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Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Miami

Trip to the Elite 8 is on the line in Chicago

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Milwaukee - Iowa St. vs LSU Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Last Time Out

Iowa State and Wisconsin battled it out in a Round of 32 rock fight with the Cyclones edging the Badgers by a 5 point margin. Iowa State battled with not only the Badgers but some inconsistent officiating that really put things in favor of the Wisconsin early on. Wisconsin found themselves in the bonus halfway through the first half and Iowa State seemingly could not get a foul call on Wisconsin. Nonetheless, Iowa State battled through to take a one-point lead into halftime.

Iowa State would then stretch the lead out as far as 9 in the second half. However, Wisconsin would not allow Iowa State to land the final blow. The Badgers kept battling back to keep things close but ultimately Iowa State would close out Wisconsin with tough defense. Iowa State would take the game 54-49.

About Miami

Iowa State and Miami are meeting for just the second time ever. Iowa State won the only other meeting in the semifinals of the 2016 Advocare Invitational. Deonte Burton powered Iowa State past Miami that day.

Miami is coming off wins in the first two rounds over 7 seed USC and 2 seed Auburn. The Hurricanes finished 4th in the ACC regular-season standings and lost to Duke in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.

Miami is ranked 37th according to KenPom and according to the analysis done by KenPom this game is going to be a battle of two polar opposites. Miami boasts the 18th adjusted offense while Iowa State brings in the nation’s 5th best defense. Miami struggles on the defensive end of the floor with 121st adjusted defense (141st prior to the Auburn game) while Iowa State sits at 160th.

Miami ranks sixth nationally in turnovers committed with 9.4 turnovers per game. Iowa State turns teams over 18 times a game and the Cyclones have already faced two of the top five teams nationally in turnovers per game in Wisconsin (1st, 17 TOs forced) and Iowa (4th, 12 TOs forced).

Defensively, Miami forces turnovers at a top-60 in the country rate, but struggles to turn teams over without generating steals as their non-steal turnover % is 329th. Teams generally have success shooting the ball against the Hurricanes as Miami gives up a preposterous 317th best FG % at 46%. Teams also generally have no problem generating ball movement against Miami’s defense. Their opponents average 15 assists per game against the Hurricanes, right in line with what Iowa State averages on offense.

Opponent Players To Watch

Miami has three guards that really get after it on the offensive end of the floor and can score at a high rate. Kameron McGusty (17.5 ppg), Isaiah Wong (15.5 ppg) and Charlie Moore (12.8 ppg). The trio combined for 46 of Miami’s points against Auburn and really put pressure on the Auburn defense all night which ranked 8th in the country according to KenPom. Kameron McGusty, in particular, is a name Iowa State fans may be familiar with. McGusty transferred from Oklahoma to Miami where he played in 28 games in 2020 to start his Hurricane career. McGusty boasts Miami’s highest individual usage rate and can light it up from deep at a 35% clip. Wong and Moore are also threats to shoot from 3-point land, though Wong (30%) trails slightly behind Moore (37%).

Pick Three

Izaiah Brockington scores 16 or more points

Miami scores 72 points

Iowa State forces 15 turnovers

What Will Happen

KenPom predicts a 68-67 Iowa State victory with the Cyclones’ defense being the primary reason for advancing to the Elite Eight. Ultimately, Iowa State will have to contend with the best offense they’ve seen so far in the tournament. Unlike Wisconsin, Miami offers a different set of problems for Iowa State to deal with. Their guards provide a balanced attack and their 53% effective field goal percentage suggests a team that can score with efficiency.

From a tempo-standpoint, Miami boasts the 148th quickest tempo, which is a similar speed to Iowa State’s Big 12 opponent Oklahoma State. A track meet, this will not be.

Ultimately, I think this game hinges on Iowa State’s ability to turn Miami over on offense, and what kind of scoring performances the Cyclones get from Tyrese Hunter, Gabe Kalscheur, and Izaiah Brockington. If Iowa State can jump on Miami early and force a few turnovers, I like the Cyclones. If Miami takes care of the ball and is able to hold Iowa State under 60 points, I like the Hurricanes.

Miami - 62

Iowa State - 59