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Basketball

The Breakdown: Iowa State vs. Nebraska

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher

Iowa State (14-14, 1-12) vs. Nebraska (18-9, 6-7)
Saturday, Feb. 26* 12:45 p.m. @ Hilton Coliseum
Big 12 Network/ESPN3 – Cyclone Radio Network

BREAKING DOWN THE CYCLONES

Iowa State’s probable starters

G: Diante Garrett, 6-4 Sr. – 17.3 PPG, 6.0 APG
G:
Scott Christopherson, 6-3 Jr. – 14.1 PPG, 3.1 RPG
G:
Jake Anderson, 6-2 Sr. – 12.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG
F:
Melvin Ejim, 6-6 Fr. – 10.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG
F:
Calvin Godfrey, 4.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG

Before we begin, know from the start that I am picking Iowa State to win this game. I have no choice. You see, during last Saturday’s CycloneFanatic.com/Wilson Toyota of Ames Postgame Show (on 1460 KXNO), I had a bad case of diarrhea of the mouth. Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of the ‘Skers. I assume that most of you know this by now. After their win over Texas last week, things got a little nuts on the radio. I got a tad bit emotional. It was at that point when I predicted that Doc Sadler’s team would lose their final four games of the regular season. I am one-for-one on that pick. Obviously, this game with the Cyclones is a part of that stretch. So yes, I am picking the Clones to win.

–       It sounds like Jamie Vanderbeken is going to play. I’m not sure if he’ll replace Calvin Godfrey in the starting lineup or not. CLICK HERE to read an Ames Tribune report on how having Vanderbeken back will help the Cyclones score a few more points.

–       Iowa State and Nebraska played their first game against each other in the year 1909. These two schools have locked up 233 times since then and it will all come to an end tomorrow inside of Hilton Coliseum. Nebraska leads the all-time series 131-102. As for the burning question, should these teams continue to play as non-conference opponents? My take is simple. Absolutely not. Tron Smith and I will discuss this on tomorrow’s postgame show, which we’ll broadcast live from Wilson Toyota at 2212 S. Duff Ave. in Ames (shameless plug).

–       With his 16 points in Tuesday’s 76-53 loss to Texas, Diante Garrett moved into 17th on Iowa State’s all-time scoring list with 1,294 points.

–       The streak keeps on going. Scott Christopherson has made a 3-pointer in 30 consecutive games.

–       Melvin Ejim is still the Big 12’s leading offensive rebounder, averaging 3.4 per game.

BREAKING DOWN THE HUSKERS

Nebraska’s probable starters

G: Lance Jeter, 6-3 Sr. – 10.8 PPG, 4.4 APG
G:
Caleb Walker, 6-4 Jr. – 6.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG
G:
Brandon Richardson, 6-0 Jr. – 6.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG
G:
Toney McCray, 6-6 Jr. – 8.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG
C:
Jorge Brian Diaz, 6-11 So. – 10.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG

Is this team really on the bubble? If so, they desperately need to beat the Clones tomorrow. After Nebraska defeated Texas last Saturday, the ‘Skers failed to capitalize against Kansas State on Wednesday, losing to Frank Martin’s team 61-57.

So again, let’s pose this question. Is this an NCAA Tournament team? I say no. I take that stance mainly due to the fact that the ‘Skers have only won one game away from Lincoln all season long. That was a 59-58 victory in Norman (golf clap) on Feb. 16. If Nebraska wins road games at Iowa State (tomorrow) and at Colorado (March 5), then we can talk. Until then, I don’t want to hear it.

Lance Jeter is the straw that stirs the drink for this team. He’s the guy who made that ridiculously good defensive play at the end of the game in Lincoln earlier this year, a game that Iowa State lost 63-62. Jeter leads the Huskers in scoring (10.8), assists (4.4) and steals (1.8) per game.

PREDICTION

Going into last Saturday’s game against Missouri, the Tigers were 0-5 away from Columbia during Big 12 play. Like Mizzou, the ‘Skers struggle away from their home base. The difference? Firepower. Missouri has it. Nebraska doesn’t. From a scoring perspective, the Huskers are a balanced team. When they beat Iowa State on Jan. 8, six players scored six or more points.  Two things make me think Iowa State will win this one though. The above is one. The second is that the Cyclones are simply due. Nine times this year, Iowa State has lost a game by six points or less. This Iowa State basketball season has been like the movie “Groundhog Day.” Over and over and over again, we’ve seen the same thing. The Cyclones are due to win a close basketball game at home. I believe they’ll get one on Saturday vs. Nebraska for the final time in Hilton Coliseum.

THE PICK

Iowa State 68, Nebraska 66