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Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Alabama

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The food will be plentiful and so will awkward family conversations.

NCAA Basketball: Battle 4 Atlantis-Alabama at North Carolina Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Thanksgiving and the Iowa State Men’s Basketball team is presented another opportunity to get better. The Cyclones came up short yesterday against Michigan, and now will take on Alabama after their loss to North Carolina. We wanted Bama, now we get Bama (or something like that).

Last Time Out

The Cyclones got out to a fast start, but eventually they fizzled out and when Michigan grabbed the lead. Tyrese Haliburton did his best to carry Iowa State back into the game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot-shooting Wolverine squad led by Zavier Simpson.

Haliburton would finish with a team high and career high 25 points, along with nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals. But he could never cut the Michigan lead under six points. Iowa State fell to Michigan 83-76. The Cyclones’ struggles from behind the three point line were ultimately too much to overcome.

About Alabama

Alabama fell to North Carolina last night, 76-67, in their opening game in the Bahamas. They are the 66th-rated team in the country, according to Kenpom, the Crimson Tide have been wildly inconsistent to start the year. They looked absolutely dominant to start the season with a big win over Georgia Tech, 93-65, then turned around and lost to Penn. Alabama turned it around, dismantling Florida Atlantic, 78-59, then gave up 93 points to Rhode Island.

Alabama is shooting 44% percent from the field, but struggling from behind the arc. Sounds familiar. They also average over 20 turnovers a game, one of the worst marks in all of college basketball, and something Iowa State will have to be all over tonight.

Opponent Player To Watch

Kira Lewis Jr. has been the go-to guy for the Crimson Tide. The sophomore guard is averaging 21 points per game and his season high of 30 came in the loss to Penn. Last night against North Carolina, he scored 20 points on 39% shooting from the floor. Thankfully, Iowa State doesn’t have much of a challenge guarding the opposing teams playmaking guards. Tyrese Haliburton more than likely will draw the assignment on this one, and his length should give Lewis some fits.

What Will Happen

Tyrese Haliburton is going to have to be the scorer each and every game like he was yesterday. Until some of these other guys can start to knock down shots, the Cyclones are going to need that scoring. Today is no different.

If Kira Lewis Jr and Jalen Shackelford get it going together, it will be a long game for the Cyclones. But, as II mentioned before, I don’t know which Alabama team we are going to get. These tournaments always have a lot of variability, having back to back games and being early in the season. If Iowa State shoots like they did yesterday, it won’t be good, but I have no reason to believe the shooting woes will go away today. Bama takes this one, but close. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Alabama- 78

Iowa State- 74

Pick Three

1- Tyrese Haliburton scores 20 and notches a double double.

2- Caleb Grill expands his minutes from yesterday

3- Iowa State shoots below 30% from deep

Game Notes

The Matchup: Iowa State (3-2) vs Alabama (2-3)

Where: Paradise Island, Bahamas - Imperial Arena (3,500)

When: Thursday, November 28th 5:30pm CT

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: Chris Williams (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)

TV: ESPN2