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Baylor basketball travels to Ames to face No. 13 Iowa State

Baylor will travel to Ames, Iowa, to face off against No. 13 Iowa State on Saturday afternoon. Here's what you should know.

Baylor rebounded from a devastating loss against Kansas by dominating Oklahoma State on Tuesday night. However, the Bears have been inconsistent this season, which does not bode well for Saturday's road game against an elite Iowa State squad. 


Baylor (11-3, 1-1) vs. No. 13 Iowa State (12-2, 1-1)


Jan. 9, 2016 | 2:00 p.m. CT


Ames, Iowa | Hilton Coliseum (14,356)


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1. Contain Georges Niang - There is one matchup that could potentially decided this game: Taurean Prince vs. Georges Niang. The latter has been one of the best players in the nation this season, averaging 19.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game on an otherworldy 54.5 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. He has shot over 50 percent in 10 of the Cyclones’ 14 games this season, and below 40 percent only once. Prince averages 15.5 points per game, but shoots only 40.7 percent from the field.

For Baylor to win the game at Hilton Coliseum, Prince will need to outplay Niang. Prince had his first signature performance against No. 16 Vanderbilt on Dec. 6 with his first 30-point game. However, the senior has shot a combined 25 percent from the field against Baylor’s three other ranked matchups (Oregon, Texas A&M, Kansas). He will not only get a chance to score, but will also have an opportunity to get the top defensive matchup. Prince must perform.

2. Dominate the rebounding battle – Iowa State is a fine rebounding team, but this might be a spot Baylor can take advantage. The Cyclones rank No. 7 in the Big 12 with a plus-3.2 rebounding margin. Baylor is all the way up at No. 2, with a plus-11.4 margin. Of course, plenty has to do with Iowa State’s ridiculous offense. The Cyclones are one of only two teams in the Big 12 that shots over 50 percent from the field. When you are that effective in your base offense, rebounding becomes much less of a necessity.

However, Iowa State is not a great offensive rebounding team. The Cyclones rank last in offensive rebound percentage in the Big 12, and star big man Jameel McKay (9.8 rebounds per game) has nearly 40 percent of those boards. It will be up to Rico Gathers to disrupt McKay and open up opportunities for his teammates to get rebounds. Considering the Bears are almost five percentage points worse than ISU from the field, second-chance points will be a major key on the other end too.

3. Disrupt ISU’s rhythm – Iowa State has a devastating base offense. The Cyclones may have lost “The Mayor” Fred Hoiberg, but Steve Prohm has done an excellent job adjusting to the talent at hand. Like I mentioned, Iowa State shoots over 50 percent on the field – only eight Power Five teams can boast that. The Cyclones leverage it into 85.1 points per game. Injuries play a part, but seven players average at least 9.5 points per game. 

When an offense is that well-oiled a machine, you have to find a way to impose your defense. With 8.3 made 3-pointers a game, Scott Drew might need to consider getting out of the zone. PG Lester Medford can be a difference maker, as he leads the Big 12 with 2.43 steals per game. However, the guy on the other side, Monte Morris, leads the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio. This should be one of the top battles to watch on Saturday. 


If you missed either of Baylor's two games agaist Iowa State last year, go back and watch them. Both were some of the most fun basketball the Bears played last season -- and that's saying something. In the most recent meeting of these two teams, No. 19 Baylor upset No. 12 Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum for the first time ever. Kenny Chery led the way with 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Taurean Prince added 20 huge points off the bench.

In the game before that on Jan. 14 in Waco, Chery hit a game-winning mid-range jumper over Iowa State. In that game, Rico Gathers (14 points, 15 rebounds) and Royce O'Neale (15 points, 6-8 FG, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) were the clear stars.   

PREDICTIONS – Baylor loses 73-46 (26% chance for win) – Baylor loses 82-71 (20% chance for win)

Shehan Jeyarajah, - Baylor loses 78-67

Baylor rebounded nicely against Oklahoma State on Tuesday and has the talent to compete in this game. Unfortunately, Hilton Magic doesn't disappear for consecutive seasons. Baylor's signature defense has been somewhat lackluster this season, ranking No. 9 in field goal defense. The Bears had gone over a year without giving up 75 points, but gave up 74, 80 and 102 against the three ranked teams they played this year. Kansas achieved the latter, and Iowa State has a comparably good offense. 

Being a road game against a very sound opponent, this seems like a game where Lester Medford might struggle with control issues. Morris is an incredibly fundamentally sound player, who knows how to take advantage of being overplayed. In Niang, Morris and McKay, Steve Prohm has three guys who have been together for a while and know how to play off each other. Niang struggled both times out last year against Baylor -- expect him to come out with a vengeance and put Baylor away. 

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