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Iowa State Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Baylor pt. 2

A Newly Renovated Iowa State Team Heads to Magnolia Network University

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Last Time Out

Monday seems like a century ago. Iowa State lost a bizarre game to West Virginia at home. Jaz Kunc getting hit in the face resulted in a three-point swing to the Mountaineers, and West Virginia stole one late. The Cyclones inability to close out games down the stretch has been very apparent in this rough stretch.

On Wednesday, Caleb Grill was dismissed from the team. Coach Otzelberger and Grill have both had time to make statements, and Otz talked to the press on Thursday. There was nothing groundbreaking from Otz, other than more context to the difficult decision that he made.

First and foremost, I hope Caleb Grill can find some clarity and closure in the coming months. That guy grew up loving the Cyclones, had some incredible games early on this season in the cardinal and gold, and is a warrior that battled through a lot of pain in the Big 12 season.

What does this mean for the Cyclones? Well, as a fan, I hope it’s addition by subtraction. Hopefully, this distraction is in the rear-view mirror and the Cyclones can go back to playing winning basketball. We should see more minutes from Watson and Ward, and I would expect more three-point attempts from across the board to try to make up for that loss in production. Worst case, and probably more realistic, the Cyclones are a bad shooting team with Grill, and worse without him. Certain lineups are going have the opposing defense sitting back in the paint and daring guys to shoot the 3.

About Baylor

Hey, people forget, we beat this team. Bad news is, this team is trending up, and we are not. The Bears are 6-2 in their last 8 and haven’t lost a Big 12 home game all season. Baylor’s backcourt is a wagon; Keyonte George, Adam Flagler, and LJ Cryer make up Baylor’s three headed dragon.

This is a jet-fueled offense powered by incredibly quick guards who can do just about anything offensively. This Baylor isn’t quite as sound on defense as their Big 12 brethren, but make no mistake, these Bears are for real.

Player to Watch

Adam Flagler kept the depleted Bears afloat in Ames on New Year’s Eve. He had 20 points and might be looking for 20+ again after Keyonte George left the Texas game with an ankle sprain. I haven’t seen any update on George, we’ll know by tomorrow morning what his status is, but if the Bears need a scoring punch, it’ll come from Flagler.

Pick 3

  1. Iowa State gets blown out.
  2. Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua gets a standing ovation checking into the game.
  3. Iowa State shoots less than 30% from 3

What Will Happen?

I don’t want to know. I’ve never felt more confident about Iowa State losing a basketball game than I am right now. A super messy week internally, on the road, the best offense in the Big 12. It could get ugly.

If you want a shred of optimism, or at least a reason to put a tinfoil hat on, Iowa State controls their own destiny on whether or not they play on Wednesday in Kansas City. If Iowa State wins, they’re in the 3-6 game against Baylor, again. If they lose, and Oklahoma State beats Texas Tech, Iowa State would be the 7 seed, playing the Sooners on Wednesday.

Final thoughts, if (when) Iowa State loses out, at worse we’re a 7-seed in the big dance. A 6-seed is secure if we get one more win, if we beat Baylor and win a game in Kansas City, I think we could get as high as a five.

We are not a bubble team, we are not even an 8-seed, our resume is way too good for that.

Iowa State @ Baylor ESPN 2 11am.