The 19 ranked Iowa State Cyclones will be facing off against the 12 ranked Kansas State Wildcats on ESPN at 1pm. First off, this game deserves that spot. These are the two biggest surprises in the Big 12, immaculately coached on both sides, being played in a great venue. K-State is a -3 favorite.
Last Time Out
Needed it. A no-nonsense home victory against a banged-up TCU squad. Mike Miles Jr. was a DNP from a high ankle sprain and has missed the last 6 games now. Eddie Lampkin played, but I think he’d even admit he’s not 100%.
The Jaz Kunc game, Kunc scored 22 points and was the only reason the Cyclones weren’t completely dreadful from 3-point range. It was also the first game Kunc started since returning from injury.
The Cyclones didn’t play a perfect game, Kalscheur and Grill both struggled offensively, Lipsey turned it over 6 times. BUT Rob Jones passed out of the post TWO TIMES, so baby-steps.
Markquis Nowell is the best player I’ve seen in person this season. He played an amazing game in Ames. Nowell might be 5’6 in high tops, but he has every move a player can have in his bag. A lethal first step, a killer crossover, and a bunch of great finishes around the rim. Not to mention, an NBA caliber step back jump shot.
Beyond Nowell, Keyontae Johnson has been another great story in college basketball. The big-body guard hadn’t played a competitive basketball game in years after collapsing on the court while playing for Florida. Johnson leads K-State in points and rebounds this year, and he had a 15-point 10 rebound double-double in the first meeting.
Some role players to keep an eye on, Ismael Massoud was 4-5 from three in game 1, and Nae’Quan Tomlin is another solid piece for the Wildcats that can finish with 10+ in any given game.
Player to Watch
I think this game goes where Markquis Nowell goes. I want Tamin Lipsey to get that assignment and play great defense. Those are invaluable minutes for a Big 12 freshman to get on the defensive side.
Lipsey had a bit of a rocky TCU game this week but played great against K-State in the first meeting, the point guard matchup will be very compelling all game.
- Iowa State commits more fouls, than team free throws attempted.
- Osun gets in early foul trouble.
- A technical foul is given out.
What Will Happen
I expect the Wildcats to lead, and the Cyclones to always be in striking distance. I think this will be a lower scoring affair, and that usually benefits the Cyclones. Nowell and Johnson will get theirs, but if the supporting cast struggles, Iowa State is going to get beat by two players.
That said, 2-3 is the goal in these last five games, if we go 3-2, that’s gravy. The Cyclones have to protect home court, any road win is just a huge plus at this point.
Something to keep in mind, the winner of this game has a great chance of playing in Des Moines in the opening round. Kansas, Kansas State, Creighton and Iowa State are all vying for a top 4 seed and the chance to play in front of a lot of home fans. If the Cyclones sweep the Wildcats, I love their chances.