Getting to know: Iowa State basketball
Talk about a start to the Big 12 conference slate.
No. 5 Kansas outlasted No. 23 Oklahoma, 70-63, in the conference opener. Now, the Jayhawks have to head to one of the tougher places to play in the league for the league road game when they travel to Iowa State, which is coming off a win over Oklahoma State.
Even without their best player for most of their nonconference slate, the Cyclones enter Saturday’s clash with a 11-2 record and are ranked No. 16 via KenPom.com.
“You can make a case that Iowa State has had as good a preseason as anybody (in the league),” KU coach Bill Self said. “They’re back to being healthy and Steve (Prohm) has done a great job of winning some games that were hard games. Now they have their full complement of guys and it will be a great game and atmosphere (in Ames, at Hilton Coliseum).”
Whenever these two teams meet up recently, it has been a intense battle to decide a winner. The series is tied 5-5 over the last 10 meetings with seven of those outcomes being decided by seven points or less and five by five points or fewer.
Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m.
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BREAKING DOWN IOWA STATE
No. 5 — G Lindell Wigginton | 6-2, 189, so.
Make no mistake, Wigginton is Iowa State’s most-talented player.
Wigginton has only played in three games this season after missing most of nonconference season with a left foot injury. Wigginton played 30 minutes off the bench in the Big 12 opener, scoring 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
As a freshman, Wigginton averaged 14.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest. He also added 2.7 assists per outing. If Wigginton is healthy, and that appears to be the case, the Jayhawks will have their hands full this afternoon.
No. 3 — G Marial Shayok | 6-6, 198, sr.
The Cyclones did not miss a step after Wigginton went down, mostly because of the play of Shayok.
Shayok is the Big 12’s top scorer this season, notching double figures in all 13 games. Shayok averaged 19.8 points per contest, and has scored over 20 points in six outings thus far. This season, Shayok is shooting 50 percent from the floor and has taken 188 total shots.
The transfer from Virginia became the first Cyclone since Dedric Willoughby in 1995-96 to score 200 points in the season’s first 10 games,
No. 12 — F Michael Jacobson | 6-9, 230 jr.
Jacobson is third on the team in scoring and is one of four Iowa State players averaging in double figures.
Jacobson, who transferred from Nebraska, leads the Cyclones in rebounding and is shooting 63.1 percent from the field. Jacobson has reached double figures in 11 games. His scoring average is sixth in the Big 12 this season.
Still, the jump in production at his new stop has been drastic.
At Nebraska, Jacobson averaged 5.3 points per game over two seasons. Fast forward to this year and he is third on the team averaging 14.5 points. In fact, Jacobson has a better field goal percentage, three-point percentage and is rebounding at a better clip than he was before transferring to ISU.
No. 11 — G Talen Horton-Tucker | 6-4, 233, fr.
Despite being just a freshman, Horton-Tucker has found a way to make an immediate impact.
Horton-Tucker leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring with an average of 13.6 points per game. He has dropped three different 20-point outbursts. Horton Tucker has also dished out 10 assists to one turnover over his previous two games.
In addition, Horton-Tucker leads the Cyclones with eight charges taken.
ONE THING IOWA STATE DOES WELL
The Big 12 features several strong defensive squads, but Iowa State’s identity is its offense. The Cyclones are shooting 57.9 percent on 2-point shots in their four guard lineup. According to KenPom.com, that clip is ranked 13th in all of college basketball.
ONE AREA IOWA STATE STRUGGLES
The four-guard lineup doesn’t necessarily mean the Cyclones are a legit threat from deep. Iowa State is shooting just 34.9 percent from long range, which ranks 142nd in the nation. ISU is getting just 31.6 of its point production via the 3-point shot.
MEET THE COACH
The Cyclones are coached by Steve Prohm, who is 71-43 in his fourth season at ISU and 175-72 in his eighth season overall. Iowa State is 7-0 at Hilton Coliseum this season with a +28.3 scoring margin on it home floor.
Iowa State is a 1-point favorite, so this game is essentially a toss-up. It remains to be seen if the KU newcomers can handle the atmosphere in Hilton Coliseum. But unless the Cyclones shoot well from deep, which they haven’t really done, I don’t see how they lose to the Jayhawks. And ISU doesn’t have anyone that can stop Udoka Azubuike.
My prediction: Kansas 76, Iowa State 72
Record against spread: 5-8 (1-0 Big 12)