Iowa State played their most complete game all season against OU. Oklahoma was the annual, “Hilton just feels different without a student section” conference game which usually ends badly for State. The Cyclones won by 13, but at time were up 25-30 points.
Scott Drew, the Cyclone killer, has had Iowa State’s number for years, and has assembled his best team since the Isaiah Austin years. Baylor is coming off a rout in Phog Allen, handing their Jayhawks their first loss in Lawrence since 2017. Donovan Jackson sends his regards.
Last Time Out
In true Iowa State fashion, the Cyclones looked absolutely incredible after weeks of under performing. Iowa State shot 47.8% from the field, and an uncharacteristic 37.5% from 3. Rasir Bolton, Tre Jackson, and Tyrese Halliburton combined for ten threes, shooting a combined 10-19.
The talk going into the game was a potential lineup change, with Conditt startin in place of Solomon Young, and the remaining starters staying the same. Conditt had 8 points and 4 rebounds in his starting debut, and the Cyclones had the obvious upper hand in rebounding all game. Oklahoma favors a small ball lineup where their tallest player roams the three point line, but Iowa State rarely wins the battle of the boards against conference opponents.
It’s easy to say that Iowa State looked a lot better because shots that often haven’t gone in this year went in, but that over-simplifies how good the Cyclones were last Saturday. The offense rarely looked stagnant, they were able to play a fast-paced, transition-heavy game, and the bench looked as good as it has all year.
Brady Manek has one of the quickest releases you’ll find in college, and if this team had a dominant big, Krueger would have a tournament team. But until the Sooners can rebound, they’re going to struggle against the top half of the Big 12.
Remember when I said Kansas was the best team in the country? I lied. Baylor has wins against two of the top five teams in mid-January. How are they not ranked number one? I have no idea. Before crushing Kansas, the Bears beat Butler in a close one at Waco. Butler has been one of the biggest surprises this year, but the Bulldogs have proven themselves to be the team to beat in the Big East.
Beyond that, Baylor has one early season hiccup to Washington, ranked 44 in KenPom. Besides that loss, Baylor has beaten everything put in front of them, and won convincingly more often than not. Baylor is only projected to lose one game this year, and it’s their last Big 12 game of the season at West Virginia.
Baylor has the best backcourt in the Big 12, and possibly the country with Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell leading the Bears in scoring. Beyond that, Freddie Gillespie and Mark Vital round out the starting five as the big men for the Bears.
This is team that is more than comfortable behind the 3 point line, and is able to lockdown the lane on defense. Even more concerning, they’re a top 10 offensive rebounding team in the country. The Bears are also ranked 5th in defensive efficiency.
Player to Watch
This game is on ESPN+ again (you can sign up here) Jared Butler has a legitimate shot to be the Big 12 player of the year. He’s a sophomore, and had a good freshman season as well. Butler has become the guy for the Baylor Bears averaging 16 points along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
Butler is an excellent shooter, he’s almost a sure thing from the charity stripe shooting close to 90%. The sophomore also shoots 40% from the 3-point line. He can score in bunches, and could take Baylor to a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament come March.
What Will Happen
Think Kansas game, but the team is better. If Iowa State plays as poorly as they did against Kansas, the Cyclones will get blown out, this time on the road. Even if the Cyclones play their best game, I just don’t see them upsetting a red hot team that doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses. Iowa State hasn’t won in Waco since the days of Scott Christopherson, and Tyrus McGee, and I don’t expect that to change this year.
Iowa State- 59
- Iowa State shoots below 30% as a team from the 3 point line
- Baylor out-rebounds Iowa State by a margin of 10
- Jared Butler gets at least 20 points
The Matchup: Iowa State (8-7, 1-2 Big 12) vs. Baylor (13-1, 3-0 Big 12)
Where: Ferrell Center- Waco, TX (10,284)
When: Wednesday, January 15, 2020; Tip 7:00pm
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)
Betting Lines: Baylor -9.5
Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com