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Iowa State Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Mizzou

The Cyclones and Tigers meet in the Big12/SEC Challenge

Last Time Out

The Cyclones are coming off one of their best wins of the season, an 80-76 victory over No. 5 Kansas State. There is a lot to enjoy about this sixth win against ranked opponents. The starting five for Iowa State combined for 73 of the 80 total points. The Bonnies’ transfers had their way with Osun Osunniyi contributing 16 points and Jaren Holmes scoring 23 points and dishing out seven assists. Gabe Kalscheur also added to the mix with 19 points, including some clutch buckets late, and Tamin Lipsey stuffed his box score, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

As a team, the Cyclones shot 57.1% from the field and outrebounded the Wildcats 28-20. Though only making five threes and giving up 76 points, Iowa State was able to muscle itself to a big-time victory.

One takeaway that leads into Saturday’s game is the health of Caleb Grill. He was questionable going into Tuesday’s matchup and ended up playing 25 minutes. During the game, Grill was subbed out multiple times while grabbing at his back and looking to be in some pain. While not playing 100%, Grill was able to contribute five points and three rebounds. His status for the matchup against Missouri is still in question.

About Missouri

Coming in at 15-5, Missouri has had major success, especially considering their preseason expectations. With that said, with all due respect to Missouri their team is known as a ‘hit or miss.” They have some good wins including a 22-point win at Illinois and a home win against Arkansas in a thriller. However, they play to their competition with examples of a six-point win over Southern Indiana, a seven-point win over Penn, and only winning by seven while giving up 89 points to Southeast Missouri State. A win is a win, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

Missouri is a quick pace team and averages 83.4 points a game. They shoot 58.1% from two-point land and just 34.5% from three. A similar team Iowa State has played that goes with Missouri’s type of play is St. John’s. The Tigers are going to turnover over the ball, averaging 11.6 a game, but they are going to force them too. Missouri gives up points, but they average 11.4 steals and turn the opponents over 18.4 a game.

Opponent Player to Watch

The player to watch is Kobe Brown. The 6’8 forward is averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. The defensive strategy Iowa State goes with will be interesting, especially with the four-guard lineup they’ve been using in conference play. If Grill doesn’t play, Tre King will more than likely get the assignment in the starting lineup. Brown shoots 56.5% from the field and 43.6% from three. He is a talented player and will get his 15-point average.

Pick 3

  1. Osun Osunniyi gets a double-double
  2. Tre King plays 28+ minutes
  3. Missouri shoots worse than 58.1% from the field

What Will Happen

Besides the Kobe Brown matchup, Iowa State has the size in this game. Grill’s status and King’s play are my two headlines going into this game. Iowa State can easily rest Grill and save him for Tuesday at Texas Tech, with this SEC matchup not affecting their conference record. Does a road win move Iowa State from a three-seed to a two-seed in the long run? Who knows, but this team has won games this year that they questioned in.

Missouri’s type of play will go against them on Saturday and Iowa State will flourish on the defensive end (per usual). With or without Grill, Tre King will have his standout game on both sides of the ball. With Iowa State sports, expect disappointment and you can truly never be disappointed. Screw that, this team has the willingness to go on the road in a tough environment and win this game. Kalscheur and Holmes are playing lights out and as seniors, they know what it takes to win down the stretch.

Give me the Cyclones by a final score of 73-69.