By Justin VanLaere
The Iowa State Cyclones will host the Iowa Hawkeyes tonight inside Hilton, as the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series continues. The Hawks are coming off a hard-to-swallow loss to UNI, while the Cyclones recently came away with a 25 point win over Prairie View A&M. This very well could be the last time these two teams play each other for the foreseeable future. This week, Coach McCaffery talked about looking at the “big picture”, which could include dropping the in-state games to enable greater flexibility in scheduling.
Iowa Hawkeyes (5-4) at Iowa State Cyclones (6-3)
POMEROY RATINGS: Iowa – 137, ISU– 84
REALTIMERPI: Iowa – 187, ISU– 106
CBS RPI: Iowa – N/A, ISU- 62
MASSEY RANKING: Iowa – 178, ISU- 75
Tip Off: Friday, December 9th 2011; 7:05 PM CST
Ames, IA – Hilton Coliseum (14,356)
TV: CTN/ESPN3/ESPN FullCourt/Clone Zone
Radio: AM 600, 1040, and 800. SiriusXM 85 (ISU broadcast).
Iowa leads the series 42-22.
LINE: Iowa is an 8.5 point underdog. Pomeroy predicts Iowa to lose by 9 points.
PG – Devyn Marble, 6’6”, 194 lb, SO
G – Matt Gatens, 6’5”, 212 lb, SR
G – Eric May, 6’5”, 217 lb, JR
F – Melsahn Basabe, 6’7”, 225 lb, SO
F – Zach McCabe, 6’7”, 232 lb, SO
G – Chris Allen, 6’3″, 205 lb, SR
G – Scott Christopherson, 6’3″, 195 lb, SR
G – Chris Babb, 6’5″, 225 lb, JR
F – Royce White, 6’8″, 270 lb, SO
C – Percy Gibson, 6’9″, 245 lb, FR
Iowa goes from playing a well-disciplined, well-coached team in UNI to a less organized, not-so-well coached team in ISU. Speaking of Northern Iowa, both teams have lost to Panthers already this year. ISU dropped a 9 point affair in Ames, while Iowa lost by 20 inside the McLeod Center. However, if you actually watched both of the games, you could argue that the Hawkeyes looked better against UNI than did ISU… the final score notwithstanding.
Iowa State boasts four transfers in their starting lineup. Three came from B1G programs (Allen – MSU, Babb – PSU, White – Minn), while Christopherson is from Marquette.
Both teams will feature a non-point guard playing the 1 spot. Iowa State has given up on the Scotty Experiment and handed the PG duties off to Chris Allen. For Iowa, it’s highly, highly unlikely Bryce Cartwright will be able to go, so that means Devyn Marble will retain the starting spot. Bryce hasn’t done much of anything since he tweaked his hammy during the Brown game, including practing or even running.
The Cyclones are really, really good on offense and really, really bad on defense. Most of their offensive efficiencies are in the Top 75 in the nation, while most their defensive efficiencies are in the bottom 250 in the nation. Iowa has proven they can score in buckets against poor defenses.
KEYS TO GAME FOR IOWA:
- Close Out on the Shooters. The Cyclones are an excellent shooting ball club. Don’t let the last few games fool you, they can really stroke it from the outside. Iowa has proven that they can and will allow good shooting teams (and even bad shooting teams) to abuse them from the perimeter. With someone like Royce White down low, it will make it even more difficult for the Hawkeyes to commit to stopping the outside shot. This will not be an easy task for Iowa.
- Pick Your Poison Inside. Royce White is a very talented big man, we know this. He leads Iowa State in pretty much category he can and is their go-to-guy. Recently, freshman Percy Gibson has emerged as a nice option in the paint for the Cyclones. If Iowa puts too much focus on White, Gibson could reap a lot of the benefits.
- Take the Crowd Out of It. There’s some magic still alive in Hilton. It might not be at the level it was back in the 90′s, but there is some in there. Hilton can be a very, very tough place to play. If Iowa can get on a run and sustain some success, it will help Iowa overcome the hostile environment they are about to face.
PREDICTION: Iowa State is not a complete team, far from it. However, they do have the better talent and they will be at home. You never know which Cyclone team is going to show up, but the same thing can be said about the Hawkeyes. Both of these teams have been so very inconsistent through the first 1/3 of the season. Iowa is better than the 8.5 point spread, but it’s tough to take them on the road inside Hilton. FINAL SCORE: Iowa 81, ISU 86