3-Point Preview: No. 23 Iowa State visits No. 8 Texas

Jan 17, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Tamin Lipsey (3) defends the shot from Texas Longhorns guard Sir’Jabari Rice (10) during the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Location: Austin, Texas

Time: 8 p.m.

TV: Longhorn Network

KenPom Prediction: 71-66, Texas

1 – Finishing Games

Iowa State’s biggest downfall in conference play has been an inconsistent ability to play 40 quality minutes. The Cyclones have lost six of their last 10 games with one of those losses coming to Missouri in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

In the five conference losses during that stretch, Iowa State has led by double digits in three of them and held second-half leads in the other two. That inability to finish games has been the difference between contending for a Big 12 regular season championship and fighting to finish above .500 for the first time since 2016-17.

“Our guys have a great intent to start the game,” Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “I feel like we get off to a great start. We’re really trying to emphasize that focus after halftime because we feel like, for us, we come out after half and we get stops right away, we put ourselves in a great situation. That’s not what happened in Manhattan on Saturday. That’s where we’re really trying to have our focus. Defensive intent, the same one that we have to start the game. Let’s have that to start the second half. I think that’s a good part of it.”

One of the biggest lingering issues in those losses has been the constant state of foul trouble, especially in the front court. If you’re wondering why your favorite front court player hasn’t been on the floor more, the following numbers might help you understand why.

Osun Osunniyi is averaging 5.3 fouls per 40 minutes. Robert Jones is averaging 6.4 fouls per 40 minutes. Tre King is averaging 6.7 fouls per 40 minutes. Hason Ward is averaging 7.7 fouls per minute.

Now, remember, none of these guys will be playing 40 minutes, but even playing someone who is averaging around six fouls per 40 minutes for 20 minutes is worth an average of three fouls. Iowa State has three of those guys, which is already has nearly put the opposing team into the bonus.

Add in the fact two of Iowa State’s top guards average three or more fouls per 40 minutes and two others average 2.9 and 2.6 and you’ve got the equation for approximately 25 opposing foul shot attempts per night.

You’ve also got the recipe for how your best players end up sitting on the bench when the most important stretches of the game arrive.

“Well, we believe that when guys are the aggressor, when you’re the one that’s attacking your opponent on both sides, that you put yourself in a position where you’re not the one fouling,” Otzelberger said. “We don’t want to be on our heels, we want to be the first to block out, the first on the ball screen coverage to call and be up at the point of the screen. We want to do everything aggressively and proactively and the aggressive team usually seems the one that doesn’t get fouls called against it as much.”

2 – Names to know

What makes Texas’ team good enough to be on the verge of winning the Big 12? Well, it helps to have a bunch of really good players.

The list of good players starts with senior guard Marcus Carr, a former teammate of Iowa State’s Gabe Kalscheur at Minnesota. We all know Carr. We all know he’s a ball-dominant guard who looks to get to his spots along the perimeter and in the mid-range and has a tendency to seemingly forget there’s four other players on the court with him until the shot clock is about to run out.

Iowa State did a great job on Carr in the first match-up, holding him to 11 points on 4-of-9 from the field with four assists and four turnovers.

“They’ve got two older experienced guards that have really made plays for them down the stretch,” Otzelberger said. “When you’re going to win close games, especially in this league, I think they’ve probably had like six close games that they’ve won, usually it’s going to come down to that guard, play late, making fall shots, taking care of the basketball, those guys have done a great job of that, which I think is really helped put them in a good situation.”

Timmy Allen is one of the league’s most unique and versatile players with the ability to score all over the court, but an especially adept ability to score in the mid-post area. He does a great job of getting to the free throw line and will challenge Iowa State’s front court specifically in that regard.

Sir’Jabari Rice will be the league’s Sixth Man of the Year and has been the Longhorns’ best player on a lot of nights during league play, including in Saturday’s overtime win over Oklahoma when he scored 24 points and went 8-of-13 from the field.

“With Rice, he’s playing at such a high level right now,” Otzelberger said. “You’ve got to be aware of his shot fake but you also have to be aware he’s playing at a high level of confidence. You can’t let him get going or to get in rhythm.”

“With Rice, he’s playing at such a high level right now,” Otzelberger said. “You’ve got to be aware of his shot fake but you also have to be aware he’s playing at a high level of confidence. You can’t let him get going or to get in rhythm.”

3 – Intensity

I would be very surprised if this game didn’t feature some sort of extracurricular fireworks even if Caleb Grill doesn’t play for Iowa State.

The senior guard was at the center of a lot of the antics in the first meeting between these two teams, but suffered the lingering back injury that continues to plague him in that win.

Obviously, the presence of Iowa State transfer guard Tyrese Hunter on the Longhorn roster increases the heat on this one, too.

“I think it’s gonna be very intense, especially with how we won here,” Iowa State guard Jaren Holmes said. “They’re gonna try to come out, probably with a little more energy and more excitement. We’re gonna do the same thing. We’re gonna come out and be ready to play.”

Iowa State really relished in the opportunity to take it to Texas the first time these two teams met back on Jan. 17 at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones will need to bring a similar level of swagger if they hope to go on the road and come home with a similar result.

Best believe, Texas will relish the opportunity to take it to Iowa State if the opportunity presents itself.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.