After a very forgettable 96-73 loss to the Horned Frogs Wednesday night, the Cyclones return home to face the the #8 Red Raiders in Hilton Coliseum.
Big 12 play has not treated the Cyclones well thus far, with close losses and their lone Big 12 win sandwiched between blowout losses to Kansas State and TCU.
For the most part, the offense has not been to blame for their 1-5 record in league play. And while the defense has been suspect at times, many feel that the finger cannot be pointed in this direction either.
Simply put, the root of all the Cyclones Big 12 woes comes down to one single, indefensible, unpreventable factor: Below average three-point shooters going off for career highs against the Cyclones.
As any die-hard Cyclone fan would tell you, this is simply not a new issue. The likes of Willie Warren, Travis Releford, and Toddrick Gotcher absolutely went off from three point land on various occasions, and we’ve seen a new host of opposing players carry on this long-standing tradition this season.
First, there was Ronshad Shabazz and really just the entire Appalachian State basketball team in general. Though the Cyclones managed to win that game, this Sun Belt team looked more like Appalachian “Golden State”.
To start conference play Kansas State’s Dean Wade slaughtered the Cyclones from three-point range. While Wade is a near 40% shooter from distance, he only attempts about 2 three’s per game. He, of course, went 6-8 against Iowa State.
This was followed up by Dylan Osetkowski, a career 30% shooter from deep, going 7-13 from three-point land. And against Kansas, Malik Newman scored 27 points (averaging 10 PPG) shooting 39% from distance on the evening.
In Fort Worth on Wednesday it was JD Miller, a 31% three-point shooter averaging around 2 attempts per game, going off and hitting 5-6 three-pointers. TCU, as they do, wound up shooting 48% from three in the contest.
When asked about this phenomenon, Steve Prohm had this to say: “Really, it’s quite bad. We haven’t had an answer to this problem all season. Defensively, we like to let other teams find their offensive identity, and that starts with some no-name guy shooting us out of the gym. At this point, we can’t stop it from happening, we just have to hope we can contain it.”
Which Red Raider will go off and have a career evening from three-point land on Saturday? While Steve Prohm noted that it really could be anyone, the staff here at WRNL decided to dive headlong into the problem and give you a few predictions.
Justin Gray - 25.0 3P%
Gray is easily the most-likely Red Raider to put on a show from deep. The senior wing player averages less than one attempt per game, and shoots at a very pedestrian 25%. Naturally, he is the player Cyclone fans should fear the most, and he will likely draw consistent double teams on the perimeter and maybe even a box-and-one defense at times.
Keenan Evans - 29.9 3P%
Evans, who has been at Texas Tech for what seems like an eternity, is a prime candidate to torture the Cyclones from deep. While he may average more three-point takes than the usual suspect would (4.3), his low percentage makes him a huge threat defensively.
Toddrick Gotcher - 56% all-time against ISU, probably
I lied earlier when I said Justin Gray was the Red raider most-likely to bury the Cyclones alive from deep. That person is still Toddrick Gotcher. And probably will be forever. Even though he graduated two years ago. He is the embodiment of the “career 30% shooter destroying Iowa State” trend. In his senior season, he made approximately 0 three-point attempts against the Cyclones. Naturally, the season prior, he went 9-22, including a 17 point effort in a home upset of then #9 Iowa State.
Regardless of who decides to play out of their damn mind tomorrow afternoon, the Cyclones won’t be ready for them.
Death. Taxes. “_______ ________”, a career 26% three-point shooter, goes 5-9 from deep against Iowa State.