Last Time Out
Woof. The Cyclones went through the motions against a Maryland Eastern Shore team that is one of the worst five teams in the nation. It almost cost the Cyclones as they struggled en route to a 55-49 win over the Hawks in only a game that only Todd Lickliter could love.
Honestly, there isn’t anything you can take away from that game as it was pretty clear Iowa State had two feet out the door and their minds on holiday break. They were down to seven healthy players and needed Jakolby Long to suit up just so they could do the pre-game layup line. The good news is if Iowa State is prone to playing to their competition this year they should bring their “A” game the rest of the year. All of their opponents left on the schedule are currently ranked in the Top 50 of Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.
About Kansas State
Bruce Weber is still coaching the ‘Cats? You’ve got to be kitten me. Must be some claws in his contract or something. One of the more misunderstood coaches in the Big 12 has Kansas State at 10-2 and ranked 43rd in the KenPom ratings. They have a road victory over Vanderbilt, but have not recorded any other top-100 wins. Their two losses have come at the hands of Arizona State and a Tulsa team that Iowa State beat in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The ‘Cats haven’t been purrfect on offense but they’ve been pretty good. They are 38th in the country in adjusted offense. Don’t confuse their efficiency with loads of points. Kansas State plays at one of the slowest paces in the country.
The ‘Cats will make you scratch and claw for everything on the other end of the floor too. Opponents take over 19 seconds per pawsession when on offense.
Players to Watch
Barry Brown takes 26.7% of his team’s shots when he is on the floor. He is much more effective from inside the three point line, shooting over 52.7% from two-point range and 87% from the charity stripe.
Kamau Stokes is the leader of the litter, scoring 14.2 points per game while dishing out just under 5 assists per contest. He is also very effective from deep connecting on 43.3% of his three point attempts.
Kansas State has their own D-Wade, although this one is a younger model. Dean Wade has transformed his game a bit this year, doing more damage from inside the arc than outside. The junior is averaging 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He is taking on average one less three point shot per contest this season.
What to Expect
Cats have nine lives and Iowa State is going to have difficulty exhausting all of them in this game. If the Cyclones can push the pace they have a chance of earning their fourth top-100 win on the year. While it is nice the Cyclones get their first two Big 12 contests at home, it should be noted that the home court advantage won’t be as effective with seemingly every Ames resident down in Memphis or on semester break.
You could make a case for either team winning this one and this will be life in the Big 12 this season. This game will come down to a couple of bounces one way or another. Should Iowa State win this game handily, the NCAA tournament talk will continue to escalate. If they drop these first two home games, it will be hard to make up ground.
Lindell Wigginton gets back to form and we see Donovan Jackson get his shooting touch back.
Iowa State- 72 Kansas State- 69
- Donovan Jackson hits five three pointers
- Cameron Lard records more blocks than fouls
- Steve Prohm takes his jacket off within the first 90 seconds of the game
Game Time: Friday, December 29th, 8 PM
Line: ISU (-2)