Every Friday during the college basketball season, our Chris Williams and Brent Blum go back and forth on a variety of Iowa State and Big 12 related topics. Enjoy.
Williams:Well Blum, there’s a lot going on right now. The 2012 football schedule was released on Tuesday (Which was coincidentally Valentines Day. Is that a sign that this version of the Big 12 will last?) The Iowa State men’s basketball team lost to Baylor on Monday night and has a big game coming up on Saturday vs. Oklahoma. I have a feeling that this "debate" could get rather nutty.
However, I think we’d be fools to not start things off with some hard-hitting commentary regarding Tuesday night’s Texas A&M – Texas Tech basketball game, where the Aggies defeated the Red Raiders by a 47-38 final. No really. That was the final score. Tech scored 12 points in the second half. Twelve. Ten plus two. In one half of what Dan Hawkins would refer to as DIVISION ONE BASKETBALL. IT’S THE BIG 12.
Any comments on this or should we just move onto something worth discussing?
Blum: Thankfully I missed that abomination of a basketball game. What made it even more embarrassing is that Tech LED 24-9 with seven minutes left in the first half! So they scored 14 freaking points in the final 27 minutes. Thirty-eight points was the lowest Tech output in the shot-clock era. Billy Gillispie said after the game that his offensive game-plan was "a little too conservative in the second half." Understatement of the year Billy. Even Sean Hannity thought it was a bit too conservative (political news joke.) And yet that same woeful Tech team beat OU by 15 on Saturday. Bizarre. Remember when ESPN had that reality show to be a walk-on for Bobby Knight’s Tech club? I think they need another season. I feel for Billy G.
That’s all I got on those two schools. Please find another topic, discussing the Aggies and Red Raiders makes me upset.
Williams:Okay. Okay. Sorry. Just had to get that off of my chest. Like you, I did not watch the game. I spent Valentines Day evening watching Justin Timberlake’s "Friends With Benefits" with my wife. Pretty decent movie believe it or now, even though it is unrealistic as hell. No man’s life is that good. How was the big day for you Blum?
Let’s move onto the Clones. After all, this is CycloneFanatic.com. CF user HFCS wrote this question for my mailbag on Thursday but I thought it’d be a good topic of conversation for this week’s debate.
He wrote: Why as the interior defense so swiss cheese like against Baylor? Players didn’t execute the game plan? ISU just doesn’t have the inside personnel to match up? Baylor’s circus freak talent level? Coaching/defensive schemes we’re in?
My take? I think that HFCS is onto quite a bit with that question.
First of all, if Iowa State is going to beat Baylor, it has to hit shots. The Cyclones didn’t do that in the first half, but still managed to hang around. In the second half, Iowa State hit some shots but Baylor scored on three out of every four of their possessions. No team will win many league road games when its opponent shoots the way that Baylor did in that second half.
Let’s face it. Baylor’s length is a bad, bad matchup for Iowa State. On Monday night, the Bears were just that much better than the Cyclones. But I really feel like had Iowa State not settled for and missed so many poor shots early on in that game that the defense would have been better because of it. When this team is making shots, it plays better defense. That’s pretty natural in basketball really.
Having said that, judging by the tone of Fred Hoiberg’s postgame comments, he wasn’t pleased with the way that the Cyclones brought it (or didn’t bring it) in Waco. That’s only an observation on my part.
But I’m giving Baylor more credit for Monday’s game than I am criticizing Iowa State. The Bears got a ton of bunnies down low, but they also hit some really tough shots. Props for that.
Blum:I had a stellar meal at Dos Rios in Des Moines on Valentine’s day. Thought about clubbing it and showing off my dougie at Liar’s Club next door, but I am getting old. As a man who grew up in Page County, do you, Mr. Williams, even know what the dougie is? Serious question.
For what it’s worth, I have also seen "Friends with Benefits." So you’re telling me the dream of being a Creative Director for a magazine and getting randomly recruited and hooking up with Mila Kunis isn’t realistic? For crying out loud, she dated Macauly Culkin for like NINE years. That’s the biggest upset since Princeton beat UCLA in ’96.
