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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking The Citadel

If you like uptempo basketball and lots of points, this game is for you.

NCAA Basketball: Savannah State at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been six days since the Cyclones laced them up, and nine days since they played a game that was easy on the eyes of Iowa State fans. This game should feature more uptempo basketball and lots of three point attempts, you know, #Hoiball.

I’ve said it twice before, and I’ll say it again, this game shouldn’t be relatively close, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Both teams are in the top 30 for quickest offensive possessions, and top 25 in overall tempo. In fact, The Citadel is the quickest team in the country.

Last Time Out

The Cyclones defeated The Mount on Monday night in a cold shooting, low scoring affair. Iowa State shot a cool 25% from deep and the game was slowed to just 74 possessions. 23 fewer than their opening win against Savannah State. Deonte Burton recorded his first double-double with 10 points and 13 boards, while Monte Morris led the team in scoring with 18.

About The Citadel

Offensively, the Bulldogs love to play fast. Naturally, one might think that the way to beat them would be to slow them down, but they’re actually better performing in their half court sets than they are in transition. They’re averaging 97 possessions and turning it over over 27% of the time. Coincidentally, the Bulldogs are in transition approximately 27% of the time and averaging less than 0.7 points per possession in those trips. Conversely, they’re scoring 0.96 points per half court set. This is because a lot of their turnovers happen in transition. Even though they love to play fast, they’re not efficient in doing so. Iowa State needs to push the tempo and get aggressive in their transition defense.

It will also be important for Iowa State to keep The Citadel off of the offensive glass, as they rebound about 40% of their misses. If they do this, the Cyclones can get in transition themselves and get some easy buckets.

Zane Najdawi is the player to watch when the Bulldogs have the ball. The 6’7” sophomore forward is averaging more than 20 points per contest, and stuffs the stat sheet every game. If The Citadel get into a half court set, look for them to set up Najdawi in the post.

In transition, The Citadel will run through a pair of freshmen guards, Frankie Johnson and Preston Parks, while sophomores Matt Frierson Quayson Williams will look to spot up for transition triples. Frierson hit 7 of 16 attempts in their matchup with Johnson (FL), and Williams went 7 for 14 from long range against Truett McConnell.

Defensively, The Citadel are ranked 349th in defensive efficiency - 3rd to last in Division 1. Iowa State should be able to get whatever they want offensively and should be able to get some second chance points as the Bulldogs allow offensive boards more than 35% of the time.

What to Expect

Points. Possessions. Turnovers. Garbage time. These are all things I expect to see a lot of this afternoon. While it’s tough to learn much from these early season beat downs, there are some trends starting to develop that I’d like to see Iowa State improve on before the tougher part of the non-conference arrives.

Offensively the Cyclones are shooting poorly from deep, shooting just 28.6% so far this season which is really hurting their offensive efficiency. If they can’t hit the long ball, they will really struggle to score against teams with length as they won’t be able to stretch the floor. They’re currently scoring less than a point per possession once they get in their half court sets. If they start hitting 3’s this will change drastically, but so far, we haven’t seen the offense clicking on all cylinders.

On the defensive side of the ball, I’ll be watching Monte Morris. Yes, it’s only been 2 games, but Monte has fallen victim to giving up some 3’s in half court sets. A lot of this can be attributed to him helping off his man, so if the other Cyclones can defend well enough that Monte doesn’t have to help off of shooters, they should be in good shape. Outside of that, it will be interesting to see if the Cyclones really gamble in transition and offer token pressure to force turnovers. I think they will and I think this one will be decided early.

#20 Iowa State - 112; The Citadel - 77

Pick 3

  1. Corndogs for everyone
  2. Iowa State forces 20+ turnovers
  3. One of the graduate transfers grabs double digit boards

Game Notes

Game Time: Sunday, Nov. 20th, 1 p.m. CST

Line: Unavailable

TV/Webcast: (John Walters, Eric Heft)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio App Game Notes: Available here