Scouting K-State: Iowa State ends regular season in Farmageddon game

Iowa State Cyclones men’s basketball head coach T. J. Otzelberger greets Kansas State men’s basketball head coach Jerome Tang (right) before the game in the Big-12 conference showdown of an NCAA college basketball at Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in Ames, Iowa.

No. 6 Iowa State (24-6, 13-4) will head to Manhattan, Kansas for a clash with Kansas State (17-13, 7-10) Saturday afternoon in its Big 12 conference regular season finale (1:00 p.m., ESPN2).

The Cyclones are coming off an emotional 68-63 comeback win over BYU on Wednesday night. The team completed a 14-point second half comeback to finish undefeated in Hilton Coliseum for the first time since the 2000-2001 season.

Kansas State is entering Saturday’s contest with two straight road losses, the most recent in a 90-68 loss to Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse Tuesday.

About the Wildcats

After making a Cinderella run to the Elite 8 in last year’s NCAA Tournament, Wildcats coach Jerome Tang and his team are in jeopardy of missing the tournament this season.

With the Big 12 tournament less than a week away, Kansas State (as of March 8) is slotted in the 7-10 matchup as the 10-seed playing the Texas Longhorns. The winner of that game would face Iowa State in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.

Tang’s three-headed guard lineup does most of their scoring on the offensive end. The trio of Tylor Perry, Cam Carter, and Arthur Kaluma combine for 62 percent of Kansas State’s scoring output – the highest percentage of scoring by any trio in the Big 12 conference. But the offense starts with Perry.

The senior guard has been on a tear for the last two weeks. He had scored in double figures in five straight games leading up to the Kansas game where he was held without a made field goal.

Perry’s shooting numbers aren’t staggering, but he can light it up from the 3-point line. In the two previous games before the Kansas game, Perry recorded back-to-back games with six made 3-pointers. In the first matchup with Iowa State, the Cyclones held Perry to 7 points on 2-9 shooting. With Perry at 5-foot-11, the length of Keshon Gilbert and Curtis Jones bothered his shooting, and fans should look for the Cyclones to repeat that effort on the defensive end Saturday.

In the frontcourt, the Wildcats have relied on a duo of Will McNair Jr. and David N’Guessan. The 6-foot-9 forward, averages 7.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while the 6-foot-11 McNair scores 7.9 points and grabs 5.4 rebounds per game.

When the Wildcats came to Ames in January, McNair and N’Guessan combined for 13 points on 5-12 shooting and recorded just three rebounds. The Cyclones dominated Kansas State on the glass, out-rebounding them by 13. That included 13 offensive rebounds. Iowa State will try to replicate that rebounding effort on Saturday, especially on the offensive end.

Kansas State freshman Dai Dai Ames is coming off one of his best games in a Wildcat jersey. The 6-foot-1 guard scored 10 points and dished out 3 assists in the loss to Kansas. On the season, Ames is scoring 4.8 points and 1.7 assists per game. Ames is becoming more and more confident by the game, especially from the 3-point line. Contesting his shot attempts and forcing him to turn the ball over will lead to transition opportunities on the other end.

All eyes on the state of Texas

Iowa State is still in the hunt for at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title entering the last game of the regular season. The Cyclones were picked to finish seventh in the preseason Big 12 poll and have exceeded expectations with a chance to split the title or finish alone in second place.

The Houston Cougars are sitting at 14-3 in league play with one game to go. Kelvin Sampson’s squad welcomes No. 14 Kansas to town. If the Jayhawks can go into the Fertitta Center and knock off the Cougars, the Cyclones will split the regular season title with Houston if they get the win in Manhattan. It would be the first time since the 2000-2001 season that Iowa State has won at least a share of the Big 12 title.

This feels like a vintage moment for Kansas and coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks Are looking for another signature win to help boost their NCAA Tournament resume and no win would be better than beating the No. 1 ranked team in the country on the road. Self’s team has a chance to end Houston’s undefeated home record and make Iowa State the only team in the conference with an undefeated home record.

Along with the hunt for a Big 12 regular season championship, the Cyclones are still trying to lock down a 2-seed in Omaha for the NCAA Tournament. The other team along with Kansas in the hunt for a top 2-seed is Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears.

The Bears head to Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday night for a clash with the Red Raiders. It will be the first time this season that the two programs will face each other. According to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, Baylor is the top 3-seed looking to jump into the 2-seed line with a loss to any teams in the top 8 overall seeds.

An Iowa State win and losses for Baylor and Houston would set up for an standout day for Cyclone fans.