Basketball

WILLIAMS: Five things to watch for in ISU’s exhibition game

The 109th season of Iowa State basketball will unofficially tip off on tonight when the 7th ranked Cyclones host Grand Valley State in an exhibition game.

Now granted, it is generally difficult to actually learn much about top 10 teams when going up against Division II programs in games that don’t actually count, but being that Iowa State has a new coach, I feel like this year’s is especially interesting. 

Here are five things that I will be watching for on Friday night in Hilton Coliseum.

1 – Not the rotation

One through six, Iowa State is set and there’s no question about that.

Plus, exhibition games aren’t where coaches generally test out rotations. Tonight will be used to go deep into the bench to see what’s there in a game setting. 

This brings me to No. 2.

2 – Production from guys 7-9

I’m not sure Iowa State has ever entered a season where there are no questions at all at one through six. I think that at this point, we know exactly what to expect from all of those guys, right?

Tonight, I’ll be especially watching seven through nine.

Hallice Cooke, Simeon Carter and Jordan Ashton, I’m looking at you. 

Are any of these guys going to be able to give Iowa State anything early in the season when Deonte Burton isn’t eligible?

Probably, but how much exactly? We won’t know the answer to this after tonight, but it will be nice to finally see them in action.

3 – Are they really going to play like Fred?

Steve Prohm says that they will…

Again, we probably won’t get a true answer to this tonight but to the naked eye, I’ll be interested to see how the team flows.  

4 – Will the Cyclones live and die by the 3?

Iowa State hit 17 3-pointers in its exhibition win over Tulane.

Jameel McKay thinks that he’s Steve Kerr these days, apparently.

Against a D-2 team, Iowa State should dominate in the paint.

5 – What about defense? 

When it comes to “Prohm Ball,” this is really the headline, right? A new focus on defensive intensity…

There are a lot of questions heading into the new season. As I’ve referenced multiple times, we probably won’t learn a ton tonight. 

However, it’s damn fun to be thinking about hoops again, no?

See you guys at Hilton.