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Iowa State Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Texas Tech

The Cyclones head down to Lubbock Monday night

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Last Time Out


Iowa State fell on the road to the Missouri Tigers by a final score of 78-61 on Saturday. Down Caleb Grill, Iowa State never stood a chance in game, as Missouri literally led from start to finish. They would build a big lead and never relinquish it, shooting a scorching 46% from three point land on the way to making 14 threes.

Mizzou has been wildly inconsistent all season, with some great wins and not so good losses. They clearly needed this win, as evidenced by their loud, sold-out crowd. Iowa State did not, and they will be fine, though losing a game like this is never fun.

As Dylan wrote about on Saturday, it is truly a game to burn the tape and move on.

About Texas Tech

Texas Tech, on the surface, appears to be struggling. Their record reflects this, as they currently sit at 11-10 with an 0-8 record in league play. With the exception of their game in Ames, however, they have been in every game this season, losing to the following teams by narrow margins: @TCU by 6, vs Kansas by 3, vs OU by 5 in OT, @ Texas by 2. Their last 3 league games had not gone well, losing by 7, 10, and 15 before taking down LSU by 8 on Saturday.

Texas Tech’s KenPom ratings have been sliding all season but are still fine, coming into the game ranked 77th and 60th in both offense and defense, respectively. Their offensive metrics match Iowa State quite well, while Iowa State shows better defensively.

Injuries have also plagued Texas Tech, as they’ve had guys banged up during this stretch.

Player to Watch

Kevin Obanor and Pop Isaacs are certainly the players to watch, and I’m not sure which player concerns me the most.

Obanor is a bruising player, and the 6’8”, 235 pound senior forward is coming off of back-to-back 20+ point performances. He shoots well from deep and the charity stripe, and can be dangerous in the paint.

While Pop Isaacs didn’t play well in Ames, he is a shooter you cannot let get hot. While he can be inconsistent, he is also generally a flamethrower from deep, and can easily cash 5 treys in a game. He did not play against LSU due to an ankle injury, so one can only assume that his ankle is now fully healed and he will score 45 points tonight.

Pick 3

  1. Osun Osunniyi will score 12+ points, record 5 rebounds, and have 3 blocks
  2. The game will go UNDER 128.5
  3. Jaren Holmes is Iowa State’s leading scorer

What Will Happen

There are some interesting storylines headed into this game, as Caleb Grill is not healthy, though I’d expect him to play this evening. Coming off 5 days rest, and with 5 more rest days lingering on the horizon, this seems like a good spot for him to get 25 minutes. Texas Tech could also be without Pop Isaacs and Fardaws Aimaq, who missed the LSU game on Saturday.

If you’re looking for a place to be concerned, the three point shooting for opponents has to be up there. Iowa State’s last 3 opponents have shot 48% from deep on average, which is curious. Does Caleb Grill’s injury open things up for opposing teams from deep? Or are they on a lucky/hot streak which will eventually switch back? The Tech game should be a good litmus test, as Tech has shot as high as 61% from three (@LSU) and as low as 15% (WVU), and in general is close to their average of 35%. Kerwin Walton, who has played sparingly this season, went 5-5 after getting the start due to injury.

The statistic to watch in this game is turnovers.

Iowa State fumbled away 19 of them on Saturday, but in general takes care of the ball, and is 8th best at forcing them. Texas Tech is 50th in the country at turning the ball over, something that doomed them in Ames in the first meeting. If Caleb Grill is healthy enough to contribute, expect the Cyclones to rebound and win a big-time road game.

Give me Iowa State by a final of 63-57.