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Iowa State Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talking TCU Part 2

Can the Cyclones complete the series sweep against the Horned Frogs?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 Iowa State (16-8, 7-5) takes on No. 22 TCU (17-8, 6-6) tonight in Hilton Coliseum. This game will be on ESPNU at 8:00. Iowa State’s Jaren Holmes is leading the Cyclones in scoring 13.5 points per game and is shooting 40.8% from the field. Holmes shot 66.7 % from three last time Iowa State played TCU.

According to ESPN Analytics, Iowa State has a 68% chance of winning tonight’s game. TCU is 4.5 point underdog.

Both teams will be playing desperate basketball as both teams are coming into this game with 1-4 records over their last five games. Iowa State is on a two-game losing streak, while TCU is on a three-game losing streak.

Last Time Out

As stated before, both teams are coming off of tough losses. Iowa State lost to Oklahoma State 64-56 on Saturday in Hilton. Tamin Lipsey had 12 points and six rebounds, and Jaz Kunc had 13 points off the bench in the loss.

Iowa State dropped eight spots in the AP Poll after a rough week of basketball for the Cyclones, where they would go 0-2 on the week. The loss on Saturday was Iowa State’s first home loss of the season. This was, hands down, the most adverse week of the season, and tonight’s game will tell us a lot about this team.

TCU lost a tough one at home on Saturday to No. 14 Baylor, 72-68. TCU’s Damion Baugh had 16 points in the loss. Baugh shot 50% from the field.

Game Objectives

Iowa State has been very open this week about controlling what they can control in order to win games. Here are three things they can and NEED to control tonight:

Free Throws: On Saturday, Iowa State shot an inexcusable 9-19 (47.4%) from the free throw line. This alone essentially lost them the game. This stat is brutal, especially with Iowa State playing on their home floor. One can only hope TJ made the guys stay late and get extra reps in Hilton before tonight’s matchup.

The Cyclones have to gain complete control of their composure from the stripe. This is an aspect of the game that is in full control of the players. They have to be mentally tough enough to block out everything else in the game and knock down their free throws if they want to win a game like tonight.

50/50 balls: For a team that prides itself on getting to every loose ball, Iowa State needs to be extra prideful tonight. As stated earlier, both teams will be playing desperate basketball tonight. Iowa State needs to be the more desperate team.

On Saturday, there were a few possession where Iowa State would commit a turnover and turn the ball right back over. Iowa State needs to take advantage of every turnover they commit and actually capitalize on the possession by scoring the ball. That is when this team is at its best, and it is the difference most of the time between a win and a loss.

Rebound/TO ratio: Against Oklahoma State, Iowa State won the turnover battle 18-12 but tied the Cowboys in rebounds at 34. I can live with the rebound numbers, but winning a game while committing 12 turnovers is still challenging. If Iowa State can limit the number of turnovers to single digits, I see the odds of this game playing a lot more in their favor.

These will all come down to if Iowa State is the mentally tougher team. They preached about it all week, but talk is cheap. It’s time to pay the piper.

TCU wants to win tonight’s game just as severely as the Cyclones, considering they lost on a heartbreak game-winner 69-67 in Fort Worth, thanks to Gabe Kalscheur back in January. Iowa State also couldn’t be getting TCU at a better time; when a team is coming into your house off a three-game losing kick them while they’re down. No mercy should be shown tonight.

About TCU

TCU is currently in 7th place in Big 12 play and has spent the past 11 straight weeks ranked in the AP poll. This is a testament to how strong league play has been this year in the Big 12.

TCU has been without starters Mike Miles and Eddie Lampkin. Whether or not they will play against Iowa State is still up in the air. TCU’s head coach Jamie Dixon said Mike Miles is “progressing”.

Dixon stated pain tolerance is the main factor for both Miles and Lampkin’s status. The decision to play will be “their call”. Miles is averaging 18.1 points a game for the Horned Frogs this season.

TJ Otzelberger praised TCU on their productivity in transition. “They’re old, they’re experienced, they’re tough physically,” said Otzelberger.

TCU even with guys out, has done a great job getting the ball out in transition for early baskets. TJ also stated how Damion Baugh has made a ton of plays for other guys in transition, in Miles’s absence.

TCU also has a lot of success on the offensive glass due to their physicality. This is due to a lot of their team having a lot of college basketball experience under their belt.

Opponent Player to Watch:

TCU’s Damion Baugh is leading his squad in scoring with 13.2 points per game and had 17 points last time TCU played Iowa State. Baugh also shot 50% from three that game.

Final Score Predictions:

This game will be a rock fight. Plain and simple. However, I think the edge Hilton gives Iowa State’s players will get them over the hump and erase this two-game skid. I’m taking Iowa State over TCU, 75-70. I think Jaz Kunc will start in place of either Gabe Kalscheur or Caleb Grill.

No. 19 Iowa State vs. No. 22 TCU tips off tonight at @8:00 (ESPNU).