Jan 31, 2018; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Lindell Wigginton (5) drives the ball past West Virginia Mountaineers forward Teddy Allen (13) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Rachel Mummey-USA TODAY Sports
As if visiting Morgantown and Press Virginia isn’t weird enough, Iowa State will be in a unique situation on Saturday when it takes on West Virginia in a 5 p.m. tip. The Cyclones will likely have only six available players due to Donovan Jackson being in Milwaukee for his father’s funeral and Hans Brase‘s situation uncertain as of right now.
The graduate transfer forward did shootaround with the team on Thursday and is expected to be in uniform Saturday evening, but who knows how many minutes he can give Iowa State.
How that will impact Iowa State’s ability to defeat West Virginia’s pressure will be one of the biggest question marks entering the game. Here are three points on Iowa State’s trip to Morgantown.
1 — How does Iowa State handle Press Virginia?
Obviously, this is always one of the biggest questions when a team goes into Morgantown. It becomes even more important when a team has only six guys at its disposal.
Iowa State barely had any trouble against the press in the team’s win over West Virginia last month, but that was with Jackson in the lineup. Zoran Talley played one of his best games as a Cyclone that night at Hilton Coliseum and will likely be leaned on again this time around.
“I think Zoran’s got to be a big help for us and then Jakolby (Long) and Terrence (Lewis) have got to step up and be good for us in that situation,” Steve Prohm said. “Hope you can put Jeff (Beverly) in some situations where he’s got to make good decisions and give him confidence to do that. Then Lindell (Wigginton)’s got to be very, very good. We’ll miss Donovan in that regard of the extra ball-handler and not having that.”
2 — Can Lindell Wigginton match his performance from the game in Ames?
Iowa State’s super freshman was simply awesome the first time around against the Mountaineers, scoring 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range along with dishing five assists against reigning Big 12 defensive player of the year Jevon Carter.
He was just as good on the other end holding Carter to 7-of-17 shooting from the field and 2-of-8 from deep. If Iowa State can get a performance like that from Wigginton on Saturday, it will give them a much better chance of hanging around on the road in a tough environment.
3 — Who steps up to shoulder some more of the scoring?
In the first game against West Virginia, Jackson knocked down six 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 25 points. Solomon Young, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season following surgery to repair two tears in the meniscus of his left knee, made all six of his field goal attempts and finished with 14 points.
Neither one of them will be there to help Wigginton carry the scoring load. Obviously, some of that responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Cameron Lard, who scored 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds in the first time around.
Talley will be asked to take on some of that load as well, but Iowa State will need Lewis, Long or Beverly to make a serious contribution in that department as well if they have any hope of seriously challenging the Mountaineers. If they’re able to do that, it might not take much for things to get weird.
If they can’t… Well… It might be a long night for the Cyclones in Morgantown.