We’re finally here. The Steven Leath Memorial Fun Run Basketball Game for the Cure. This is going to be a tough one, as Iowa State goes on the road for the third straight year in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
Last Time Out
Iowa State got the win over Oklahoma State 89-82 in a bounce-back win after a couple ugly losses to Texas Tech and Baylor. Rasir Bolton got things started for Iowa State, scoring the first 9 points of the game on three buckets from distance . He would finish the game with 21 total points on 4-6 shooting from deep. Solomon Young was the story of the night, though, posting probably the best game of his career to date. Young scored a team high 27 points and tacked on 8 rebounds to go with it. Tyrese Haliburton had a quiet 20 points as well, as all the attention seemed to be on Solomon Young.
The Auburn Tigers are one of the better teams in all of college basketball. Currently they are ranked 16th in the nation after a two game losing streak happened last week when they took two loses to Alabama (ouch, Roll Tide) and Florida. They got back on track this week with an 80-67 win over South Carolina. This will be one of the toughest games Iowa State will play in, coming in a desperate time in the Cyclones’ season.
Auburn has not lost at home this season, and are the 27th overall team in the nation according to KenPom. They rank in top 40 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, making them one of the more balanced teams in college basketball.
One area of concern I have for Iowa State is rebounding against this Auburn team. The Tigers are ranked in the top 25 in rebounds per game and they get an offensive rebound on 35% of their missed shots. Aside from their high ranking, what makes their rebounding even more impressive is that they only have one player on the entire team over 6’7”, which means their guards crash hard to the glass, much like we see with Baylor. George Conditt and Solomon Young are going to be huge in keeping Auburn off the offensive glass if they want to have a chance in this one.
Auburn Player To Watch
Samir Doughty is the leader in the clubhouse, averaging around 14 points per game for Bruce Pearl’s squad. He scored 11 against South Carolina, but struggled in their two previous games that resulted in losses. If Iowa State can slow him down, they can stay in this one. Another one to watch will be Devan Cambridge, who came off the bench against South Carolina to score 26 points. Confidence will be an all time high for him and Iowa State will need to be on the look out when he comes into the game. He’s not normally a volume scorer but confidence is a deadly weapon.
What Will Happen
Iowa State has been struggling this season to find a groove. We’ve seen them play really well at times and then go in the direct opposite way just as fast. If Iowa State wants to make a run and get into the NCAA Tournament as a lower seed, the wins needs to start coming fast and resume boosting wins need to pile up. This is one of those games. What wins games on the road is great shooting and rebounding a lot of the times. Iowa State hasn't done that consistently enough this season to give me much hope in this one. Unfortunately, Auburn takes this one and the frustrations of this season continue to stay loud.
Iowa State- 70
1-Solomon Young does not have a repeat performance
2- Caleb Grill finally drills a 3 point shot
3- Tyrese Haliburton notches a double-double
The Matchup: Iowa State (9-9, 2-4 Big 12) vs. No. 16 Auburn (16-2, 4-2 Big 12)
Where: Auburn, Ala. - Auburn Arena (9,121)
When: Saturday, Jan. 25, 11 a.m. (CST)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)
TV: ESPNU Talent: Rich Hollenberg (PxP), Dan Dakich (Analyst)
Sirius/XM/Internet: NA/380/970 (internet)
Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com