Getting to know: Iowa State basketball
Iowa State sits at the bottom of the Big 12 standings but the Cyclones have a different look when they are playing at home. In their last three home games, they’ve beat a ranked opponent (Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma).
Kansas will look to solve the mystery of playing at Hilton Coliseum when the two schools meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday (TV: ESPN2).
The Cyclones (13-11, 4-8 Big 12) could be without point guard Nick Weiler-Babb, who has missed the last four games with left knee tendinitis. Weiler-Babb practiced for the first time in a few weeks Monday and Steve Prohm said he was considered questionable to play.
“I would bet that they’re lazer focused,” ISU coach Steve Prohm told the Des Moines Register of KU. “They still have an opportunity to win the league — one game out of the lead with six to go — and they play Texas Tech again. … We’ll get their No. 1 best shot. I wouldn’t expect anything different.”
Fun fact: In Iowa State’s home wins over ranked Big 12 opponents, freshman forward Cameron Lard is averaging 18.3 points and 12 rebounds.
Series history: Kansas leads 180-64. The Jayhawks have a 25-21 record at Hilton Coliseum with ISU winning two of the last three games in Ames.
BREAKING DOWN IOWA STATE
No. 5 — G Lindell Wigginton | 6-2, 188, fr.
Scoring at least 20 points in nine games this season, Wigginton is averaging a team-best 17.7 points in Big 12 play. He’s shooting 42.6 percent from the 3-point line against conference opponents and 37 percent on 2-point shots.
With Nick Weiler-Babb out with an injury, Wigginton has shifted into the team’s point guard. He’s dished 23 assists in the team’s last four games. From Nova Scotia, Wigginton played at Oak Hill Academy last year and was a prep school teammate of Billy Preston.
Against KU this season: Scored 27 points off 10 of 20 shooting (4 of 8 from 3) in 40 minutes with two steals, two rebounds and three turnovers.
- “He’s just learning the position, really,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm. “It’s trial by fire throwing him out there. He’s growing. … Lindell is terrific. I could sit up here and go on and on. He’s a terrific player.”
No. 4 — G Donovan Jackson | 6-2, 173, sr.
Known as a 3-point shooter and talented defender, Jackson is averaging 15.2 points on 44.2 percent shooting from deep in conference play. He leads the Big 12 by making 92.3 percent of his free throws. According to hoop-math.com, he’s only taken 30 of his 298 shot attempts at the rim. In the team’s four Big 12 wins, Jackson is averaging 15 points.
Against KU this season: Drilled 6 of 14 3-pointers, scoring 20 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
No. 2 — F Cameron Lard | 6-9, 225, r-fr.
A mid-season addition to the starting lineup, Lard has emerged as the team’s most consistent player in Big 12 play. He’s averaging 15.7 points and 9.7 rebounds against conference opponents, adding a team-high 34 steals. Extremely efficient at scoring in the paint, Lard is shooting 64 percent from the field this year, which is on pace to break the Big 12 freshman record.
Against KU this season: Recorded a double-double with 15 points (7 of 10 shooting) and 10 rebounds while committing seven turnovers.
No. 33 — F Solomon Young | 6-8, 245, so.
The only returning starter from last season, Young is averaging 7.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in Big 12 play but has only scored in double figures in two of the team’s last eight games. In conference games, he’s shooting 48.6 percent from the floor with 10 steals and nine blocks. He has a 7-foot-1 wingspan, the longest on the team.
Against KU this season: In foul trouble for the entire game, Young only played 15 minutes and scored one point without a shot attempt.
ONE THING IOWA STATE DOES WELL
In its last four home games, all wins, Iowa State is shooting 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. They’ve proven they can score on tough defenses like Texas Tech and keep up with run-and-gun offense like Oklahoma. The Cyclones have an 11-0 record when shooting a better percentage than their opponent.
ONE AREA IOWA STATE STRUGGLES
Preferring to play fast and in transition, Iowa State isn’t efficient in its half-court offense. According to hoop-math.com, the Cyclones rank last in the Big 12 with a 47.5 shooting percentage when they aren’t shooting in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock.
MEET THE NEW RECRUITING CLASS
The Cyclones signed four players during the November early signing period, a class that ranks 11th in the nation by Rivals. They will add three players from Illinois: 6-foot-5 guard Talen Horton-Tucker (ranked 31st in the country), 6-6 forward Zion Griffin (ranked 84th) and 6-10 center George Conditt IV, plus Wisconsin native Tyrese Haliburton, a 6-5 point guard ranked 148th.
Along with the incoming freshmen, the Cyclones will add transfers Marial Shayok (averaged 8.9 points at Virginia) and Michael Jacobson (averaged 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds at Nebraska).
Kansas by 6.5. Everyone knows about KU’s small margin for error this season, but it’s razor thin for the Cyclones. They need big nights from their top three scorers, but they are certainly capable of beating any team in the conference. I think Svi Mykhailiuk is the difference Tuesday, breaking out of his scoring slump from last week.
My prediction: Kansas 73, Iowa State 70. Bobby’s record vs. the spread: 13-11.