Sunday's win over Michigan had the feel of a postseason game. Seven guys played while the four role players still jockeying for minutes — Daniel Edozie and Percy Gibson in the front court, Sherron Dorsey-Walker and K.J. Bluford in the back court — remained on the bench.
Given the circumstances for Wednesday's game at BYU, 4,549 feet above sea level, one or two of those will get minutes as the altitude will take its toll.
"Two years ago and playing at Colorado, it was tough playing up there," senior Melvin Ejim said. "You've got to get used to that and be prepared for that, mentally. You can get winded quick but you've got to be able to get your second wind back."
For now, though, let's take a look at the shot charts of the seven players firmly entrenched in Fred Hoiberg's rotation. For the aforementioned four, nothing has changed with them, and you can find their charts after two games right here.
Long has attempted three two-point shots, and he's clearly settling into his role as long-range gunner (although he's not nearly the bomber K.J. Bluford is; when he's on the floor, Bluford takes 35.7 percent of the Cyclones' shots).
Long is 6-for-8 (75) percent from the left corner, his sweet spot. He's quite good from everywhere, though. He has yet to attempt a shot in the right corner.
Ejim remains an interior beast and if he can hit the three-point shot at a level he did last season (34.8), he'll at least make defenses respect him at the top of the key, opening up room inside for Georges Niang and whoever's cutting toward the rim.
The long two-point isn't a good shot, but it's one Ejim has to take if he's open.
I say it's still too early, but this is clearly not who Thomas is — I've seen him take plenty of practice shots and he routinely draws his streak of consecutive makes into the double-digits.
Thomas is all over the place, as the shot chart will indicate. The Cyclones are trying to get him open looks wherever they can. Right now the shots just aren't falling.
Actually, Thomas looked hesitant against the Wolverines. See that red dot inside the three-point line on the right wing? Thomas passed up an open three to take (and make) that. That's not what Hoiberg wants — it carries the same two-point value as a layup and is considerably harder, all the while being a foot away from a better three-point reward.
Niang has six turnovers thus far, a higher mark than he had last season. His shot has also been inconsistent — 25 percent from the three-point line and lots of green down low. One of the things I love about keeping tabs on the shot chart is the affirmation it gives to the eye test.
For instance, you'll watch a game and say, 'Wow, Niang takes a lot of threes from the top of the key.' Then you look at the shot chart, and that backs it up. Fifty percent of his attempts have come there.
By the way, Kane's assist rate is 33.2, No. 97 nationally.
I don't know, and that's why I'm excited to see where this goes.
As two-point shots are concerned, Morris is hitting 28.6 percent. A vexing problem: The Cyclones want Morris going hard to the hoop, because he'll make his free throws, but he hasn't yet proven to be an apt finisher.