But back to basketball. Yes, the Iowa State defense was bad on Monday. It has to be really irritating for Hoiberg and crew because they have been awesome on defense against A&M and at home against KU. But then had some serious clunkers against Baylor and Oklahoma State. Schematically, it’s not as if anything is much different, but for whatever reason Iowa State hasn’t had a consistent intensity and effectiveness.
You are dead on in that you don’t expect Baylor’s Anthony Jones (aka the preying mantis) to step out and hit jump-shots. And Quincy Miller was a force that Iowa State had no answer for. At 6’10 if he is making jumpers with Chris Babb’s hand in his face, he’s almost unstoppable. Baylor is an extremely tough matchup because of this. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more zone from the Cyclones in the second meeting, but they haven’t shown much of it this year.
I think that game is completely different if Iowa State gets stops early, Baylor is a maniacal team and when they play with "swag" they are very dangerous on offense. Say it with me now, "Baylor is Baylor is Baylor."
It also didn’t help that Anthony Booker had foul issues early because he has the size and length to counter the Bears. It was a culmination of no good on defense.
I’m actually encouraged and anxious for that March third match-up with Baylor. I think the Cyclones can make a statement in that game and put an exclamation point on an NCAA tournament berth. Your thoughts?
Williams: No. I do not know what a "dougie" is. Please explain.
I bet you’ve never been fishing in a farm pond or attended a dirt track race have you? Admit it you pathetic excuse of a human being.
As Triumph the Comic Dog would say, "I keeed. I keeed."
Yeah, I agree with you on the second game vs. Baylor on March 3rd. Baylor is and always will be a nightmare matchup for Iowa State. BUT, there’s no way that the Bears hit some of the shots that we saw on Monday inside of what will be a hostile Hilton Coliseum.
Let’s move onto this weekend. Oklahoma comes to town on a five game losing streak. The Sooners lost to lowly Texas Tech last weekend. With the crafty Lon Kruger at the helm, I did not think that was possible.
I’m sure that a lot of Iowa State fans will be spooked by this game. I can kind of see it. After all, the Sooners are coached by Lon Kruger. He’s one of the all-time greats (Fanatics – Know that I wrote this only to nudge Blum into a specific reaction that I’m seeking). Oklahoma is due for a win right?
No. Not really. Like what we saw last Saturday with Texas A&M, Iowa State is a better basketball team than Oklahoma. Show up. Play hard. Bam. The Cyclones will win by double-digits. They’ve gotta do those two things though, otherwise the Steven Pledger’s and Andrew Fitzgerald’s of the world could always have big games.
Blum: First to accurately describe the awesomeness of the "dougie" I give you John Wall:
Unfortunately, this remains Mr. Wall’s best contribution to the NBA in his two years with the Wizards, it’s been a rough go for the former Kentucky stand-out. But dammit if he didn’t pull off that dougie.
I have never fished in a farm pond or attended a dirt track event, but I am going to see some George Strait fella next Friday at Wells Fargo. I think this earns me my "country" points for the year. Ever heard of him? Truth be told, the main reason I am going is because I am fascinated with the "BottomsUp" beer machine at the arena. That thing could entertain me for hours, its like magic. I greatly appreciate that somebody spent significant time engineering a way to pour beer faster.
The one concern I have with Oklahoma is Steven Pledger seems to enjoy the friendly confines of Hilton Coliseum. That dude was NBA Jam style ON FIRE in Hilton last year…38 points and seven treys in OU’s overtime win. And they somehow managed to beat K-State on the road this year – and guess what? In that game, Pledger scored 30 points and had it stuck on automatic. Mr. Babb will have a specific duty and that is to watch the No. 2 jersey, because Pledger is as streaky as they come, and if he gets it going, beware.
Andrew Fitzgerald is a good scorer, but he can’t take over a game. Stop Pledger and the Cyclones shouldn’t have too much trouble.
