No. 21 Iowa State Cyclones (3-0) at Brigham Young Cougars (4-0)
TIME 6:30 PM PST
RADIO BYU – KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM or BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143
ISU – Cyclone Radio Network/Learfield
HEAD-TO-HEAD Iowa State leads 5-0
LAST MEETING Iowa State won 83-62 on 12/1/12
Naz Long 15.7 PPG 65% 3FG
DeAndre Kane 13.7 PPG 7.7 RPG 5.7 APG
Georges Niang 12.7 PPG 5.7 RPG 4 APG
Dustin Hogue 11.7 PPG 9 RPG
Melvin Ejim 22 PPG 9 RPG
Matt Carlino 18.5 PPG 5.5 RPG 5 APG
Kyle Collinsworth 13.3 PPG 8.3 RPG 6.3 APG
Tyler Haws 29.5 PPG 10.5 RPG
Nate Austin 5.8 PPG 9.3 RPG
Eric Mika 12.5 PPG 4 RPG
This game is a huge game for both teams. Iowa State got a landmark win against Michigan on Saturday, but that was a home win. One could argue that a win in the Marriott Center would do ISU’s postseason resume just as well. This could be a key non-conference road win and a huge resume booster for the Cyclones in March.
For the Cougars, their program could really use a win over a ranked team. In recent years, they’ve come up short in opportunities like these – coming to my mind are close losses to Baylor in 2011 and to Gonzaga in February, as well as the oh-fer at the Barclays Center last season. The Cougars’ win against Stanford was a distinguished feather in the cap, but BYU needs to keep the momentum going and protect their house. This one should be hotly contested in front of a raucous crowd of around 20000 people. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. And I’m also wondering why I didn’t buy a ticket to it…
KEY STORYLINE: HEALTHY STARS
Both teams have seen their top player miss time due to injury this season. Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim missed the Cyclones’ first two games because of a hyperextended knee. BYU’s Tyler Haws sat out the Cougars’ weekend slate because of a strained abdominal. Ejim has since returned in a big way, as he put up 22 points in the Cyclones’ win over the Michigan Wolverines. Haws will look to return from his injury tonight with equal aplomb. The Cougars managed to easily dispatch of two inferior opponents last weekend, but Haws’ offensive firepower will be needed against a tougher, more athletic squad like Iowa State. He struggled mightily last year in Ames.
KEY STORYLINE: CAN THE FRESHMAN HANG?
Will star freshman Eric Mika be able to handle the Iowa State front line? The Cyclones are a team well known for their propensity to shoot the three ball, but can Mika stay out of foul trouble when Niang and Ejim get around the basket? It might all come down to pacing. If it turns out to be a track meet like the Stanford contest, Mika will be right at home. If the pace slows down and Iowa State looks to dissect the Cougar D, then the freshman might be in trouble. On Saturday, Mika amassed 4 fouls as he played only 19 minutes against DII foe Colorado Mesa. His abilities will be needed for more than 19 minutes against Iowa State.
KEY STORYLINE: WHICH GUARD LINE DOMINATES?
Never before have I seen such good rebounding numbers from both guard lines. DeAndre Kane rebounds at a strong clip for the Cyclones, and the trio of Collinsworth, Haws and Carlino provides almost 25 rebounds a game for the Cougars. With the Cyclones’ lack of a true big man, and the Cougars’ lack of frontcourt depth, it’s imperative that each team’s guard line helps clean the glass. For BYU, those rebounds often lead to their customary fast paced offense without the need for an outlet pass.
Another factor on the perimeter will be Iowa State’s shooting. They’re shooting 41.6 percent from deep, which includes a lackluster long-range game against Michigan. If they can keep BYU’s guards glued to the perimeter, that could keep the BYU guard line off the glass just enough to disrupt the fast paced tempo that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Coach Rose has mentioned it many times – he wants his team to dictate the tempo.