Eight games into the season, we’ve got a decent sample size of what we can expect from this year’s edition of the Cyclones. In today’s roundtable, we talked about what to look for going forward from Iowa State and what to expect from the Cy-Hawk game tonight.
Kevin Fitzpatrick: After two losses to top 25 opponents, Iowa State rebounded with a dominant effort against an Omaha team that beat Iowa just two nights prior. We’ve had some time to look at this team now... What are some keys to success that you guys see going forward?
RevDizz: Lots of people will say offense, but I think that comes around in time. My key would be being able to keep up on the defensive glass with an undersized roster. We’ve seen how well the offense flows with Burton/Babb at the 4 as opposed to playing Holden/Bowie simultaneously. If they can keep teams off the glass with the smaller lineup the offense will come with.
CloneTeach: One thing that still isn’t getting enough credit is that our last five halves of basketball have resulted in defensive efforts of 26 points or less.
52 Trap: Settling into roles. Burton has emerged as the largest scoring threat. Monte showed signs against Omaha of facilitating and letting the game dictate his role. Thomas and Long need to settle in as complementary shooters and this team will be fine.
CloneTeach: Donovan Jackson being able to play the role of scorer and facilitator depending on the situation could give Monte some much needed rest and add another dimension to the offense.
Kevin: It’s pretty astounding to me that we’ve been able to have some really good offensive games this season without Matt Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long shooting well from 3-point range. When they get going we’ll be extremely hard to defend.
Kody Pedersen: Echoing the thought that we need to get NML and Thomas on track from outside. Thomas has been better, but I think NML has a mechanical flaw.
RevDizz: Is Naz ever going to get it going or do we think what we’ve seen through the first quarter of the season is what we’re going to get?
Kevin: To be honest I think he just needs to shave his head. That extra weight is throwing off his shot.
RevDizz: At least it’s not frosted tips.
Kevin: Maybe in this case he should get the tips frosted. Because a double negative equals a positive.
CloneTeach: Burton looking for Thomas and NML in the corners against Omaha was a great start to getting them going.
Kody: Agreed. Wasn’t sure if Burton had that passing ability.
CloneTeach: If they can get Bowie to do a bit of the same it would be a big positive as well.
Kevin: Burton has been magnificent so far this season. That can’t be stressed enough. I’ll admit I doubted he could do it. But he’s arguably been our best player.
CloneTeach: Except in the 1st half of the Zaga game if you ask Randy Pete.
CYHusker: Naz isn’t holding his release long enough, it seems like he is pushing a shot up instead of shooting.
Kody: I’m a bit of a Weiler-Babb fanboy but I think his minutes should be closer to Naz’s.
Kevin: I’m absolutely with you Kody. At least until Naz gets his shot back. NWB does the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Kinda cliche, but it’s true.
CYHusker: NWB was the minutes leader against Omaha for what it’s worth.
KnowDan: Naz’s shot looks a lot like his shot his freshman year. Not settling his feet and just hoisting it as quick as possible. The quicker release has been detrimental to his accuracy. NWB needs to shoot more too. If we’re playing him or Burton at the 4 then we need to utilize both on the pick and pop to keep Monte from being hassled so much in the lane he can’t find anyone open.
CloneTeach: Bowie hitting some threes against Omaha might help that pick and pop play too.
KnowDan: Agreed, CloneTeach.
RevDizz: Via KenPom, Naz is on the floor in 9/10 of Iowa State’s most used lineups, which is more than anyone on the team. That needs to come down in my opinion. I think it would help both Naz and the team’s offensive flow.
52 Trap: I would like to see Bowie and Holden up their assist numbers. Even by 1 or 2 per game would be huge. The added kicks should increase rhythm and help ball movement.
Kody: Bowie has the ability but needs to understand he’s not a top option. When he looks to kick out, we usually get an open look because he’s so active in the paint.
RevDizz: That’s a good point, Kody. Which begs the question, should Bowie start over Holden?
Kevin: I think yes.
CloneTeach: I think no.
