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Getting to know: Iowa State basketball

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Kansas head coach Bill Self is greeted by the Iowa State students as he takes the court, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas head coach Bill Self is greeted by the Iowa State students as he takes the court, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

The Kansas Jayhawks will likely be ranked the No. 1 team in the country Monday and will be rewarded with a trip to Hilton Coliseum, a place they haven’t won in the last two seasons.

All of the Jayhawks, outside of senior point guard Frank Mason III, have never won in Ames and it’ll be one of the biggest challenges in a tough stretch of games when KU tips off at 8 p.m. Monday (ESPN).

“We’re going up against the No. 1 team, potentially,” ISU senior guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long said. “If you can’t get up to play for that, then this game’s not for you.”

The Cyclones, ranked 23rd by KenPom, rank among the Big 12 leaders in scoring defense during conference play, but they have their weaknesses. Big 12 opponents have shot nearly 50 percent against ISU because the Cyclones have trouble against ball screens with their four-guard lineup.

Plus they’ve been crushed on the glass during conference play with a rebounding margin of negative-10.4, nearly seven rebounds worse than any other team in the Big 12.

But then there’s all of their potential when they are playing at their best. The Cyclones have lost by two points against Baylor and Gonzaga while earning conference wins over Texas Tech, Texas and at Oklahoma State.

Iowa State lost on the road against TCU on Saturday, but with the rivalry between KU and ISU, that shouldn’t have any effect on the Cyclones entering Monday night. Matt Tait wrote about the rivalry Sunday.

Interesting note: Iowa State is 5-0 at home in the last two seasons following a road Big 12 loss.

Series history: Kansas leads 178-63. Jayhawks have lost the last two games in Ames, dating back to 2014.

Vegas says: Kansas by 2.

IOWA STATE STARTERS

No. 11 — G Monte Morris | 6-3, 175, sr.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) lofts a shot over Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) and guard Devonte' Graham (4) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) lofts a shot over Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) and guard Devonte' Graham (4) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

  • Named the preseason Big 12 player of the year, Morris is averaging 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and a Big 12-leading 5.8 assists per game. He’s shooting 46.6 percent from the floor and recorded nine steals in the last three games.

  • One of the best ball handlers in the nation, Morris leads the country with a 5.8 assist to turnover ratio. He’s dished 93 assists and only turned it over 16 times. He only has two turnovers in the last 252 minutes on the court. The next closest mark in the country is a 4.92 ratio (P.J. Thompson, Purdue).

  • Morris is only 21 assists from tying ISU’s career assists record, set in 1983-86 by New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, a former star for the Utah Jazz.

  • In eight career games, Morris is averaging 9.9 points and 4.4 assists against Kansas. Last year, he averaged 17 points and 6.5 assists against the Jayhawks, shooting 10-of-24 from the floor.

  • According to hoop-math.com, Morris has attempted 63 shots around the rim this season and he’s converted on 44 of those layups/dunks (70 percent).

  • QUOTE: “I’ll tell you the most impressive stat from the Oklahoma State game was zero turnovers in 39 minutes against the way they play with full court pressure and ball denial in the half court,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm. “Just the character and toughness and attention to detail you’ve got to have on the floor was huge.”

No. 15 — G Nazareth Mitrou-Long | 5-11, 195, r-sr.

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long (15) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 79-70.

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long (15) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 79-70.

  • Missed most of last season (only played in eight games) because of hip surgery, which earned him a medical redshirt. He’s averaging a team-best 15.7 points, which ranks fifth in the Big 12. He’s shooting 48 percent from the floor and 37 from behind the 3-point arc.

  • He didn’t play against Kansas last season, but in his career, he’s averaging 5.9 points against the Jayhawks. In his last 3 games vs. KU, he’s scored 37 points in 88 minutes.

  • According to hoop-math.com, the left-handed Mitrou-Long doesn’t take many mid-range jumpers. Instead he stays behind the 3-point line (59 percent of his shots) or drives to the rim (31 percent).

  • Long known as Naz Long, he started going by his full name at the start of the 2015-16 season to honor his mother, Georgia Mitrou. When he sent a picture of his new name plate above his locker, his mom became emotional, “I cried and thanked him,” Mitrou told the Des Moines Register.

  • QUOTE: “That’s my game; being nasty,” Mitrou-Long said. “Getting after loose balls, doing the little things…. I take a lot of pride in that part of my game. I have to do that to separate myself.”

No. 30 — G Deonte Burton | 6-5, 250, r-sr.

Texas guard Andrew Jones drives past Iowa State guard Deonte Burton, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa.

Texas guard Andrew Jones drives past Iowa State guard Deonte Burton, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa.

  • A transfer from Marquette two years ago, the left-handed Burton leads the Cyclones with 6.9 rebounds per game, 18 blocks and 24 steals. He’s averaging 12.4 points on 43 percent shooting.

  • Burton was named the Big 12’s newcomer of the year last season. He’s posted four 20-plus point games this year, but has scored less than eight points in five games. At the beginning of the season, ISU coach Steve Prohm challenged him to average a double-double.

  • Despite standing at a listed 6-5, Burton has a 7-0 wingspan.

  • In two games against Kansas last season, Burton averaged nine points and four rebounds, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor.

  • QUOTE: “Basketball is like life,” Burton said. “You’ll always have ups and you’ll always have downs. You just have to try to make as many ups as you can and, when you’re having a down game necessarily, do something different.”

No. 21 — G Matt Thomas | 6-5, 193, sr.

