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Basketball

The Breakdown: Colorado @ Iowa State

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher

Must win?

I’d say so. Colorado (11-9, 2-4) comes to town tonight for men’s basketball action against your Iowa State Cyclones (12-8, 1-4).

Will the Cyclones get back on the right track? Let’s break it down.

Breaking down the Buffaloes

While I really think that Colorado is better than their record indicates, one thing is for sure when breaking down the Buffs. That is that they are a terrible road team. Colorado hasn’t won a Big 12 game away from Boulder since Jan. 21, 2006. That is 32 straight conference road losses in a row for this program. This year’s road losses have come to Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Colorado’s two conference wins were against Nebraska and Baylor.

The thing about this year’s Colorado team has proven is that they are tough. Rick Barnes told Iowa State reporters that Colorado took them to the wire physically. Gonzaga only got the Buffs by four in this week’s Maui Invitational. In that same tournament, Colorado took Arizona to overtime. Trust me when I write that this Colorado team can hold their own. They are very talented.

It all starts with junior guard Cory Higgins. He is currently averaging 18.2 points per game, a mark that ranks him fourth in the Big 12. Higgins is very good but the guy who has caught the majority of Boulder’s attention is freshman guard Alec Burks. He’s the best freshman in the conference as far as scoring goes, averaging 17.2 points per game. That mark puts him at eighth in the conference.

Iowa State leads the all-time series with Colorado 75-67. If history tells us anything, the Cyclones should win tonight, as the home team is very successful when these two schools get together. Iowa State is 46-18 against the Buffs in Ames and have only lost to Colorado five times in the history of Hilton Coliseum. On the other hand, Colorado is 46-16 against Iowa State in Boulder.

Colorado’s probable starters, according to www.cyclones.com

Austin Dufault: 6-9, 230-pound So. F. – 6.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG
Nate Tomlinson: 6-3, 185-pound So. G. – 5.9 PPG, 4.3 APG
Marcus Relphorde: 6-7, 220-pound Jr. G. – 10.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG
Alec Burks: 6-6, 185-pound Fr. G. – 17.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Cory Higgins: 6-5, 190-pound Jr. G. – 18.2 PPG, 3.7 RPG

Breaking down the Cyclones

Let me set a scenario for everybody. After reading these statements, think to yourself if before the Oklahoma game, you would have thought that Iowa State would win that particular contest.

Willie Warren and Tony Crocker would sit out for Oklahoma

Iowa State would have six players in double figures.

Iowa State would outrebound Oklahoma.

Iowa State would shoot 58.9 percent from the field and score 84 points.

Most of you would have taken that before hand right?

Those stats don’t tell the accurate story though. . The Cyclones spotted an undermanned Sooner team a 16-point halftime lead, only to come back, make it a game and lose by five in the end. When you turn the basketball over 14 times in the first half and 18 overall, you won’t win many basketball games, especially on the road in the Big 12.

So what team will show up tonight? The lackluster first half team that played Oklahoma or the fierce second half squad?

Prediction

Iowa State desperately needs to just win this game. But I am of the opinion that they need to win by a lot. This team needs to get any bit of swagger back possible and the Buffs are coming to town at the perfect time for Iowa State. The problem is, Colorado plays that pesky Princeton offense that seems to trouble Iowa State. I’m optimistic that we’ll see a Cyclone victory tonight, but it will be close.

Iowa State 76, Colorado 72

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