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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Indiana State

A matchup with local connections kicks off the Cyclones’ trip to Orlando.

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

After beating the brakes off of a few overmatched foes, Iowa State will get a step up in competition as it heads to Orlando for the Advocare Invitational. The tournament features five teams in Kenpom’s top-40, and should provide some quality basketball as you stuff your face with your Thanksgiving favorites.

Those that are expecting similar styles to what we saw in games against Savannah State and The Citadel may be in for a rude awakening, as the tempo is sure to slow, scoring will be harder to come by, and the defense may not look as strong as the Cyclones face some stiffer competition.

Last Time Out

Iowa State more than doubled up The Citadel on Sunday afternoon, winning by a margin of 130-63. In a game where defense was option and each offensive possession was a potential highlight waiting to happen, Iowa State excelled by scoring 1.43 points per possession. I’m going to make a bold prediction by saying that we don’t see that type of offensive explosion again this season, and maybe ever.

8 Cyclones posted double figures scoring and Naz Mitrou-Long led the way with 26. Monte Morris notched the 5th triple-double in school history without recording a single turnover. Whew.

About Indiana State

What do you think of when you think of the Missouri Valley? Above average defense, below average offense, average tempo, and senior leadership in the backcourt. Surprise! That’s exactly what you’re getting with the Sycamores. Their first two games this season went to overtime, and their guards have played a huge role in each. (I’m skipping the game against Missouri-St. Louis)

Junior guard Brenton Scott averaged more than 27 points in those contests, while senior guard Everett Clemons was an assist away from a triple-double in their overtime win over Ball State. I would expect Matt Thomas to start on Scott and Monte Morris to get the start on Clemons defensively.

Matt Van Scyoc is a 6’6” winger who is more than capable of knocking down threes. The Sycamores could go small and put him at the four, which would give Burton the defensive responsibility. If he can’t handle it, I’d expect to see Nick Weiler-Babb as a small ball four to better match up defensively. Indiana State doesn’t have any imposing height on the frontline, so Coach Prohm should be able to rotate players in and out to match up better defensively while the offense works itself out.

Since you’ll hear it a million times during the game, Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing is from southwest Iowa, coached high school basketball in Des Moines, is a Hawkeye fan and worked under Steve Alford. Now you know.

What to Expect

I would on this tilt being lower scoring than what we’ve seen this year, potentially with the feel of the Mount St. Mary’s game. While the Cyclones should be double digit favorites, they are still breaking five new players into the rotation, and they’ll be playing their first game away from Hilton in a sleepy Disney gym.

Don’t look now, but ISU has a top 50 defensive efficiency on Kenpom. It’ll be interesting to see how that ranking changes over the course of the next three games. The competition will be a step up, and if Iowa State is going to perform well in the tournament, a lot of work will have to be done on the defensive end of the floor.

The Cyclones are still shooting under 32% from long range on the season, but have the 5th best 2-point FG% in the nation at 62.6%. It’ll be imperative for the Cyclones to run their sets in the half court as the game slows down, and not settle for contested jumpers if they get frustrated. Thankfully they get Indiana State first before likely facing the Miami Hurricanes. Limiting turnovers, staying aggressive defensively, and staying patient in the half court are the keys to putting this one in the victory column.

#20 Iowa State - 78; Indiana State - 62

Pick 3

  1. Only 8 players play double digit minutes (10 did against the Citadel)
  2. Deonte Burton leads the team in rebounding
  3. Iowa State shoots <33% from deep

Game Notes

Game Time: Thursday Nov. 24th, 11:30 a.m. CST

Line: Iowa State (-15)

TV/Webcast: ESPN2/WatchESPN (Roy Philpott, Tim Welsh)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio App (Chris Williams, Brent Blum) Game Notes: Available here