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Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Kansas State

A must-win as Iowa State makes a push for the tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Cyclones’ Last Time Out

Iowa State continued its recent slide with a loss in Morgantown to West Virginia by a score of 79-63. The Mountaineers owned virtually the entire game, racing out to an early double-digit lead and never really threatening to lose it.

Tyrese Hunter lead the scoring for Iowa State with a career-high 22 points, but finished just 2-of-8 on three-point attempts and ended the game with six turnovers to his four assists. Izaiah Brockington did finish in double figures, but was a non-factor for most of the game.

Kansas State’s Last Time Out

The Wildcats’ ended a two-game winning streak with a 15-point loss to Baylor in Manhattan. Mike Smith and Nigel Pack were essentially Kansas State’s entire offense, scoring 17 and 31 points, respectively while combining to take well over half of the entire team’s shots.

Player to Watch

Nijel Pack is the unquestioned leader of the K-State scoring, shooting 44% from three with by far the most attempts on the team, He’s the type of outside shooter that has really hurt Iowa State in the past, and if they aren’t quick to rotate on him, he can do some significant damage.

Pick 3

  1. Tyrese Hunter has 15+ points, but 6+ turnovers.
  2. Kansas State shoots at least twice as many free throws as Iowa State.
  3. Izaiah Brockington finishes with a double-double.

What Will Happen

The Cyclones’ confidence has taken some shots recently with a few big losses on the road amid a grotesque offensive slump. Nothing seems to work on offense for Iowa State unless they sell out on defense a bit to free up some stuff in transition. For whatever reason, the offensive fluidity we saw in the first chunk of the season seems to have disappeared. It’s hard to say exactly what’s gone wrong, but mid-season fatigue could be playing a role.

So what’s the perfect antidote for a team that’s tired and got their butt-kicked on the road? How about a Saturday home game after a few days off in front of a raucous crowd against a team that has plenty of their own offensive struggles.

If the Cyclones are able to cause some chaos on the defensive end and force a few turnovers, they’ve got a good shot to get back in the win column. K-State is essentially a less extreme version of Iowa State, but not quite as good defensively and not quite as bad offensively. Give me the superior defensive team with the potential to solid on offense if shots go in.

Iowa State - 63

Kansas State - 57