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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Savannah State

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Enough with the exhibitions, let’s get this party started.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Iowa St. v Iona Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Exhibitions and the 2017 early signing period are effectively over and we’ve basically exhausted all of the possible off season topics of conversation — let’s get this show on the road.

Iowa State has won 18 straight home openers and 34 consecutive non-conference home games. They own a 3-0 record all time against the Tigers, winning by an average of more than 18 points per game in those contests. Those streaks should not be in jeopardy with Savannah State coming to Ames Friday night, as the second season of the Prohm era gets underway.

About Savannah State

Savannah State went 16-16 last season (9-7 in the MEAC), and enters the year ranked 341st in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings (351). While they ranked 349th in adjusted offensive efficiency last season, the Tigers have shown signs of life by putting up hundred burgers in each of their exhibition wins, aided by 20 three-pointers in their victory over Armstrong State and 12 against LaGrange.

The Iowa State fan in you is probably nervous about playing a team that averaged 111.5 PPG in their exhibitions, but I promise you, Iowa State has some hope here. The Tigers averaged 19.5 turnovers in these games and feature a lineup that is all 6’7” or smaller with the exception of minimally used Marcus Glenn (6’10”). The Tigers forced the 11th-most turnovers per game last year, which has been a staple of head coach Horace Broadnax’s system at Savannah State, but if ISU’s guards can take care of the ball, they’ll be able to work a defense that ranked just below the D-1 average last season.

Simply put, their strengths, both offensively and defensively, are in their backcourt, which is where Iowa State excels as well. It should be a great matchup to fully integrate Iowa State’s new frontcourt pieces without the pressure of having to play against imposing size.

What to Expect

Iowa State should win this game by a large margin, and we should see a lot of minutes played by some of the new guys to help them develop chemistry and get valuable experience on the floor before conference play rolls around. We should see at least 10 scholarship players hit the floor and some quality STUUUUUUUU time. As the Cyclones navigate the early part of the non-conference schedule, we’ll be watching Jakolby Long in some of these blowouts to see if Prohm will redshirt the talented freshman guard, given the backcourt depth.

It will also be interesting to see how often Solomon Young and Simeon Carter are utilized early in the season. If the Cyclones can get ahead early and often, it would help to get those two some action to try and develop enough confidence in them to spell the graduate transfer combo should Coach Prohm need it due to foul trouble as the season rolls on.

Savannah State is picked to finish 10th in the MEAC — the worst conference in Division 1 basketball. Look for the Cyclones to take advantage of a gambling defense and get some easy buckets in the half court while pushing the tempo every chance they can. Look to see how well Deonte Burton and the guards help the bigs rebound, especially on the defensive end.

Kenpom predicts an 84-56 victory with a 99.5% win probability, which is eerily similar to last year’s home opener vs. Chicago State. That’s all fine and good, but we’re all watching to see if the Cyclones can throw up 100 and get us all free corndogs.

Iowa State keeps their turnovers in single digits, hits double digit 3-pointers, and Burton gets a double-double.

#24 Iowa State - 91; Savannah State - 66

Game Notes

Game Time: Friday, Nov. 11th, 7 pm CST

Line: Unavailable

TV/Webcast: Cyclones.tv

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio App

Cyclones.com Game Notes: Available here