What a difference a week makes. A team left for dead by many is competing for one of the most prestigious championships around. Iowa State will face the Boise State Broncos with a chance to call themselves the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip-Off Champions! It would be their second championship in their last eight games dating back to last season’s Big 12 Tournament championship.
Last Time Out
The Golden Hurricane proved to be nothing more than a tropical storm standing in the way of these mighty Cyclones. Steve (formerly known as Jeff) Prohm’s squad took control of the game late in the first half thanks to the hot shooting of Jakolby Long. Long (a brother from a different mother as Naz Mitrou-Long) scored more points (15) in the last 12 minutes of the first half than he did all last season.
The Golden Hurricane closed to within two points late in the game before Nick Weiler-Babb and his gang sealed the deal at the free throw line. “Baby” Babb, the projected #1 overall pick in the 2018 Capital City League Draft, nearly recorded his first career triple-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Boise State Broncos have come out of the gait running on all cylinders at 4-0 following their 82-64 win over Illinois State. They beat former Cyclone head coach Tim Floyd’s UTEP team by a neck, 58-56, in their first round matchup of the tournament.
About Boise State
This Mountain West school known mostly for their blue football field is now a familiar foe for Iowa State in these mid-season tournaments. In 2013, Iowa State beat Boise State to take home the Diamond Head Classic championship and keep their then perfect record in tact.
DeAndre Kane ain’t walking through that door though, but then again neither is Anthony Drmic.
Boise State is a solid team, entering the game 78th in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. They have done a lot of damage from deep so far this year scoring just under 42% of their total points from long range. As a team they are shooting right at 40% on the year.
Boise State won’t force many turnovers, but they will limit you to one shot most of the time, only allowing opponents to collect just 21.1% of available offensive rebounds.
Players to Watch
Chandler Hutchison is one tough Bronco. The 6’7” senior is their mane scoring threat averaging a double-double so far on the young season one year after averaging over 17 points and 7 rebounds per game. He can trot out and shoot the three at a pretty good clip (38% this season) and has taken about three attempts per game in 2017.
Alex Hobbs, most likely a distant relative of Roy Hobbs, is a natural at the guard position. The sophomore is the team’s leading scorer through four games averaging over 15 points per game. Hobbs is effective from deep, but has done most of his damage inside of the three point arc.
Christian Sengfelder (say that five times fast) is a graduate transfer from Fordham. This thoroughbred has averaged double figure points every year of eligibility and never less than five rebounds per game. He’s connected on 7 of 16 three point attempts this season.
What to Expect
It has been refreshing to watch the last couple of games without worrying about the Cyclones not winning by enough. In a way we became a bit spoiled as a fan base the past six years. It appears just winning by one would have been enough the past few games for this fan base and that is the way it should be. Just win baby.
This won’t be a particularly easy game by any stretch of the imagination. The Cyclones will need to use their young players to youth-anize the Broncos.
Iowa State has struggled to close the door in their two wins this season. This should improve as the year goes on as players gain experience and Prohm finds players he trusts to play in crunch time.
This one will be tight throughout. If Iowa State can hunker down on the defensive end when they go through a scoring drought (and they will go on a scoring drought) their chances are pretty good. One big key will be to play solid defense on Hutchison without fouling. Cameron Lard will be the best matchup for him assuming he can stay on the court himself by staying out of foul trouble.
Nick Weiler-Babb and Donovan Jackson will continue to carry this team offensively while Wigginton adjusts to the college game. ISU hangs on for dear life in a game very similar to the 2013 matchup. The Broncos travel back to Boise with a long face.
Iowa State- 80 Boise State 76
- Zoran “Talleys” at least ten points
- Jeff Beverly hits a three pointer (finally)
- Cameron Lard records another three blocks
Game Time: Sunday November 19th, 6:30 PM
Line: Iowa State (-1)