The Cyclones are struggling. Everyone knows it. Thankfully, their season isn’t done and they have time to correct things and make a run. Texas Tech comes to town looking to wrap up a Big 12 Championship season. Let’s dive in.
Last Time Out
It was ugly. The Cyclones were in West Virginia and things did not end well. Iowa State started off the game decently, but they eventually fell apart and the Moutaineers took it to Iowa State and won 90-75, Iowa State’s second double digit loss in a row.
Lindell Wigginton led the way for Iowa State with 17 points on the night. Tyrese Hailburton added in 12 and Talen Horton Tucker added in 12. Afterwards, Steve Prohm shed light on why Marial Shayok missed the game, calling it a freak incident after a physical practice. The Cyclones were visibly disconnected for most of the game, often looking lost on either of the end of the floor, and even visibly fought on the court in the form of Michael Jacobson chewing out Talen Horton-Tucker for not participating in a team huddle. Needless to say, the off-court issues we’ve been hearing about over the last few weeks reared the ugly heads.
About Texas Tech
The Texas Tech Red Raiders won their 8th straight game and improved to 25-5 on the season after defeating Texas 70-51 on Monday. The Red Raiders dominated Texas on both ends of the floor and had no issues snagging a win. Texas Tech shot 50% from the field while holding Texas to just 30% shooting from the floor and 22% shooting from beyond the arc.
On the season, Texas Tech is averaging 73 points a game on 47% shooting from the field. The Red Raiders are averaging 7 three-pointers per game on 37% shooting from beyond the arc. KenPom ranks the Red Raiders as the 38th adjusted offense in the country while being methodical on the offensive end, ranking 256th in the country in tempo.
Defensively, Kenpom ranks Texas Tech as the #1 adjusted team in the country. The Cyclones have been turning the ball over more frequently of late, so Tech and their 11th best defensive turnover rate in the country will certainly look to attack and create transition opportunities.
Offensively, they’re efficient, but they can degrade quickly if they aren’t able to find open threes and they rely on Culver to bully his way to the bucket on isolations. If Iowa State is sound on their responsibilities and essentially force Culver to win the game on his own, they’ll have a shot. However, if the Cyclones continue to over help on drives to the basket like they have all season, Culver will have plenty of opportunities to drive and kick to open shooters. Really, denying Culver is probably just the best thing to do.
Opponent Player To Watch
Jarrett Culver is the easy pick on this one. The sophomore guard is the best player on the Red Raiders, and he likes to show up in big moments. Against Kansas a few games back, Culver dropped 26 points in a destruction of the Jayhawks. Culver is slated in many mock drafts to be a top pick in this year’s NBA draft, and if Iowa State is going to want any chance of winning this game, they will absolutely have to limit Culver’s touches and opportunities all game long.
What Will Happen
Until the Cyclones can prove to put together a competent basketball game, I have zero faith in picking them. It doesn’t help that Texas Tech may be one of the hottest teams in the entire country that happens to be playing for a conference title at the same time.
If Marial Shayok is out again, I don’t see Iowa State winning this game. If the Clones can come out full strength, this may be a battle, but I will assume that Shayok is out for right now. Give me Texas Tech in this one based on how they’re playing and the current state of this Iowa State team. Red Raiders hand Iowa State another home loss on the season.
The Pick: Texas Tech-78 Iowa State-70
1- Body language is the top Twitter topic
2- Lindell Wigginton leads Iowa State in scoring
3- George Conditt has three blocks
The Matchup: Iowa State (20-10, 9-8 Big 12) vs. No. 8 Texas Tech (25-5, 13-4 Big 12)
Where: Ames, Iowa - Hilton Coliseum (14,384)
When: Saturday, March 9, 1 p.m. (CST)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn RadioTalent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)
TV: ESPNewsTalent: Chuckie Kempf (PxP), Bryndon Manzer (Analyst)
Sirius/XM/Internet: 108/199/953 (internet)
Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com