With Tyrese Haliburton out for the season, Iowa State’s season is all but over. You wouldn’t have known that Saturday though, with the Cyclones beating Texas by nearly 30 points. They’ll be eager to avenge their own near 30-point loss to Kansas in Ames a month or so ago when they visit Allen Fieldhouse tonight.
Iowa State has been somewhat impressive offensively so far this season, ranking middle of the pack in the Big 12 in terms of points per possession, but their “inputs” so to speak have been a bit more impressive with the Cyclones ranking 4th in 3-point percentage and 3rd in 2-point percentage in the Big 12. Their big problems have been an inability to crash the offensive glass and inability to get to the free throw line, which has sort of been the case in recent years, but this year they have added the wrinkle of turning it over too much as well - and that’s with Haliburton. Without him, their offense is frankly probably dead in the water.
Defensively, the Cyclones have really struggled. They rank last in the Big 12, although they still don’t allow a point per possession in league play. Some of that is due to opponents shooting really well from 3 against them, but they rank 8th in 2-point defense as well, and are in the bottom half in forcing turnovers, preventing offensive rebounds, and preventing teams from getting to the line.
Players to Watch
Rasir Bolton, 6-3 sophomore guard
With Haliburton out, Bolton should assume a lot of the perimeter scoring duties. He shoots just 33 percent from three, but is a really good free throw shooter, which suggests he could be due for an uptick in percentage. Hopefully not tonight.
George Conditt, 6-10 sophomore forward
It’s surprising Iowa State’s 2-point defense has been so bad with one of the better rim protectors in the conference in Conditt, who has a block rate over 10 percent. He’s also the team’s best rebounder.
Michael Jacobson, 6-9 senior forward
Jacobson has had a rough season, but seems to relish the opportunity to play the Jayhawks. He had 10 points and 3 offensive rebounds in the prior meeting, and had 14 points on 8 shots in the Big 12 title game last March.
Haliburton’s injury means that barring a miracle this game is mostly about staying healthy for the showdown with Baylor on Saturday. Of course, Kansas doesn’t want to look ahead either, but even if they do a bit they should be fine. Currently Kansas is favored by 16.5, and I usually get queasy about lines over 15 points. I don’t see how Iowa State keeps it close sans Haliburton though. I’ll take the Jayhawks to win 76-57.
2020 Record ATS: 14-10