Advertisement

These guys again: Cyclones boast one of nation's elite offenses entering rematch at KU

Advertisement

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

There aren’t many college basketball players that can say they have won four of the past five times they have faced Kansas. In fact, the only ones who can say that about a Bill Self-coached KU team are Iowa State’s current crop of veterans.

With a pair of Big 12 Tournament victories and two more wins coming at Hilton Coliseum, the Cyclones have proven they have the fire power to not only hang with the Jayhawks, but knock them off. Winning at Allen Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon — on Perry Ellis’ Senior Day? That would be a next-level accomplishment. Iowa State has lost its last 10 trips to Lawrence.

When the 2015-16 schedule came out, this KU-ISU matchup seemed like one that could decide the Big 12 championship. However, KU already wrapped up its 12th straight title and ISU has experienced more drop-off than expected following the departure of former coach Fred Hoiberg.

No. 21 Iowa State (21-9 overall, 10-7 Big 12) and first-year ISU coach Steve Prohm still have plenty to play for. Heading into Saturday, ISU could earn anywhere from a No. 3 seed to a No. 6 seed at the upcoming Big 12 Tournament, in Kansas City, Mo.

And there is the less obvious incentive of ISU trying to become the first Big 12 team to beat a Self-coached KU team both at home and on the road in the same season. While that’s probably not something floating around in the minds of Georges Niang and Monté Morris, just getting a win at Allen Fieldhouse is motivation enough.

So how could the Cyclones pull off the upset at No. 1 KU (26-4, 14-3)? They’d better score a ton of points if they want to have a shot.

ISU (82.2 points per game this season, 1st in Big 12) has led the league in scoring each of the last three years. If the Cyclones can do that again they would join Kansas (2000-03) as the only teams to lead the Big 12 four consecutive seasons.

Some other interesting Iowa State offensive numbers to consider:

- In the 2nd halves of the last 8 games ISU is shooting 57.8% from the floor and 42.3% on 3-pointers.

- In 4 of those last 8 games ISU has shot 64% of better in the 2nd half.

- The Cyclones have made 10 or more 3-pointers in 6 of the last 9 games.

- ISU is shooting 57.1% on 2-point field goals, which ranks 4th nationally.

- Iowa State has made 50.3% of its shots on the year, ranking 2nd in the nation to St. Mary’s, which has hit 50.9%. (KU ranks 8th at 49.3%).

Defense has been ISU’s issue all season, particularly with the absence of injured Naz Long. The Cyclones are 3-8 when their opponent gets 80 or more points. They also rank last in Big 12 games in points allowed (76.9) and 6th in FG% defense (44.2%). KU leads the conference, holding Big 12 foes to 38.7% shooting.

While ISU ranks 2nd in the nation — behind only Michigan State — in adjusted offensive efficiency, according to college hoops math wizard Ken Pomeroy, of kenpom.com, the Cyclones are 111th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Iowa State certainly will extend its run of NCAA Tournament appearances to five straight years, improving on its current program record. But the Cyclones’ defensive issues might be too much to overcome against a hot Kansas team that can match them basket for basket.

With all of those factors in mind, here are the Cyclones the Jayhawks have to worry about as they try to close out the regular season with an 11th straight win.

IOWA STATE STARTERS

No. 31 — F Georges Niang | 6-8, sr.

Iowa State’s Georges Niang (31) drives against Cincinnati’s Coreontae DeBerry (22) during the Cyclones’ 81-79 victory over the Bearcats Tuesday, Dec. 22 in Cincinnati. Niang and the Cyclones are among the challengers to Kansas’ streak of 11-straight Big 12 regular season titles.

Iowa State’s Georges Niang (31) drives against Cincinnati’s Coreontae DeBerry (22) during the Cyclones’ 81-79 victory over the Bearcats Tuesday, Dec. 22 in Cincinnati. Niang and the Cyclones are among the challengers to Kansas’ streak of 11-straight Big 12 regular season titles. by Associated Press

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 19 points, 8/17 FGs, 0/5 3s, 3/3 FTs, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers in 33 minutes

  • One of the nation’s better all-around offensive threats, senior Georges Niang (19.3 points) is the only player in the country averaging at least 19 points and 6 rebounds, while shooting 50% or better from the floor and 80% or better at the free-throw line. The last player to pull that off was Creighton’s Doug McDermott (2013-14).

  • The winningest player in ISU history (96 wins), Niang doesn’t just score, he sets up his teammates for baskets, averaging 3.2 assists in his final season. He’s the only player to rank in the top 12 in the Big 12 in scoring, rebounding and assists.

  • In Big 12 games, Niang is shooting 55% from the floor and 35.8% from three-point range (24 of 67).

  • Niang is one of six players in the nation hitting at least 60% of his 2-point shot attempts.

  • In his last 4 games, Niang is shooting 66% from the field.

No. 11 — PG Monté Morris | 6-3, jr.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) looks to pass around Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) looks to pass around Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 21 points, 7/14 FGs, 2/4 3s, 5/7 FTs, 4 rebounds (2 offensive), 9 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 steal in 40 minutes

  • A finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, junior point guard Monté Morris (14.3 points) leads the Big 12 in assists (7.2) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.1).

  • Morris is on pace to pass Jeff Hornacek (6.8 assists) as the program’s all-time single-season assist leader.

  • The Big 12’s active leader in career assists (525), Morris also has more career steals (163) than any other current players in the league.

  • Morris has looked to score more frequently this season than he did in the past and his 50.4% shooting from the field leads all Big 12 guards.

