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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Appalachian State

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A 1-2 start would be significantly better than an 0-3 start according to the experts

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State travels to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the the first of three games in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Thursday afternoon. Their first opponent will be Appalachian State followed by the winner/loser of Western Michigan and Tulsa. The entire bracket is listed below.

While this tournament doesn’t have quite the same competition Iowa State is used to seeing in pre-season tournaments, that could be just what the doctor ordered for this struggling basketball team

Last Time Out

After chalking up a loss to Missouri in the first game of the season to inexperience and a raucous environment, it is hard to explain getting run out of the gym by Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Iowa State struggled to take care of the basketball, shoot the basketball and share the basketball in the 74-56 loss to a team expected to finish in the bottom part of the Horizon League. Two of their projected leading scorers (Donovan Jackson and Lindell Wigginton) have each only recorded four baskets a piece in the first two games.

The struggle is real right now for the Cyclones.

Appalachian State is coming off a 95-57 victory over Bridgewater (no relation to Teddy....that we know of). They opened the season with a 101 (!) point victory over Toccoa Falls. I have no idea where that is, but I hear it is lovely this time of year.

About Appalachian State

Best known for their football victory over fifth ranked Michigan ten years ago, Appalachian State hails from Boone, North Carolina and is a member of the Sun Belt Conference. After extensive research, this town of Boone doesn’t appear to have an historic railroad museum. Point awarded to Boone, Iowa.

The Mountaineers play at a pretty brisk pace. Averaging 86 possessions per game has contributed to an offense averaging 115 point per contest. Ah, the beauty of small sample sizes and poor competition.

Appalachian State enters the game in the 223rd spot in the Ken Pomeroy ratings. The Mountaineers won just nine basketball games last season.

Players to Watch

Ronshad Shabazz enters the game averaging 24.5 points per game while logging just over 22 minutes a contest. The junior guard has done it all this year connecting on three deep balls in each contest and leading his team in assists. Shabazz led the team in usage one year ago being utilized on 26.7% of all possessions.

Griffin Kinney will look to do damage on the boards down low for the Mountaineers. Kinney grabbed 23.6% of all available defensive rebounds when he was on the floor during the 2016-17 campaign. For comparison’s sake, the last Cyclone to have a defensive rebounding rate over 20% was Dustin Hogue (20.4%) in 2014. It is probably a good thing for Appalachian State he isn’t playing in this game. He’s been known to kick Mountaineers in the chest.

“Sorry, I’m not sorry”- Dustin Hogue

The rim will be protected by Tyrell Johnson. The 6’8” junior averaged over one block a game last season and has improved on that mark in the two games they have played this season. He will step out and shoot a three pointer every now and then but Iowa State will probably welcome that. He shot just 26% from deep last season.

What to Expect

Could this be just what the doctor ordered? It could be but I’m not talking about Appalachian State being a walk in the park. The Mountaineers will run which just might help push Iowa State to do so as well. Less thinking, more reacting and the Cyclones might finally unlock some of their potential on offense.

Iowa State will tip off as a 10 point favorite over Appalachian State. If Iowa State plays like they have in the first two games they won’t be covering that line. The good news? Steve Prohm brings back two key contributors in Hans Brase and Cameron Lard. Iowa State may struggle working them back into the rotation, but this team’s ball movement and organization can’t get much worse at this point.

This game isn’t going to be one where Iowa State takes the early lead and never looks back. We might not see too many of those this season. The Cyclones will have to sweat out a couple of hot streaks from Appalachian State shooters and find the bottom of the net themselves more than they did in the second half Monday night.

Lard and Brase bring a lift off the bench and Donovan Jackson finds his groove behind the three point line.

Iowa State- 78 Appalachian State- 73

Pick 3

  1. Donovan Jackson connects on at least three triples
  2. Iowa State shoots more free throws than Appalachian State makes
  3. Nick Weiler-Babb logs the most minutes of any Cyclone at point guard

Game Notes

Game Time: Thursday, November 16th, 4:30 PM

Line: Iowa State (-10)

TV: ESPNU