in 18 games.

This season, he is absolutely setting the world on fire through 8 games. He's 11/21 (1.4 makes per) and if he had just one more make he would qualify for the Big 12 statistical leaders list and would trail only OU's Jordan Woodard in 3 point percentage in the conference.

His blazing 52% is ahead of Matt Thomas, ahead of Georges Niang, and even better than Naismith Trophy front-runner Buddy Hield! (ok, so like 0.01% better than Buddy - but still).

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The remarkable thing is he's doing the exact same thing as last season. He shot the exact same 30% from deep in non-conference and a virtually identical overall FG%. Then, the Big 12 bell rang, and BigGame Morris went to work.

Morris also has raised his scoring and rebounding in conference play while clocking only slightly more minutes (it'd be exceptionally hard to clock any different, as he basically plays them all).

In fact, the ONLY statistic I could find that Monte Morris actually has gotten worse at during conference play... is assists. That's right, the point guard famously on top of the Assist/TO ratio record books, and nearly at the top of the ISU record book in total assists, actually ticks downward during conference play.

This season he is averaging about 1.5 assists less in conference play while maintaining his "horrifyingly high" turnover rate of 1.5 per game. This has led to the unusual position of Morris not actually leading the statistic he's famously dominated his first two seasons. He's actually in 2nd place in Assist/TO ratio through 8 games, much to the dismay of Cyclone fans everywhere. However, there's still time to awake from this terrible dream.

So as Monte stares down that next potential conference game winner, similar to his look in Norman, Oklahoma earlier this year, rest confident that not only is he BigGame on social media - he's BigGame from everywhere on the floor.

big game