Baylor forward Johnathan Motley is guard by Iowa State guard Nick Weiler-Babb, left, and Iowa State guard Matt Thomas, right, while driving to the basket in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, in Waco, Texas.

Baylor forward Johnathan Motley is guard by Iowa State guard Nick Weiler-Babb, left, and Iowa State guard Matt Thomas, right, while driving to the basket in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, in Waco, Texas.

  • Thomas has dealt with bone spurs this season, injuring his foot against Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 20. “Every type of movement, you kind of feel it,” he said.

  • Despite nagging injuries, Thomas has started in every game this season. He’s averaging 11.3 points on 43 percent shooting. He’s added 20 steals on defense. According to hoop-math.com, he’s taken a team-low 11 percent of his shots at the rim. Instead, he focuses on threes and mid-range jumpers.

  • Against Kansas last year, Thomas averaged 11 points and 4.5 rebounds. He shot 8-of-15 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from deep.

  • The Iowa State Daily wrote a story on Thomas’ background. His dad died when he was in the fifth grade. Another father figure died when he was 17. Then he spent a night in jail at 19.

  • QUOTE: “I’ve been really blessed when it comes to injuries and playing injury-free my career here,” Thomas said. “This is a minor injury right now that I’m dealing with and I’m just trying to stay positive when it comes to that.”

No. 10 — F Darrell Bowie | 6-8, 218, sr.

Texas guard Kerwin Roach Jr., left, drives past Iowa State forward Darrell Bowie, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa.

Texas guard Kerwin Roach Jr., left, drives past Iowa State forward Darrell Bowie, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa.

  • A transfer from Northern Illinois, he redshirted last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

  • In 16 games (seven starts), Bowie is averaging 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. However, his biggest weakness is at the free-throw line where he’s shooting 43 percent (21 of 49).

  • A lefty, Bowie has taken 43.3 percent of his shots around the rim, according to hoop-math.com. He’s one of the most likely players on the team to take a mid-range jumper (46 percent of his shots).

  • He wears the No. 10 in honor of his late father’s birthday, Darrell Bowie Sr. He died before his son’s birth, which is detailed in a story from the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

  • QUOTE: "We're going to need him down the stretch," Mitrou-Long said. "He's a senior. He's been through the waters.… We need it in the worst way."

IOWA STATE BENCH

No. 4 — G Donovan Jackson | 6-2, 175, jr.

Iowa State guard Donovan Jackson (4) drives up court ahead of Texas forward Jarrett Allen, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State guard Donovan Jackson (4) drives up court ahead of Texas forward Jarrett Allen, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Ames, Iowa.

  • In his first season with the Cyclones after transferring from Iowa Western CC, where he had his season shortened because of a broken wrist.

  • In 16 games off of the bench, Jackson is averaging 5.3 points on 38 percent shooting. He’s connected on 19 of his 49 attempts from behind the 3-point line, but doesn’t drive much and has only taken nine free throws.

  • Jackson is secure with the ball, dishing 26 assists (fourth on the team) to only 10 turnovers. But he’s best known for his defense in the four-guard lineup.

  • Played in high school at Pius XI in Milwaukee, the same school as former ISU guard Korie Lucious. He lost in the 2012 state semifinals against current teammate Matt Thomas.

  • QUOTE: “Defensively he’s been terrific for us,” Prohm said. “He’s really guarded and can guard the other team’s point guard. He’s a gnat on the ball and really, really active. That’s something I thought he could do and one of the things I really liked about him is A: his ability to shoot, but B: he can defend the way we want to.”

No. 1 — G Nick Weiler-Babb | 5-11, 175, r-soph.

  • Sat out all of last season after transferring from Arkansas. His older brother, Chris, played for the Cyclones.

  • In 16 games off of the bench, Weiler-Babb is averaging 5.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 20.3 minutes. He’s shooting 50 percent from the floor, despite making just 4 of 15 of his 3-pointers.

  • After scoring 15 points in his first four Big 12 games, Weiler-Babb scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting against TCU on Saturday with two steals.

No. 33 — F Solomon Young | 6-8, 240, fr.

  • A freshman out of Sacramento, Calif., Young has played in 12 games and is averaging 4.5 points and 2.8 rebounds. He missed four games with a hand injury.

  • Young is shooting 63 percent from the field (22 of 35) and has added six blocks in 138 minutes this year.

  • QUOTE: “The second half of the year — we’re looking for great things for him later down the line,” Morris said.

Comments

Kent Richardson 4 years, 9 months ago

Last year we would defend our asses of and then Niang would do his little dipsy doodle thing and crap. I really don't miss him. Hornacek either and you can throw in Hoiberg.

Alan Braun 4 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of Hoiberg, he's on the hot seat in Chicago and may well get fired by the Bulls in the near future. If the ISU fans I talked to at church today are any indication, the Cyclowns will be more than happy to find a place for him in their program if he wants it. They are still in love with him.

Alan Braun 4 years, 9 months ago

I live in Des Moines and deal with ISU people daily. Our basketball game with them in Hilton is their Super Bowl. They get "up" for this game like no other, not even the one they play with their instate rivals, the Iowa Hawkeyes. This is the one game of the year for which their students camp out for seating. Between their loss on Saturday to TCU, the extent to which they hate us already, and the fact that we'll almost certainly be coming into their place with a newly-minted #1 national ranking, they will be more than ready for us. Melvin Weatherwax (the guy who tried to attack HCBS 4 years ago when we beat them there) has long since served out his exile and may well be back in the crowd too. Should be interesting!

http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/seen_it/2013/feb/26/nick-krug-describes-his-view-of-charging/

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