There has been quite a drop-off from Iowa State's impressive wins and its snoozers. Using kenpom.com ratings, the Cyclones (8-0) have four three wins over top 50 teams and another over No. 110 Northern Iowa.
Then there's blowouts against No. 248 UNC Wilmington, No. 326 Texas A&M Corpus Christi, No. 276 UMKC and No. 209 Auburn.
Few teams — maybe none — have three wins as sterling as Iowa State's over Michigan, at BYU, at against Iowa. But the line of demarcation between good and horrible teams is the reason the Cyclones have played just the 165th-toughest schedule thus far, according to kenpom.
Tonight in Hawai'i against George Mason provides an opportunity to fill out the resume some more. First up is No. 135 George Mason (5-4), which returns all five starters from a 22-16 NCAA Tournament team a year ago.
If Iowa State beats George Mason, it'll play the winner of Oregon State (101) and Akron (81) on Monday.
The Patriots don't do much of anything well on offense and rank poorly in that regard: They turn the ball over 21.9 percent of the time and they shoot 30.9 percent from distance.
But defensively, coach Paul Hewitt's man-based defense has been one of the best in the nation. Overall, kenpom tabs George Mason as the 54th-best defense and it ranks in the top 50 in turnovers and offensive rebounds allowed.
Perhaps it's a product of who they've played, but it's notable the Patriots have held the opposition to 25.6 percent from the three-point line, a mark that ranks fourth in the country.
Players to Watch
Wright is coming off a seven-point outing against Oklahoma to snap a string of three impressive performances: 27 points against Princeton, 16 against Rhode Island and 22 against South Florida.
Allen has scored 10 or more points the last five games, but hasn't been too efficient, shooting over 50 percent in just two of those contests.
Kenpom thinks Iowa State will win, 80-69, and gives the Cyclones a 84 percent chance of winning. The Vegas line is Iowa State (-11).