For the Iowa State men’s basketball (17-4, 5-4 Big 12) team, the first half of the conference season was gauntlet. The Cyclones played six games against ranked opponents, while also going on the road five times.
Iowa State will start the second half of their conference schedule this afternoon when the worst team in the league, the TCU Horned Frogs (9-12, 0-9 Big 12) invade Hilton Coliseum.
Despite entering the game winless in Big 12 play, the Horned Frogs have been somewhat formidable so far this season. TCU went on the road in non-conference play and picked up wins over Washington State and Mississippi State.
In their last game out, TCU fell to the Texas Longhorns by only five points. They have also been within single digits at home against West Virginia and Texas Tech, and on the road at Oklahoma in Big 12 play.
“It has been a lot of single digit losses. They’re coming out and competing like they have no losses,” Iowa State sophomore guard Naz Long said. “We have to approach it the same way we would if it was any other game.”
Despite going winless in their first nine league games, Iowa State can’t afford to overlook to the Horned Frogs.
“You have to take it one game at a time,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I know that is cliché but it is true. There are no days off in this league. If you do take a day off you’re probably not going to win.”
The Horned Frogs play a slow it down style and enter the game with one of the lowest scoring offenses in college basketball, averaging 65 points per game.
“They have their type of basketball, they want to play their pace, they want to get you to do the things they want to,” senior forward Melvin Ejim said. “You have to play your basketball and get out in transition, grab those rebounds and go, not let them muck up the game and slow it down.”
The Horned Frogs are led by junior guard Kyan Anderson, who is averaging 15.1 points per game, as well as, 4.8 assists. TCU also gets double-digit scoring outputs from forwards junior Amric Fields (13.6 ppg) and freshman Brandon Parrish (10.2 ppg). A 6-foot-10-inch freshman center named Karviar Shepard is also a big part of the TCU attack, adding 8.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
“Hopefully we will come out and get off to a great start, similar to what we did in both halves against Oklahoma State,” Hoiberg said. “We have to come out and jump on teams and take away some confidence.”
Today’s game will tip at 3 p.m. and be televised on the Big 12 Network. Iowa State has been tabbed as a 20.5 point favorite.