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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking TCU Pt. 2

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Iowa State looks for its first 3-game winning streak of 2017

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, The Iowa State Road Dogs Cyclones, return home to try and get their first 3-game winning streak of the 2017 calendar year. They also begin a stretch of three games against Texas schools that will all but establish their final place in the Big 12 standings. After today’s game, the Cyclones will head to Lubbock on a quick turnaround Monday night before getting the top ten Baylor Bears at home next Saturday.

There’s a decent gap between the top four and bottom six of the Big 12 currently, and a win today would further establish Iowa State’s place in the top four. If Iowa State beats TCU, Kansas wins in Waco and West Virginia takes care of business against Texas Tech, the Cyclones will be in a 3-way tie for second place at the end of the day. Who would have guessed that two weeks ago?

TCU at Iowa State

TCU @ Iowa State
TCU @ Iowa State
AP Ranking UR UR
Season Record 17-9 (6-7) 16-9 (8-5)
Home/Away 13-4 / 4-5 9-3 / 7-6
Series Record 6-9 9-6
Series in Ames 1-5 5-1
Via Kenpom (2/17)
Overall Ranking 40 26
Adjusted Offense 50 34
Adjusted Defense 51 28
2P% 52.6% (53) 50.6% (110)
3P% 34.6% (200) 38.3% (42)
FT% 69.4% (189) 67.8% (251)
EFG% 52.4% (94) 53.3% (65)

Last Time Out

Iowa State is coming off of it’s most comfortable road win since last year’s back to back victories in Manhattan and Ft. Worth. The Cyclones went down to Manhattan and built a big early lead, fended off a big Kansas State charge, and eventually won 87-79 in the Octagon of Doom.

Solomon Young continued his emergence by pitching in 18 points and 12 boards in the win. All five Cyclone starters notched double figure scoring efforts and the team assisted on more than 62% of its field goals. All in all it was a very promising effort despite guys like Donovan Jackson and Nick Weiler-Babb having slightly off nights.

TCU has lost two straight: at Baylor and at home to the surging Cowboys of Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs battled most of the way in a close game, but eventually came up short 71-68. New head coach, Jamie Dixon, has orchestrated quite the turnaround in Ft. Worth. TCU had never won more than four conference games since joining the Big 12, yet they head to Ames having already won six with five games remaining. Including a win over the Cyclones at home. Impressive.

Round 1

In the first go around between these two squads, TCU systematically broke down the Iowa State defense, shooting 70.7% from inside the arc in an 84-77 victory. In the two games Solomon Young has started, Iowa State has allowed its two opponents to shoot a combined 49.5% from inside the arc. Young, Deonte Burton, and Merrill Holden will have their hands full trying to contain Kenrich Williams and Vladimir Brodziansky who combined for 38 points and 27 boards in the first matchup.

Matchups and Players to Watch

Recently, the play of the big four seniors for Iowa State has been fairly consistent - yes, even Deonte Burton. The new revelation has been Solomon Young. However, in this one, I’m going to look at the production of Iowa State’s bench, specifically Merrill Holden, Darrell Bowie and Nick Weiler-Babb.

Young was able to avoid foul trouble in Manhattan, but we saw him struggle with it a bit against OU and it’s likely to come back and bite him at some point the rest of this season. I’m afraid with the way TCU is able to get the ball in the post, that may be today. I can’t pretend to know which big will be first of the bench for the Cyclones, but I think it’ll be Merrill Holden. If we get the Holden that we saw in Norman, Iowa State should be fine. If we get the Holden we’ve seen at other times this season, Iowa State could be in trouble.

In addition, I think Nick Weiler-Babb and Darrell Bowie will both see some action while Burton gets some rest at times. Both will be tasked with rebounding and defending at a high level. The offensive production should be there from Iowa State’s top six to win this game. If the Cyclones are able to get ancillary production from players 7-9, they should be able to put the Frogs away in this one.

A Word and a GIF Summary

Today’s Word: Bigly

I know, it’s not a real word, but it seems...trendy. Iowa State’s bigs will need to play big in this one to come out with a victory. Not necessarily in terms of scoring, but they will be needed to defend and rebound against the aggressive TCU forwards. The guards will also have to play big and play their part on the glass, but the defense of guys like Young, Holden, Burton and Bowie will be a big factor in determining the outcome.

Today’s GIF:

Pick 3

  1. Matt Thomas leads the team in scoring
  2. Deonte Burton has a double-double
  3. Iowa State forces more than 15 turnovers

Iowa State - 77; TCU - 70

Game Notes

Game Time: Saturday, Feb. 18th, 5 p.m. CST

Line Open: Iowa State (-7); O/U (143)

The Foe: Frogs O’ War

TV/Webcast: ESPNews/WatchESPN (Jason Benetti, Reid Gettys)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio App (John Walters, Eric Heft)

Cyclones.com Game Notes: Available here