Kevin: OH OKAY CLONETEACH. FIGHT ME.
CloneTeach: My dad could beat up...
Ian Rewoldt: Holden has been really, really good on ball screen defense.
Kody: I’m kind of OK with him coming off the bench. It’s hard to judge with Holden playing so few minutes.
Ian: He clearly fouls a lot but his coverage is great. That is for sure why Prohm keeps starting him.
Kody: That’s what is frustrating. Holden looks like a good defender outside of, you know, fouling out every game.
Ian: It’s still such an upgrade over Jameel last year though.
RevDizz: I think that’ll change with conference play though. They always do this “point of emphasis” bullshit to start every season, then conference play starts and West Virginia is allowed to do whatever they want again.
Kevin: Be careful or this will turn into ranting about West Virginia.
CloneTeach: Also, our best offensive players are typically on the floor when Holden is playing and when he comes off with another scoring threat it’s nice to have Bowie come in. I actually enjoy that Holden fouls so much because like others have said there will be nights where he fouls 5 times but they missed another 10. I don’t think we played physical enough last year in the paint toward the end of games when fouls weren’t an issue.
Kevin: I’m more fine with Holden fouling more when Solomon Young is available off the bench.
CYHusker: Holden’s time will come I think, like what he can do defensively. But him and Bowie should get equal minutes at least.
Vegas CyClown: And that’s when I said to her, “Shirley, that’s not where we put the beans, is it?” Oops. Wrong chat...sorry.
Kevin: Totally gonna leave that in the roundtable, Vegas.
Kody: Anyone think our defensive performances have been a fluke?
Ian: I don’t think so.
Kody: Me neither, just hard to imagine such a difference.
CloneTeach: If we weren’t still getting burned for offensive boards I would have some doubts, but we are giving up second chances and still performing well.
Ian: Cincy shot horribly from three, but the Zags shot over 50%. We have been doing such a better job of containing ball screens and helping on drives.
RevDizz: Closeouts were so much better in the Cincy game than they were against Gonzaga.
Ian: Because of Karnowski.
Kody: Helping, recovering and closing out with a hand up. Frustrating how many times the past few seasons we would make one good rotation and then concede a wide open three without trying to even contest.
CloneTeach: For what it’s worth, KenPom’s algorithm still thinks we play zone, so I think that is a sign of a good man to man defense. Anyone else notice during the Omaha game that Neill Berry sounds EXACTLY like Prohm?
Kevin: If he was who they interviewed during halftime, then yes. I thought it was Prohm.
CYHusker: He sounds just like him. Also I think Prohm finally found some pants that fit him. Anyone else notice that?
Kody: Yes, his suit game has been far better this season.
CloneTeach: Need more bulge, but I agree.
RevDizz: To be honest, I’m shocked there’s not an @ProhmsPants Twitter account.
Kevin: Sounds like the next WRNL venture.
CYHusker: Let’s do it.
CloneTeach: Prohm shipped his pants?
CYHusker: Prohm traded in his baggy pants for better defense.
RevDizz: Pretty savvy trade IMO.
Kevin: Tighter pants and better defense = less space. Makes sense.
CYHusker: There should be enough for an article here. Babb sticks to defenders like Prohm’s pants cling tighter to his legs? Babb’s defense is phenomenal by the way. What’s our best defensive lineup? Monte-Matt-Babb-Burton-Holden?
Kevin: That’s also coincidentally the lineup people might want us to go with while Naz is in his slump.
Ian: That’s pretty good. I think DJ is better than Monte defensively. DJ, Matt, Babb, Burton, Holden.
CloneTeach: Monte’s PPP numbers aren’t outstanding on defense are they?
CYHusker: DJ is a great on-ball defender, he’s so quick and also crafty.
Ian: Could starve offensively with that lineup though unless Burton and DJ get a pick and roll game flowing.
CYHusker: DJ shoots a lot like Korie Lucious style-wise.
CloneTeach: I miss that team.
Kody: DJ is the last guy you want to defend you in practice.
