The Iowa State men are set to take the court for the final time in the 2010s for the non-conference season finale against the Florida A&M Rattlers of the MEAC. The Cyclones haven’t played in 9 days and are officially back from finals. Will they ease their way back in or will the rest allow them time to come out sharp? Let’s take a look at the matchup.
Last Time Out
Iowa State easily handled the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastadons 89-59 way back on December 22nd. Tyrese Haliburton lead the way with 22 points on 8-12 shooting, 6 made 3s, and 6 assists. Solomon Young had 15 points on 7-8 shooting. 11 players scored, including some sharpshooting from Terrence Lewis off the bench (3-4 from 3). Overall, the Cyclones made 14 3s and shot 55 percent from the field with 26 assists on 35 field goals.
About Florida A&M
The Rattlers are 1-9 on the season. They have not yet played a home game, and as is often the case with HBCU schools, have played a series of power conference teams already. Their non-conference schedule ranks 15th in the country, per Kenpom. They are coming off their first win of the season against Seattle on December 21st. They currently rank #323 of 353 on Kenpom with the 337th ranked offense. They’ve been a little better defensively, ranking 245th. They only average 9 assists per game as a team and shoot 27% from 3 point range.
Florida A&M does have 1 common opponent with Iowa State, losing 87-51 against Seton Hall on November 23rd. They also played Kansas State on December 2nd and lost 76-58.
Opponent Players To Watch
MJ Randolph is the leading scorer for the Rattlers with 11.4 points per game. He was named MEAC player of the week last week after scoring 21 points against Washington State and 16 points with 8 rebounds in the team’s first win of the season against Seattle.
Rod Melton Jr. is the other double figure scorer, and he had 17 points to lead the way against Seattle.
Evins Desir is a 6’8” 300 pound center pictured above. He leads the team in rebounding but didn’t play against Seattle, so we may or may not see him in action.
This team has really struggled to score, but perhaps some of that can be chalked up to the tough schedule they’ve played. Iowa State will have to be sharp defensively and not take things lightly.
What Will Happen
After a tough end to the academic semester, we finally got to see Iowa State show off how good they can be when they make jump shots (which makes sense!). They should find plenty of open shots again in this game. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team come out flat until after the first couple of media timeouts. Florida A&M should have lots of trouble scoring themselves, so while it may not look good early, Iowa State should dominate the final 10 minutes of the first half to build a sizeable lead.
With Big 12 play beginning over the weekend, perhaps we’ll see Steve Prohm experiment with lineup combinations or give someone like Terrence Lewis some run with the regular rotation after his strong recent shooting. There will probably be a stretch where Florida A&M goes on an inexplicable 10-0 run. In the end, Iowa State should win comfortably with the walk-ons getting a chance to show off in front of the Hilton faithful.
Iowa State - 85
FAMU - 57
1- Iowa State leads by 20 at halftime.
2- Tyrese Haliburton has 10+ assists.
3- Terrence Lewis scores double figures off the bench.
The Matchup: Iowa State (7-4, 0-0 Big 12) vs. Florida A&M (1-9, 0-0 MEAC)
Where: Ames, Iowa - Hilton Coliseum (14,384)
When: Tuesday, December 31st, 2019; Tip 6:00pm
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)
Betting Lines: Iowa State -27, O/U 146 (William Hill)
Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com