The Iowa State men’s basketball team is looking to bounce back tonight on the road in Austin, Texas against Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns.
The Longhorns have been up-and-down in Smart’s first season at the helm, including a two-point win over North Carolina in early December. The lows have come recently with a one-point loss to TCU on Saturday.
Here are the 10 numbers you need to know before Iowa State and Texas tip off at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2.
The Longhorns enter the game with a 9-6 record which has earned them a No. 58 ranking by KenPom. They are No. 61 in Adjusted Offense (109) and No. 77 in Adjusted Defense (98.2). Other teams around them include LSU at No. 56 and Colorado at No. 66.
The Longhorns played one of the toughest schedules in the country by any measure. CBS Sports has them with the nation’s second toughest schedule, while ESPN has them at No. 3 by their standards. KenPom has them at No. 27. They’ve played five games against the RPI top 50, and five more against the RPI top 100.
Texas’ offense has been pretty average by Big 12 standards scoring 73.5 points per game during the first 15 games of the season. That mark is good for seventh in the Big 12. Their 67.7 Opponent points per game is eighth in the Big 12 and 55th nationally.
Junior guard Isaiah Taylor is having a breakout season during his third year in Austin while averaging 16.4 points and 4.8 assists per game. He is third in the Big 12 in scoring behind Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield (26.6 ppt) and Iowa State’s Georges Niang (19.4 ppg). He’s shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from 3-point range this season.
Senior center Cameron Ridley was an absolute force down low for the Longhorns in the first 11 games of the year averaging 12.7 points and 10 rebounds per game, but he is now out indefinitely after suffering a foot injury a few weeks ago. Texas has lost three of four games without him.
The Longhorns haven’t exactly torn the cover off the ball from 3-point range this season, and they hit a low point Saturday against TCU. They shot just 14.3 percent (3-21) from behind the arc, well below their season average of 34.2 percent.
Texas’ shooting struggles haven’t just come from behind the arc as they shoot 43.6 percent from the floor. That number is good for eighth in the Big 12. Only two of their major players shoot about 40 percent.
Smart’s teams at VCU were known for their high-pressure, intense defense that often extended full-court. This year’s Texas team will likely rely on that same pressure more without Ridley, but they’ve struggled to force turnovers. Their 5.0 steals per game is tenth in the Big 12 and 297th in the NCAA.
The Longhorns have been almost automatic at home with seven of their nine wins coming at the Frank Erwin Center.
In those previously mentioned five games against the RPI top 50 the Longhorns have a 2-3 record with wins over North Carolina and UT-Arlington. The losses have been against Michigan, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Iowa State enter’s tonight’s game No. 19.
Those are the numbers. Let’s play ball.