Kevin: Perhaps we should end by talking about Iowa... Does anything about the Hawkeyes concern you guys heading into the Cy-Hawk game?
RevDizz: Other than Bohannon canning 12 threes, not really.
Ian: If we rebound well defensively and keep Jok and Bohannon off the 3-point line I think we win by at least 10.
CYHusker: Agreed. Gotta stop the ancillary players like Pemsl and Bohannon. That’s about it. And rebound.
BJSwanny: Jok will get his, so him having 30 or 40 doesn’t concern me ‘cause he’ll give up 50.
CloneTeach: The 3-ball is a big wild card. If Jok and Bohannon can combine for 15 threes (which they can) it will be a close game.
Kody: Have to get off to a good start. As long as we don’t settle for bad shots, we should get a bunch of easy baskets. That sounds incredibly cliche now that I type i out. Basically I mean, don’t chuck threes because Morris should be able to get to the rim at will.
CloneTeach: Gotta score more than them, I think.
Kevin: Probably hold them to fewer points than us.
CloneTeach: Bohannon can’t guard Morris.
Ian: Who is going to match up with Burton?
Kody: They don’t really have an enforcer at the rim either.
CloneTeach: Burton at the 5 at times might be an option if Holden gets in foul trouble... Pemsl against Burton would be a problem for Iowa.
Kody: Pemsl has shown he’s foul-prone.
Ian: Pemsl has looked good inside. I don’t know how Burton would handle that and I don’t want to double at all. But he wouldn’t be able to contain Deonte on the other end.
Kody: That’s an interesting matchup. Would think Burton’s physical maturity would give him a significant upper hand.
52 Trap: Like y’all said, it is all about the 3-ball for them. If it is falling, then they will gain confidence and make it a game. I was thinking that if Gonzaga didn’t hit 70% from three in the first half, then we might have won that game going away.
Ian: Getting Pemsl in ball screens with Morris while he’s guarding Burton would be a disaster for Iowa.
Kevin: It sounds like they’ve had a ton of disasters on defense so far this season.
52 Trap: Iowa seems to have two of Jok, Pemsl, and Bohannon get their points. It hasn’t been enough and I don’t know that all three have had nice ball games in the same game. It seems that if you are able to contain one of those guys, then there isn’t enough there for them to overcome the defensive deficiencies. Kind of like Iowa State football.
RevDizz: They’re 174th in adjusted defense. That’s so much worse than the ISU teams of seasons past that “didn’t play defense.”
Kody: They’re also poor rebounders. Any concerns with Moss? See he hit five threes in their game on Monday.
RevDizz: If they settle for stupid mid-range jumpers off the dribble against the 174th defense, I’ll be inconsolable.
52 Trap: Is it just me, or is it difficult to imagine a scenario where Iowa can win? Barring them playing out of their minds in a rivalry?
ClonesJer: They smell bad too.
Ian: I could see Holden playing to his potential and having a really good game against them. And Bowie for that matter.
Kody: There is very little evidence that suggests Iowa has the ability to beat Iowa State this year. None really.
ClonesJer: Don’t say shit like that, Iowa said shit like that with Stanzi.
Kevin: We have everything to lose and nothing to gain with this game. Should probably discontinue it IMO.
Kody: Speaking statistically, Jer.
ClonesJer: 2005? Yeah, almost that exact quote.
RevDizz: I’m with Kody. No team has ever lost because their fans were over confident. This would be a bad loss and it shouldn’t happen.
Kody: By no means did I mean a win was automatic.
ClonesJer: Can we talk headlines after we win to be super jinxy? I nominate “Jok-Blocked” if we lose.
CanAzn: I nominate it if we win.
ClonesJer: True - it works either way.
Kevin: So, safe to say everyone in here is predicting an Iowa State win, correct?
52 Trap: Yes. I was thinking most everyone thought we would lose a game in the tourney and it was about 50-50 on Cincinnati. No one thought we would lose this game. We are right on track and this should be a good test to see if they are progressing from the difficulty against Gonzaga and Cincy.
What’s your prediction for the game tonight? Let us know in the comments.