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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Baylor Pt. 2

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A road win would go a long way toward earning a postseason berth

NCAA Basketball: Baylor at Iowa State Rachel Mummey-USA TODAY Sports

Last Time Out

In a way, Wednesday’s result was the most predictable of the entire season. Considering Iowa State was without their starting point guard and going against one of the best defenses in the nation, the game was expected to be a blowout....and it was. What we didn’t expect was the Cyclones to be on the better end of a lopsided 93-77 final score.

After their second Top 15 win in the last two weeks, the Cyclones have once again shown they are capable of playing with almost any team in the nation. Now, the question is was this another flash in the pan or a sign of things to come?

About Baylor

Baylor, coming off a 98-96 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners, has fallen to last place in the Big 12. While their record is far from impressive the metrics still like this Baylor team. They enter the match-up just inside the top 50 in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.

The last time these two squads met, it quickly turned into the Lindell Wigginton show. The freshman, who was once a Scott Drew recruiting target, torched the Bears for 30 points on 5/10 shooting from behind the arc.

Iowa State assisted on 69.2% of their possessions against Baylor inside Hilton Coliseum. Nick Weiler-Babb accounted for 10 of those assists. Without the junior guard in the lineup will Iowa State be able to move the ball as effectively in the half court?

Aside from his 30 points, one of the most impressive parts of Wigginton’s game against the Bears was his defense against Manu Lecomte. Lecomte was limited to nine points on 2-12 shooting.

We saw in Ames that Iowa State has the ability to match-up well with Scott Drew’s team. Solomon Young and Cameron Lard were both able to play effectively without the need to guard a forward that can stretch the floor with much consistency.

Although Baylor has lost four of their last five since the game in Ames, this would still be a great win for Steve Prohm’s young squad and one that keeps their extremely slim hopes of a postseason berth alive.

Players to Watch

Manu Lecomte was held in check last time as previously mentioned. I don’t think Cyclone fans can expect him to shoot 2-12 again, but limiting his shots from outside where he’s shooting 40% would be a good start to earning their first road win. The senior is coming off a 29 point performance against Oklahoma where he connected on 7 three point attempts.

Jo Lual-Acuil is Baylor’s second biggest threat, especially on the defensive end, but it was Tristan Clark that Iowa State had a hard time corralling in their last meeting. Clark, just a freshman, led this team in scoring and rebounding with 16 and 15 respectively. Don’t expect Clark to go off like that again. The January meeting was Clark’s best game of the year by far.

What to Expect

Up is down, left is right and hot is cold. Just when you have this team figured out they go out and totally redeem themselves....or let you down miserably. Iowa State has yet to go on a winning streak in Big 12 play this season. After this one, the schedule yields three straight ranked opponents for the Cyclones. This game is yuuuge.

Hindsight bias is very real, but after watching Iowa State dissect the West Virginia press it appeared facing that defensive scheme was just what the doctor ordered. In a game that is sure to be played at a much slower pace how will Iowa State respond without their starting point guard?

The game is winnable, but several things will have to go Iowa State’s way. First, they simply aren’t deep enough to deal with considerable foul trouble. Second, they will need to limit Lecomte’s looks from behind the arc. Finally, they’ll need about 45 combined points out of Jackson and Wigginton.

Iowa State shows sings of promise once again, but their shots don’t fall from deep like they need to.

Baylor- 71 Iowa State- 64

Pick Three

  1. Terrence Lewis connects on his first three pointer since December 20th.
  2. Iowa State shoots less than 10 free throws
  3. Cameron Lard breaks the freshman record for blocks in a season

Game Notes

Game Time: Saturday, February 3rd, 7 PM

Line: Baylor (-8.5) O/U (142.5)

TV: ESPN2