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Basketball

The Breakdown: Iowa State vs. Montana State

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher

Iowa State (5-0) vs. Montana State (5-1)
Saturday, Nov. 26 * 1 p.m. – Hilton Coliseum
Mediacom – Cyclone Radio Network

At some point, the 2010-11 Iowa State Cyclones have to start missing some shots. Or do they? Fred Hoiberg’s roster hasn’t been winning basketball games. They’ve been blowing people out. After Wednesday’s 91-51 spanking of Kennesaw State, the Cyclones are now 5-0 heading into Saturday’s contest with Montana State. A date with in-state rival Northern Iowa looms on Wednesday.

Here’s an abbreviated holiday breakdown for Saturday’s game.

BREAKING DOWN THE CYCLONES

Iowa State’s probable starters

G: Diante Garrett, 6-4 Sr. – 17.6 PPG, 6.8 APG
G: Jake Anderson, 6-2 Sr. – 13.0 PPG, 9.4 RPG
G: Scott Christopherson, 6-3 Jr. – 14.4 PPG
F: Melvin Ejim, 6-6 Fr. – 15.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG
F: Jamie Vanderbeken, 6-11 Sr. – 12.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG

Live by the three…Live by the three. The Cyclones have yet to feel the wrath falling in love the 3-point shot so far this season. Iowa State shot 52.6 percent from 3-point range against Kennesaw State. That was the third time this season that Iowa State has made 10 or more threes in a game. As a whole, the Cyclones are shooting 46.2 percent from 3-point range on the season. That leads the Big 12 and ranks fourth nationally.

BREAKING DOWN THE BOBCATS

Montana State’s probable starters

G: Erik Rush, 6-5 Sr. – 17.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG
G: Rod Singleton, 5-10 Jr. – 10.8 PPG, 4.3 APG
F: Bobby Howard, 6-7, Sr. – 19.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG
F: Danny Piepoli, 6-6 Sr. – 9.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG
C: Cody Anderson, 6-10 Jr. – 1.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG

Montana State doesn’t have the talent to stand up to Iowa State in this one. They will have the confidence though. The Bobcats are off to their best start (5-1) since 1997, after racking up wins over Central Michigan, Cal State Fullerton, Minot State, Cal Poly and San Francisco. Their one loss came to Hawaii in this year’s Rainbow Classic.

Montana State is an experienced basketball team that was picked to finish fifth in the Big Sky Conference. For comparisons sake, Iowa State’s season opening opponent, Northern Arizona, was picked to finish second in that league. Iowa State won that game 78-64.

Experience and shooting are this team’s strengths. Montana State starts three seniors along with two juniors. The Bobcats have made 36.6 percent of their 3-pointers this season and are averaging seven or more treys per game this season.

Senior Bobby Howard leads the way for Montana State, averaging 19.-0 points per game. He was a first team All-Big Sky preseason selection.

NOTEBOOK

–       Iowa State and Montana State have played twice in this series’ history. Iowa State beat the Bobcats back on Jan. 6, 1941. Montana State returned the favor by defeating the Cyclones on Jan. 5, 1958. The series is tied at 1-1.

–       The Cyclones are 9-1 all-time vs. Big Sky teams. That one loss came to Montana State.

–       Fred Hoiberg is the third coach in Iowa State history to begin his career with a 5-0 record. Ironically, the two men who coached before him (Wayne Morgan and Greg McDermott) did the same.

PREDICTION

Best thing about the Kennesaw State win? The Cyclones jumped out and crushed that team’s confidence early on. There’s no need to give the Montana State’s of the world any sort of momentum at all. Get a big lead early and get ready for the rest of the week. With a road trip to Northern Iowa on Wednesday and Cal coming to town next Saturday, business is about to pick up for this basketball team. I see this as a TCB (taking care of business) game. We have yet to see a Fred Hoiberg coached basketball team not get up for a game. There’s no need to break that trend now.

THE PICK

Iowa State 83, Montana State 61