Interesting that your all-time great Lon Kruger couldn’t scheme his way out of a blowout loss to Tech though. HOW CAN YOU DEFEND THAT?! There is just no excuse.
OU has been really struggling on defense. In the last eight games, they have allowed teams to shoot 49 percent from the floor. That is an obscenely high number. They have had problems with sustaining effort and I have a feeling if the Cyclones can come out firing, OU may not be overly enthused to remain intent on the defensive end.
It goes without saying that with only three home games remaining, Iowa State cannot afford to be losing games to an OU team, whose RPI is in the 100’s. And how awesome is it that we are three weeks away from Selection Sunday and can freely throw around "RPI" and have it actually mean something!? Where have you been for the last seven years RPI? Like a long lost friend.
Williams:I watched the video….Not a big fan of this "dougie" dance that you speak of. No wonder John Wall sucks. And as for the George Strait show, you’ll think that you’ve died and gone to heaven. At the very least Blum, it will bring back solid memories of when we were roommates in Shenandoah back during our KMA Radio days. Good times. Yes, some very good times.
I cannot defend Kruger’s loss to Texas Tech but I can tell you this. Before Thursday’s Iowa State practice, Royce White and Fred Hoiberg both commented on Lon’s genius coaching abilities. I am not alone when I sing Kruger’s praises. Wait. Just wait. The Boomer Sooner will be alive and well in basketball within the next two or three seasons. Dude is legit. My top five for current college (hoops and football combined) head coaches (not including anybody at Iowa State):
1 – Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern Football)
2 – Bill Self (Kansas Basketball)
3 – Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State Football)
4 – Lon Kruger (Oklahoma Basketball)
5 – Tad Boyle (No introduction needed)
Blum, name your top five. Do it quickly too. No research. I want off the cuff reaction here. Go.
1- Scott Drew
2- Gene Chizik….almost got through that with a straight face.
1- Mike Krzyzewski (don’t like him personally…but guy can coach.)
2- Tom Izzo (Michigan State Basketball)
3- Chip Kelly (Oregon Football)
4- Mark Few (Gonzaga Basketball)
5- Chris Petersen (Boise Football)
6- Larry Eustachy
Great question though. If I had a favorite coach in any competition, I’d pick my man Stan Van Gundy. One of brightest/most witty people I’ve ever talked to. SVG!
Williams:Nobody watches the NBA Brent…Again, I keeed, I keeed.
Okay. Let’s pick this weekend’s games.
Iowa State 80, Oklahoma 64 – Yeah by that much.
Baylor 72, Kansas State 67 – The Wildcats have the toughness to matchup with Baylor’s frontcourt. Will be a good game but the Bears re-found their swagger vs. Iowa State.
Missouri 74, Texas A&M 62
Oklahoma State 72, Texas 70 (UPSET ALERT, UPSET ALERT) – The Cowboys have played well after bad losses all season. Plus, winning in front of the 2000-plus in Stillwater is a damn tough thing to do.
Kansas 140, Texas Tech 29
Blum:Nobody will watch the NBA slam dunk show after the four slappies they are throwing at the world to see: Chase Budinger, Iman Shumpert, Paul George and Derrick Williams (your cousin). Embarrassing. Although my money is on George, because you can never go against a man with two first names.
Onto the pics:
Iowa State 78 Oklahoma 69. Will be curious to see if OU doubles Royce like they did last time. That back-fired in a big way, BUT not sure they can single him up either. May see some zone from the Sooners.
Baylor 70 K-State 63. K-State is in danger of unraveling. They go @BU, @Mizzou, then host Iowa State. This team needs a win big-time. But Baylor too much.
Missouri 64 Texas A&M 52. Look for A&M to suck the air out of the ball so they don’t get blitzed. Still won’t help.
Texas 67 Oklahoma State 61. Texas on a roll and OSU appears to be dis-interested after last two outings. Bad recipe.
Kansas 81 Texas Tech 57. Poor Billy.
That’s all I got, gotta go practice my Dougie.