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NCAA Tournament Preview: We’re Talking Nevada

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Iowa State takes on the Mountain West Champions in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Championship-Iowa State vs West Virginia Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be quite a divide in the national perception of Iowa State heading into the NCAA Tournament. They’re either a sleeper final four team, or a team on upset watch in their first round matchup.

The rationale is pretty simple. Iowa State is one of the hottest teams in the country, but has some obvious flaws on the interior, and Nevada is a quality opponent that Kenpom ranks between at-large teams like USC and Seton Hall. They even have maybe the most improbable comeback of all time, winning 105-104 in OT at New Mexico after being down 25 with 11 minutes left and 14 with just over a minute remaining.

#5 Iowa State vs. #12 Nevada by the Numbers

Iowa State Nevada
Iowa State Nevada
AP Ranking T-16 T-32
Season Record 23-10 (15-6) 28-6 (17-4)
Home/Away 12-3 / 11-7 13-1 / 15-5
Series Record 0-0 0-0
Via Kenpom (3/15)
Overall Ranking 17 54
Adjusted Offense 13 34
Adjusted Defense 43 100
2P% 51.2% (93) 49.3% (175)
3P% 40.2% (11) 38.5% (32)
FT% 69.6% (201) 70.3% (169)
EFG% 54.8% (27) 52.7% (74)

Last Time Out

Steve Prohm finally got his first win against West Virginia, Monte Morris became the winningest player in Iowa State history, the Cyclones won their third Big 12 Tournament title in four years, and Deonte Burton simultaneously murdered a rim and player all in last Saturday’s Big 12 Tournament Championship game.

Out in Las Vegas, Nevada brought home the Mountain West Conference Tournament title to match the one they collected in the regular season.

Matchups and Players to Watch

Pick your poison with Nevada. 6’8” forward Cameron Oliver projects to be a stretch four in the NBA when he decides to go, and 6’3” PG Marcus Marshall could also be drafted as well. These two make for a lethal pick and roll combination that will test Solomon Young’s developing defensive skill set. Marshall will gladly shoot the three ball if Iowa State’s guards sag under the screen. He’s already made 113 on the season which is 19 more than Nazareth Mitrou-Long.

I would also project Deonte Burton and Jordan Caroline to see a lot of each other. Caroline is more of a slasher that can do damage on the interior, so Deonte will have to be careful in his defensive rotations to help on Oliver down low.

Nevada plays a lot of four guard lineups, and often plays six players at the most. I think we may see a lot of Donovan Jackson to move Morris off of Marshall and to let Jackson pester Marshall all over the floor similarly to what West Virginia did with Monte Morris. This may mean we see lineups with either Naz Long or Matt Thomas, but a lot of that could be dictated on how Iowa State’s offense flows with guys like Jackson and Darrell Bowie on the floor. Iowa State will have to be on it’s game offensively to put this one away, but a few defensive stops will be key to building a lead.

A Word and a GIF Summary

Today’s Word: Business

This word could be used in multiple ways. The first is to make sure this trip to Milwaukee is indeed a “business trip” as Deonte Burton claimed it was earlier this week. With Burton, Donovan Jackson, Darrell Bowie hailing from Milwaukee and Matt Thomas also from Wisconsin, there could be a lot of distractions. I don’t envision this being an issue, but it’s certainly something those guys will have to deal with.

You could also use the word in the sense of “taking care of business”. The 5-12 matchup is always a testy one, but the Cyclones are the more talented team, playing closer to home, and should come out victorious. But they must focus and do their jobs and take care of their business on the floor.

Today’s GIF:

Pick 3

  1. Iowa State connects for double digit 3’s
  2. Less than 25 total FT’s attempted
  3. Game is within single digits for a longer period of time than fans are comfortable with

#5 Iowa State - 82; #12 Nevada - 71

Game Notes

Game Time: Thursday, March 16th, approx. 8:57 p.m. CST

Line Open: Iowa State (-6.5); O/U (155.5)

The Foe: Mountain West Connection

TV/Webcast: TruTV (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Debbie Antonelli, Lisa Byington)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft)

Cyclones.com Game Notes: Available here