Baylor has gotten the best of Iowa State this season, and now the Cyclones are looking to climb out of a losing streak and exact some revenge on the Bears. The Big 12 Tournament is sure to produce some fireworks and hopefully Iowa State can find themselves right in the middle of it all. Let’s take a look at the matchup with Baylor.
Last Time Out
Iowa State was looking for some sort of momentum to head into the Big 12 Tournament with. They played tough on Saturday, but ultimately Texas Tech had just a bit more to take out Iowa State at home, 80-73.
Iowa State focused a lot on chemistry between the West Virginia and Texas Tech games. Steve Prohm had meetings with each of the players, the players had team meetings and just had to get things going the right way.
Lindell Wigginton and Marial Shayok each scored 17 points for the Cyclones as they moved to 20-11 on the season. Cameron Lard did not play in the loss.
Baylor went on the road to Kansas in their finale. The Baylor offense just could not get anything going on Saturday afternoon. They finished 35.1% from the field and shot 6-31 from three-point territory. Jared Butler was one of two Baylor players in double-figures in this one as he finished the game with 31 points.
Butler and Makai Mason have been a significant percentage of the Baylor offense for most of the season, and are the only two Bears scoring in double figures per game. Combined, they average 26 points per contest. Baylor is the second highest scoring team in the conference behind Iowa State, averaging 72.7 points per game, and led the conference in three-point shooting at 37.3%.
Offensively, Baylor is the 30th ranked adjusted offense in the country according to KenPom, but their tempo is one the slowest in the entire country. That tempo has allowed them to get an effective field goal percentage around 51%. Iowa State was very successful in the first meeting in Waco, getting Baylor sped up and committing turnovers. Similar circumstances will be needed on Thursday morning.
Defensively, Baylor sits at 63rd in the country in adjusted defense, and they’re really good at making teams use quite a bit of the shot clock. That’s something Iowa State can struggle to do if they are forced to, especially against a zone as of late.
Opponent Player To Watch
Makai Mason is where I’m going this go around. The senior guard has been nursing a foot injury for most of the second half of the season, didn’t play this past weekend in the season finale, and even was questionable up until Wednesday morning, but will be suiting up on Thursday. Mason is their lethal weapon from beyond the arc and Iowa State can get a little relaxed on guard three point shooters. The Cyclones will have a lot of things to focus on on Thursday morning,but if they can keep Mason from getting hot from behind the arc it will be one less things to worry about, and they can focus on, let’s say, rebounding against Baylor.
What Will Happen
The past few weeks have been hard on the coaches, the team, and the fans. I don’t blame anyone if they don’t have any confidence in this game. After all, Baylor has had our number this season. Really, there is no reason to pick Iowa State in this one. I, on the other hand am a little bit more confident for some reason. I firmly believe it’s hard to beat the same team three times in one season, and it’s not like Baylor absolutely dominated Iowa State in the scoring column after each of their meetings. Just pretend rebounding margin isn’t a thing and it makes this whole thing easier, trust me.
The Cyclones haven’t been very good against a zone all year (except the Ole Miss game), and they’re very uncomfortable when teams slow them down and make them run their offense for an entire possession. All things Baylor likes to force you to do. That being said, Iowa State will certainly get outrebounded in this, but the goal here will be to limit them on the offensive glass and eliminate at least half of their opportunities at second chance points. Couple this with free flowing offense and great shooting, I think the Cyclones move on in this one.
The Pick: Iowa State-76 Baylor-70
1- Iowa State gets outrebounded, but not as bad as they were in Ames
2- Lindell Wigginton shines
3- Cameron Lard plays and contributes
The Matchup: Iowa State (20-11, 9-9 Big 12) vs. Baylor (19-12, 10-8 Big 12)
Where: Kansas City, Mo. - Sprint Center (18,972)
When: Thursday, March 14, 11:30 a.m. (CST)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)
TV: ESPN2 Talent: Bob Wischusen (PxP), Fran Fraschilla (Analyst); Holly Rowe (reporter)
Sirius/XM/Internet: 135/199/953 (internet)
Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com