  • In Big 12 games, Morris has made 22 of 51 from 3-point range (43.1%).

  • A workhorse, Morris has played every minute in 9 games this season.

  • 4th in the Big 12 with 1.8 steals a game, he has recorded at least 1 steal in 26 of 30 games this year.

No. 1 — F Jameel McKay | 6-9, sr.

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) disrupts a dunk attempt by Iowa State forward Jameel McKay (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) disrupts a dunk attempt by Iowa State forward Jameel McKay (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 6 points, 2/4 FGs, 2/2 FTs, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block in 27 minutes

  • Senior big man Jameel McKay (11.5 points) gives Iowa State an athletic presence in the paint and above the rim. McKay leads the team with 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.

  • In his last 6 games, McKay, hampered by some soreness in the first meeting with KU, is averaging 2.3 blocks.

  • Starting to return to form, McKay put up 14 points and 17 boards against Kansas State last week, marking his first double-double since the first week of January.

  • McKay has shot 50% or better from the field in 41 of his 52 career games for ISU. This season, McKay is shooting 58.9%. In Big 12 games, that mark is 54.3%.

  • ISU went 4-3 without McKay in the starting lineup this season.

  • Averaging 2.9 offensive rebounds a game in Big 12 action.

No. 2 — F Abdel Nader | 6-6, sr.

Iowa State forward Abdel Nader (2) throws a backdoor pass around Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Also pictured is Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0).

Iowa State forward Abdel Nader (2) throws a backdoor pass around Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Also pictured is Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0). by Nick Krug

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 17 points, 6/9 FGs, 3/3 3s, 2/2 FTs, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 4 steals in 36 minutes

  • As he closes in on the end of his college career, senior Abdel Nader (13.5 points, 5.1 rebounds) is getting hot at the right time. Nader is averaging 19.2 points in the last 5 games.

  • In his 5-game run, Nader has made 47.4% of his 3-pointers, hitting 18 total — including 3 games with 5 successful bombs.

  • In his first 25 games of the season, Nader made 26 total 3’s and shot 31.3% from deep.

  • Shooting 48.5% from the floor in Big 12 games.

  • Only dud in his last 5 games was a 4-point performance vs. K-State, when Nader shot 0-for-6 from 3-point range. He scored between 19 and 26 points in the other 4, against Baylor, TCU, West Virginia and Oklahoma State.

No. 21 — G Matt Thomas | 6-4, jr.

None by Cyclone Basketball

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 13 points, 5/10 FGs, 3/6 3s, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 4 steals in 37 minutes

  • Odds are junior sharpshooter Matt Thomas (10.7 points, 4.5 rebounds) is going to make at least one 3-pointer. He has done so in 20 consecutive games.

  • With 2.5 3-pointers made per game this year, Thomas ranks (distant) 2nd to Buddy Hield, of Oklahoma, who makes 4.2 a game.

  • Shooting 43.2% from long range on the year, Thomas’ productivity coincides with ISU success. The Cyclones are 11-1 when he scores at least 12 points as a starter.

  • Thomas has nailed 3 or more 3-pointers in 9 of the last 13 games.

  • Also ISU’s best free-throw shooter, Thomas has made 30 of 33 at the line this season (90.9%).

IOWA STATE BENCH

No. 30 — G Deonte Burton | 6-4, jr.

None by Big 12 Conference

— Jan. 25 vs. KU: 9 points, 4/5 FGs, 1/1 3s, 0/1 FTs, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4 fouls in 17 minutes off the bench

  • A transfer from Marquette (just like McKay), junior Deonte Burton (10.0 points, 3.9 rebounds) is ISU’s 6th man and the real productivity off the bench begins and ends with him.

  • Burton doesn’t take as many 3-pointers as Niang, Morris, Nader or Thomas, but he has connected on 10 of 23 (43.5%) in Big 12 games.

  • Shooting 52.8% from the field in conference games — good. And 59.5% at the free-throw line — bad.

Comments

Joe Ross 3 years ago

Very impressive how Kansas has turned things around. It's hard to improve upon that effort, but if we maintain that level of energy and focus I think we are the toughest out in college basketball. There is actually still room to improve (speaking to YOU, Wayne Selden, Carlton Bragg, Brannen Greene and Cheick Diallo). Thankful for the progress, and I believe it owes to Coach Self. It would be nice to win at home on Saturday night to have a neat and tidy conclusion to the regular season.

Pius Waldman 3 years ago

We always want to win the Seniors night game. Just remember how badly our Jayhawks whipped the Longhorns on their Senior night. We have been playing great and hope for another great performance. It won't be easy.

Kent Richardson 3 years ago

They are due but we can score 80 on them if Perry gets 20.

Dave Miller 3 years ago

I think defense is going to be a big factor in this game. Deny them good shots from the 3 will force them to jack up bad shots. Slow them down and smother them with defense. This KU team is capable of that.

Dirk Medema 3 years ago

The last game against them should be plenty of motivation.

Humpy Helsel 3 years ago

Georgie Porgy. One dude I won't miss. I've watched him play against other Big 12 teams and it looks like he goes half-speed a lot of the time. Not when he plays us. He sees Jayhawk and his eyes light up and that dude is a match up nightmare. Old school. Kind of similar to Perry's game these days now that Perry has added the 3 ball. Come one guys. This one is for pride. Don't let these farm animals pee on our court on Senior Day. You can bet one thing, they will bring it today and it will be our defense, or not, that will decide the outcome.

Waylon Cook 3 years ago

The mayor is prolly in selfs office. A true middle finger to the most idiotic, whiny fanbase in the league!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.