By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Iowa State (13-4, 0-2) vs. Baylor (12-3, 2-0)
Saturday, Jan. 15 * 5 p.m. @ Hilton Coliseum
CTN/ESPN3/ESPN Full Court – Cyclone Radio Network
Baylor has never won a game inside of Hilton Coliseum. Ever. Iowa State is 8-0 against its foes from Waco in Ames heading into Saturday evening’s contest. However, it will take an upset for Iowa State to extend that number to nine. Will the Cyclones take care of business? Let’s break it down.
BREAKING DOWN THE CYCLONES
Iowa State’s probable starters
G: Diante Garrett, 6-4 Sr. – 17.6 PPG, 5.8 APG
G: Scott Christopherson, 6-3 Jr. – 14.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG
G: Jake Anderson, 6-2 Sr. – 11.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG
F: Melvin Ejim, 6-6 Fr. – 12.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG
F: Jamie Vanderbeken, 6-11 Sr. – 11.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG
Here are some random thoughts/notes on Iowa State heading into Saturday’s game.
– I have a feeling that freshman post Jordan Railey will be a little bit more involved in Saturday’s game plan. Jamie Vanderbeken can’t keep playing 39 minutes per game. Railey didn’t look too bad during his three minutes of playing time (when he somehow recorded four fouls) against Kansas either. “I thought that he was very productive during those three minutes,” Fred Hoiberg said on Friday afternoon. “He was active. He knocked down a jump shot. He is a big body that gives you five more fouls.”
– Scott Christopherson is still struggling with what Hoiberg called a “bone spur” in his shooting elbow. The injury-plagued junior will play on Saturday though. “He is feeling a little better,” Hoiberg said. “He was excited in shoot around the other day because he was able to extend it for the first time. I don’t know if he will be 100 percent for the rest of the year but he will go out there to give it all he’s got. He is a tough kid. Hopefully if he can’t get back to 100 percent, he’ll get as close as possible.”
– Iowa State’s starting five played 185 of the 200 possible minutes on Wednesday night. Diante Garrett and Christopherson each played all 40 minutes.
BREAKING DOWN THE BEARS
Baylor’s probable starters
G: LaceDarius Dunn, 6-4 Sr. – 22.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG
G: A.J. Walton, 6-1 So. – 9 PPG, 5.2 APG
F: Anthony Jones, 6-10 Jr. – 8.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG
F: Perry Jones III, 6-11 Fr. – 13.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG
F: Quincy Acy, 6-7 Jr. – 13.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG
This is as long of a basketball team as Iowa State will see all season. The Bears start three players who are 6-foot-7 or taller. That inevitably creates a mismatch down low for the undermanned Cyclones.
“They are big, long and physical,” said Hoiberg. “We need to put a body on them. If we don’t, it is going to be ugly.”
Baylor’s frontcourt is led by freshman Perry Jones. At 6-foot-11, 235-pounds, Jones is a consensus top five pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. Some believe that he’ll be the draft’s number one selection. Fred Hoiberg agrees with that analysis.
“He’s as talented as any big man in the country,” Hoiberg said. “He will bring it. If he gets a rebound, he’ll take it all the way on you in transition like a guard.”
Jones scored 25-points in Tuesday night win over Oklahoma.
On Wednesday, Iowa State had its hands full with Kansas’ Morris twins. Like KU, Baylor’s frontcourt is solid. But the Bears are a different type of monster.
“With Kansas, those guys are the number one and number two options,” Hoiberg said. “With Baylor, their number one option is LaceDarius Dunn coming off of screens, shots in transition and they run a lot of pick and roll for him.”
“The way that they really get you is on the glass. They are going to crash from all over the place. Our guards need to get in there and put a body on somebody.”
Baylor is the Big 12’s second best rebounding team right now, with a plus 9.5 margin on the season.
Iowa State can’t focus too much on Baylor’s length down low. That’s when senior guard LaceDarius Dunn can jump up and bite you. Dunn has scored 20 or more points in eight of his 12 games this year, including a 43-point outburst against Morgan State. He’s currently the Big 12’s top scorer, with an average of 22.5 points per game.
Baylor’s three losses came to Gonzaga, Washington State and Florida State. The Bears are currently on a four-game winning streak heading into Saturday, including two comfortable conference victories over Texas Tech and Oklahoma.
A few things concern me about me. The first is that foreseeable wear down factor. We don’t know when it is going to show up. But it will. It has to.
The second is the energy inside of Hilton Coliseum. Can and will the Cyclone Nation bring the type of energy that we saw on Wednesday against Kansas to a 5 p.m. Saturday tip against Baylor.
The fans should. Baylor was in the Sweet 16 a season ago. This is a winnable home game against a very quality opponent. A win over the Bears could lead to bigger things in the future.
I think that Iowa State will show up and play hard just like they’ve done all year. But I’m taking the Bears in a close one. I think that their front line mixed with LaceDaruis Dunn (who is one of the best guards in the Big 12) will be too much. I think that the Cyclones will have to work too hard to score points and because of that, I predict Iowa State to start off their 2011 Big 12 slate 0-3.
Baylor 75, Iowa State 68