Feb 9, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; TCU Horned Frogs guard Alex Robinson (25) drives to the basket as guard Desmond Bane (1) looks on during the second half against the Iowa State Cyclones at Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
KenPom Prediction: 74-73, Iowa State
1 – Mr. Robinson
For any team who plays TCU, forcing the school’s all-time leader in assists, senior guard Alex Robinson, into being a scorer rather than a facilitator is crucial. Robinson is one of the league’s best floor generals and the Horned Frogs’ offense becomes completely unlocked when he is able to penetrate the paint and create for his teammates.
During the first game against TCU — a 92-83 Iowa State loss — Robinson was able to be a creator and it allowed Jamie Dixon’s team to have one of its best offensive performances of the season. The Cyclones making Robinson beat them with his shot rather than his passes will be crucial in Saturday’s game.
2 – Rebounding Woes
This is an obvious one after the way Baylor was able to dominate the glass in its 73-69 win at Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday. The Cyclones need to do a better job rebounding the basketball and as much as that puts weight on the shoulders of Cam Lard and Mike Jacobson, it also comes down to the team’s guards doing a better job of crashing the glass as well.
Steve Prohm has put a major focus on being tougher on the glass since the loss to Bears. The Horned Frogs grabbed 11 offensive rebounds in the first meeting between these two teams, which coupled with shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor completely sank Iowa State’s chances.
“Everybody should be ticked off,” Prohm said on Thursday. “When you lose a home game, everything gets magnified. We’ve done a lot of really good things up to this point. You’ve got to put some things into perspective… We weren’t very good. We got out-toughed.”
Iowa State has been really good on the road this season for the most part and that is because they have never allowed themselves to be out-toughed like they were on Tuesday. That pattern will have to hold true on Saturday in Fort Worth in order to leave with a victory.
“We know the talent we have in the room. We know what we can do,” Jacobson said. “We’ve obviously won some huge games this year. I think we know that if we’re right, we can beat anybody. If we’re not right, we can get beat by anyone, too. We’ve got to focus our mindset would be the biggest thing, I guess. I don’t think it’s anything physical or talent-wise or anything like that. I think it’s more mental than anything.”
3 – Fast Start
Iowa State dug itself a huge hole in the first loss to the Horned Frogs when they allowed a 22-2 run after starting out the game up 13-4. Once TCU was able to build that momentum, the Cyclones had almost no chance to slowing the ball from rolling straight downhill.
It will be important for Iowa State to come out of the gates with the intensity Prohm has talked about over the last several days. When Iowa State plays with that high-level intensity, they’ve proven to be arguably the best team in the league.
When they don’t, well, losses like two weeks ago to the Horned Frogs and Tuesday night to the Bears will happen. Iowa State needs a fast start on Saturday in Fort Worth and if they get it, the chances of leaving with a win will be high.