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Basketball

The Breakdown: Missouri @ Iowa State

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher

Marquis Gilstrap will be honored as Iowa State’s lone senior this evening in Ames. The Missouri Tigers (21-8, 9-5) will come to town to take on the Cyclones (14-15, 3-11) in Iowa State’s final home game of 2010.

Will Iowa State pull off the upset? Here is your breakdown.

Breaking down the Tigers

The Tigers have had Iowa State’s number as of late. Missouri has beaten Iowa State in five out of their last six meetings. When these two teams met back on Feb. 10, the Tigers survived at home outlasted the Cyclones, 65-56. Iowa State had a chance to win that game at the end, while only shooting 32.8 percent from the field. Missouri didn’t set the world on fire in that one, as the Tigers only shot 39.7 percent in the contest.

J.T. Tiller led the way for the Tigers in that first meeting, scoring 17 points and recording four rebounds. Missouri’s second leading scorer was Justin Safford, who scored 13 points and recorded nine rebounds. He won’t be in action tonight due to an ACL injury that he suffered last week.

"Steve Moore, who will play more now because of the injury to Safford, is more of a true center,” Greg McDermott said during yesterday’s press conference. “He plays more around the basket. He’s not as comfortable facing the basket. He’s probably not quite as gifted on the perimeter defending, when they switch some ball screens and switch onto guards. Where it hurts them is really their depth in that front line.”

The thing about Missouri is that losing one guy isn’t the end of the world. They are a very balanced basketball team. The Tigers have seven players who average between 7.2 and 14.4 points per game.

The Tigers lost to Kansas State their last time out by a 63-53 final.

Hitting the 3-point shot will be a key for Missouri tonight. The Tigers make 8.0 per game.

Missouri’s Probable Starting Lineup (according to www.cyclones.com)

Keith Ramsey: 6-9, 217-pound Sr. F. – 5.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG
Laurence Bowers: 6-8, 205-pound So. F. – 10.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG
Kim English: 6-6, 200-pound So. G. – 14.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG
J.T. Tiller: 6-3, 200-pound Sr. G. – 8.4 PPG, 3.2 APG
Zaire Taylor: 6-4, 190-pound Sr. G. – 8.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG

Breaking down the Cyclones

At the beginning of the season, nobody projected Iowa State to be in this situation at this point in time. But here we are, on March 2 and the Cyclones are 3-11 in the Big 12 Conference.

Instead of focusing on the Missouri Tigers and a potential NCAA Tournament run, Cyclone fans are busy discussing whether or not Greg McDermott will be in Ames a year from now.

Regardless of your opinion on that matter, a game will be played in Ames tonight. It is likely that this is the last time that Marquis Gilstrap or Craig Brackins will ever compete inside of Hilton Coliseum.

Gilstrap is coming off of his best game of the season for Iowa State. The senior went 10-of-16 from the field to score 26 points in a loss to Colorado on Saturday. Gilstrap led Iowa State in scoring against the Tigers earlier this season with 18 points. Brackins recorded a double-double in that game with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Greg McDermott is 2-5 all-time against Missouri.

In a recruiting note, it is very likely that Southeastern Iowa Community College forward John Wilkins will be in attendance on an unofficial visit.

Prediction

Had Iowa State shot the ball better in Columbia, they would have beaten Missouri the first time these two teams tangled.

I really believe that we’ll see an inspired Iowa State team tonight in Hilton Coliseum. They’ll fight hard for their coach and I’m sure that Craig Brackins will want to go out with a bang, assuming that he’s going to go pro at the end of the season.

Still, I haven’t seen enough consistency out of this team to pick them to upset Missouri. This game will go down to the wire and once again, guard play and the lack of a consistent 3-point shooting threat will plague Iowa State.

The Pick

Missouri 71, Iowa State 68

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