If you would have asked me a month ago what the odds were that Iowa State would have entered the last regular season game with a chance for 13 conference wins, I would have told you that you couldn’t give me good enough odds to throw money on it.
Since then, all Iowa State has done is win seven of eight including wins in Lawrence and Lubbock, and wins over #9 Baylor and Oklahoma State - arguably the hottest team in America not named Iowa State. Unfathomable.
Iowa State is not the same team that West Virginia faced on January 31st. Many of the problems Iowa State faced in that game are still present, but the offense is light years better than it was then. I wrote this article on January 4th, the day the Cyclones traveled to Waco. Iowa State had the 57th most efficient offense at that point. They sit at 17th right now.
Iowa State at West Virginia by the Numbers
|Iowa State||@ West Virginia|
|Iowa State||@ West Virginia|
|Season Record||20-9 (12-5)||23-7 (11-6)|
|Home/Away||12-3 / 8-6||15-2 / 8-5|
|Series in Morgantown||2-2||2-2|
|Via Kenpom (3/4)|
|2P%||50.7% (116)||51.6% (86)|
|3P%||39.8% (13)||35.8% (137)|
|FT%||69.3% (204)||68.3% (242)|
|EFG%||54.2% (40)||52.3% (92)|
Last Time Out
Oklahoma State came to town on Tuesday for an extremely high level game of hoop, but ultimately, Iowa State was able to come out victorious on Senior Day, in a game that featured a ton of senior leadership.
Down in Waco, West Virginia struggled offensively and eventually fell short against the Bears 71-62 in a hard fought battle.
Do we really have to talk about this first matchup? West Virginia dominated the second half on their way to handing Iowa State it’s first double digit home loss in years. Yuck.
Matchups and Players to Watch
Solomon Young vs. West Virginia Bigs
Solomon Young played a whopping three minutes in the first matchup. I don’t foresee that happening in this one. We’ve seen Young struggle to defend bigs in space and Oklahoma State was able to take advantage of that a bit in the first half on Tuesday. I would expect to see Young start on Elijah Macon and Deonte Burton get the Nathan Adrian responsibility.
Monte Morris vs. Jevon Carter & Daxter Miles
Jevon Carter didn’t light up the world in Hilton, but he certainly can. However, what I’ll be looking for is how the combination of Carter and Daxter Miles defends Monte Morris. Morris was held to 8 points, 7 boards, 2 assists and a turnover in Ames, and Iowa State simply doesn’t operate at its highest level without their All-American point guard contributing. Morris must be aggressive and get the ball in his hands in critical situations. He cannot allow them to deny him the basketball.
A Word and a GIF Summary
Today’s Word: Fun
I also never thought this team would get a house money game. After losing to West Virginia, every game seemed critical coming down the stretch to secure an NCAA birth. Now the Cyclones have accomplished that and can go play on the road against a top ten team with house money. Normally I’d say “play loose”, but that’s nearly impossible against Press Virginia, but they need to not get frustrated and stagnant and continue to do what they do best. Shoot and make threes, spread the defense, and break the press to score - not to set up offense.
- Nazareth Mitrou-Long has a bounce back game a la Matt Thomas vs. Oklahoma State
- Solomon Young doesn’t post great numbers but is extremely effective
- Deonte Burton kills a rim on a transition dunk
#24 Iowa State - 71; #10 West Virginia - 77
Game Time: Friday, March 3rd, 6 p.m. CST
Line Open: West Virginia (-7.5); O/U (150.5)
The Foe: Smoking Musket
TV/Webcast: ESPN2/WatchESPN (Jon Sciambi, Mark Plansky)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio App (John Walters, Eric Heft)
Cyclones.com Game Notes: Available here