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NCAA Tournament Preview: We’re Talking Purdue

Iowa State faces the Boilermakers and NPOY candidate Caleb Swanigan in the round of 32

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Iowa State vs Nevada James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

After disposing of the Mountain West Conference champions in round one, Iowa State will now take on the Big Ten Conference champions in round two, let by National Player of the Year candidate, Caleb Swanigan.

The Selection Committee finally gets the matchup it wants to see after placing Iowa State and Purdue in the same regional pod two years in a row. Big vs. small, guards vs. forwards. Big 12 vs. B1G. It’s on.

#5 Iowa State vs. #4 Purdue by the Numbers

Iowa State Purdue
Iowa State Purdue
AP Ranking T-16 15
Season Record 24-10 (15-6) 27-7 (14-5)
Home/Away 12-3 / 12-7 16-2 / 11-5
Series Record 2-2 2-2
Via Kenpom (3/17)
Overall Ranking 17 15
Adjusted Offense 11 23
Adjusted Defense 43 17
2P% 51.5% (85) 52.6% (48)
3P% 40.3% (9) 40.7% (3)
FT% 70.2% (173) 76.1% (25)
EFG% 55.0% (26) 55.8% (15)

Last Time Out

The Iowa State Cyclones and Nevada Wolf Pack were tied at seven, five minutes in. For the next 35 minutes Iowa State built, sustained, and protected a lead against a flurry of Nevada comeback attempts en route to an 84-73 victory.

In the 4/13 matchup, Purdue held off a pesky Vermont squad and was able to pull away in the second half behind 21 points from Vincent Edwards and a 16 and 14 effort from Biggie Swanigan. The Purdue Boilermakers downed the Vermont Catamounts 80-70.

Matchups and Players to Watch

I couldn’t do this section without mentioning Purdue’s bigs. It starts with the 6’9” Swanigan, but 7’0” Isaac Haas and 6’8” Vincent Edwards will certainly cause ISU fits in the post as well. Those three may very well be Purdue’s best three players, but Matt Painter’s squad has thrived when only two are on the court at the same time. Iowa State would be best served running in transition at every opportunity. If Purdue is allowed to play sustained minutes with Haas and Swanigan on the floor, Iowa State has not pushed the tempo enough. We saw Solomon Young struggle a bit defensively early on Thursday against Cameron Oliver and Jordan Caroline, so hopefully he got the nerves out because the Cyclones will need him in a big way in this matchup.

Iowa State’s guards will have to carry them if they’re going to upset the Boilermakers. Monte Morris will be the best guard on the floor and he should be able to get wherever he wants offensively. It’s imperative that he doesn’t just settle for bad shots because if Iowa State is able to run in transition and run their halfcourt offense efficiently they’ll be able to get good looks. Vermont was getting good looks on the perimeter which is how they were able to hang around for so long.

It sounds really simple, but Iowa State simply has to make shots. The Cyclones must space the floor, knock down open looks, penetrate the gaps and finish through contact. Defensively they’ll have to trap the post early and often because Purdue’s bigs are not great passers. They’re capable, but any time you can get the ball out of their hands is a win for ISU defensively.

Iowa State most certainly will be outrebounded, so they must focus on getting to every 50/50 ball and forcing live ball turnovers to run in transition. If Darrell Bowie and Deonte Burton can continue to play above the rim and bigger than their size, I like Iowa State’s chances. If the Cyclones shrink and settle, they’re going to struggle.

A Word and a GIF Summary

Today’s Word: Underdogs

From here on out in the NCAA Tournament, Iowa State will be the underdog in each matchup (barring Kansas getting upset). These guys seem to thrive of being doubted and slighted however minimal it may seem. Iowa State is 11-2 straight up and 10-3 against the spread in their last 13 games including a cool 5-1 straight up and against the spread in the underdog role in that time. Let’s hope they continue to cherish the underdog role.

Today’s GIF:

Pick 3

  1. Swanigan goes for 20-20
  2. Iowa State shoots 25+ 3’s
  3. Iowa State gets 10+ steals

#5 Iowa State - 77; #4 Purdue - 74

Game Notes

Game Time: Saturday, March 18th, approx. 8:40 p.m. CST

Line Open: Purdue (-1); O/U (151.5)

The Foe: Hammer and Rails

TV/Webcast: TBS

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft) Game Notes: Unavailable