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Basketball

The Breakdown: Iowa State vs. Kansas State

By Chris Williams, CycloneFantaic.com Publisher

Iowa State (14-9, 1-7) vs. Kansas State (15-8, 3-5)
Saturday, Feb. 5 * Hilton Coliseum @ 12:45 p.m.
Big 12 Network/ESPN 3 – Cyclone Radio Network

BREAKING DOWN THE CYCLONES

Iowa State’s probable starters

G: Diante Garrett, 6-4 Sr. – 17.7 PPG, 5.9 APG
G:
Scott Christopherson, 6-3 Jr. – 13.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG
G:
Jake Anderson, 6-2 Sr. – 12.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG
F:
Melvin Ejim, 6-6 Fr. – 11.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG
F:
Jamie Vanderbeken, 6-11 Sr. – 11.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG

Below are some quick hits on tomorrow’s game regarding your Iowa State Cyclones.

–       Knocking down some 3-pointers early and often would be nice, but how about a little defense? Over the last five games, Iowa State has given up an average of 90.4 points to the opposition. In all fairness, two of those games went into overtime. But still, can we get a stop fellas?

–       Did you know? That Diante Garrett is responsible for 47.4 percent of Iowa State’s field goals this season, which ranks the second most among all BCS Conference schools.

–       If the Cyclones are going to have a prayer in this one, they can’t get down early. That’s been the theme of this losing skid. Last Tuesday, Colorado jumped out to an early 20-5 lead.

–       Iowa State has been outrebouned in seven of eight Big 12 games this season. The Cyclones beat Oklahoma on the glass last Saturday, but still lost the game 82-76 in overtime.

–       It was good to see (or listen to) Scott Christopherson play up to his potential in Boulder. Despite the lopsided loss, Christopherson scored 24 points while going 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

–       Lost in the rout, Bubu Palo came off the bench to record nine points, six rebounds and five assists vs. the Buffs. I expect to see more of him on Saturday.

–       Kansas State leads the all-time series vs. the Cyclones 132-77.

BREAKING DOWN THE WILDCATS

Kansas State’s probable starters

G: Rodney McGruder, 6-5, So. – 11.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG
G:
Shane Southwell, 6-6 Fr. – 1.4 PPG, 1.7 RPG
G:
Jacob Pullen, 6-1 Sr. – 18.1 PPG, 3.5 APG
F:
Jamar Samuels, 6-7 Jr. – 9.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG
F:
Curtis Kelly, 6-8 Sr. – 10.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG

When looking at this matchup, two stats stand out to me regarding Kansas State. One is positive for Iowa State. The other, not so much. Start with the good?

Kansas State is 0-4 on the road this year in Big 12 play. The Wildcats have lost to Oklahoma State, Missouri, Texas A&M and Kansas on the road. Three of those are the top-level teams in the Big 12 so no, it isn’t embarrassing. But still, Kansas State is 0-4 away from Manhattan and the Cats are losing by an average of 15.5 points per game on the road.

The bad news? This is a physical Kansas State basketball team. What they do best is what Iowa State can’t do at all. That’s rebound the basketball. The Wildcats are the Big 12’s second best rebounding team and rank ninth in America, with a +8.2 margin on the season.

PREDICTION

Kansas State has more talent. They’re also coming off of an impressive 16-point victory over Nebraska last Wednesday. Iowa State is playing its worst basketball of the season. For no reason would any logical human being pick the Cyclones to win this bad boy.

That’s what I’m doing though. Regardless of what the numbers tell you, it is hard to win on the road in this league and a lot of the things that happen simply don’t make any sense. Kansas State is a bad road team and the Cyclones are due to play better in front of a home crowd on Saturday. Maybe this is blind faith. I don’t know. But I’m going with my gut over my brain in this specific case.

THE PICK

Iowa State 83, Kansas State 78