WHAT: No. 23 Iowa State (18-6, 7-4) vs. No. 18 Kansas State (19-5, 9-2)
WHERE: Manhattan, Kan. – Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 16, 3 p.m. (CST)
Chris Williams: This Iowa State team has been its best when Steve Prohm has had its upmost attention. After a shocking loss to TCU, the Cyclones’ backs are against the the wall in a game that feels eerily similar to the Texas Tech game last month. I picked Iowa State to win in Lubbock and will do the same here as I still believe that player-to-player, the Cyclones are the most talented team in the Big 12.
Iowa State 67, Kansas State 62
Jared Stansbury: Man, I am having a hard time picking this one. I feel good about the way Iowa State will respond coming off last week’s loss to TCU, but the Wildcats have been playing so dang well. I even made the case to Rob Gray on Thursday that Barry Brown should be getting more consideration for Big 12 Player of the Year. The Wildcats are so experienced and tough that they’re essentially unshakeable. But, I believe Iowa State will have revenge on the brain in this one and they’ll get it on a Marial Shayok layup with five seconds left.
Iowa State 58, Kansas State 57
Brent Blum: K-State reminds me a lot of the good Tim Floyd teams at Iowa State. They simply out-grind you and force you into their uncomfortable style of game. I do think Iowa State has an advantage with its guards against a KSU team with limited depth on the perimeter. If Wigginton/THT/Shayok /NWB can get KSU in foul difficulty, it could really open up things. This is going to take Iowa State’s best effort of the season and although I think it’s quite possible Iowa State leaves Manhattan with a victory, I’ll pick the conservative route.
Kansas State 68 Iowa State 64
Rob Gray: I’m with Stanz here. I feel like there’s no way ISU doesn’t bounce back strong from last weekend’s clunker vs. TCU, but the Wildcats are on a tear — and always tough in the Octagon of Doom. I dunno. … So here goes: Someone other than Marial Shayok goes off for the Cyclones (top picks, Talen Horton-Tucker or Lindell Wigginton) and one of ISU’s two conference home losses is avenged. Oh, and Shayok gets his, too, as usual.
Iowa State 68, Kansas State 65
Kevin Fitzpatrick: I’d like to think this will be a bounce-back performance since I was expecting one against TCU, only to have the Cyclones turn in a dud of all duds. A week off should provide some kind of remedy, but to come out of it and have to play against one of the best defensive teams in the conference (on the road, no less) is a tall task. I think this one will hinge completely on stopping KSU’s guards from getting penetration off the dribble. If Iowa State can prevent it, they could pull out the big road win. If Barry Brown Jr. and Kamau Stokes can gash the ‘Clones repeatedly, it’s going to be another struggle.
Kansas State 72, Iowa State 69
Kirk Haaland: The Wildcats have been prone to some serious clunkers offensively this season, but that has largely been mitigated since the return of Dean Wade. However, in their first 20 games K-State was making 30.7 percent of their 3-point attempts but in their last four games they’re making 44.8 percent. They are likely due to regress but the question is if that regression starts tomorrow.
Defensively I think Dean Wade is the key with whomever is guarding him, probably a lot of Talen Horton-Tucker, to keep him away from the rim but contest at the 3-point line but Barry Brown’s penetration absolutely has to be limited as to not draw defenders away from Xavier Sneed and Kamau Stokes.
On offense, just make shots. At times against TCU it almost seemed like guys were afraid to take shots or make mistakes. Tyrese Haliburton has to squeeze off some looks from behind the 3-point line instead of shying away in favor of the pump fake and drive that hasn’t been too productive. Also, in Marial Shayok’s last 17 3-point attempts he has made just three and two of them were supremely difficult shots at the end of the game in Norman.
Kansas State 71, Iowa State 69