Looking for Revenge

Any loss hurts the Cyclones, but if the pundits are already projecting them to lose both road contest, they'd better take care of business at Hilton Coliseum

There's this nifty Big 12 basketball tourney bracket generator going around — Click Here — in which one can experiment with different game outcomes to project the tourney's bracket for mid-March.

Iowa State has but four games left. If you project the No. 15 Cyclones to win tonight against West Virginia (7 p.m., Big 12 Network), lose to Kansas State and Baylor on the road and beat Oklahoma State at home — kenpom's game predictions have ISU losing those two road games by close margins — and then press "submit" without changing any of the projected picks, you'll see the Cyclones as the No. 4 seed in the Big 12, set to face Texas in Thursday's quarterfinals and then most likely Kansas in the semis.

If you want to tweak it some, say Iowa State beats Baylor on the road, while leaving the other picks (OSU beats KSU in Stilly, OU beats Texas at home) the same.* The Cyclones are suddenly the No. 3 seed in Kansas City, facing No. 6 West Virginia, No. 2 Oklahoma in the semis and not big, bad Kansas (or Texas or K-State) until Saturday's finale.

So that'd be big.

*The site has TCU beating Oklahoma on March 8 in Fort Worth. Despite this being a road game, I'd pick the Sooners.

The next week or so will make the picture clearer, the less games there are to project, especially after ISU plays at Kansas State this weekend. But if there's one thing for certain right now, other than KU taking the No. 1 seed, it's this: Any loss hurts the Cyclones, but if the pundits are already projecting them to lose both road contest, they'd better take care of business at Hilton Coliseum.

Which sets us up for tonight's matchup, for which we get to sprinkle in some of the revenge factor, West Virginia having kicked ISU around in Morgantown a few weeks back, 102-77, and Dustin Hogue having literally kicked a WVU player. As retaliation, Monté Morris was punched while going to the hoop by Eron Harris, earning Harris a Flagrant 2 and the ejection. Hogue was assessed a Flagrant 1.

"Obviously you're gonna have that date circled on your calendar when a team beats you that bad on their homecourt," Georges Niang said Monday. "Obviously we're excited to get them in here and get things rolling.

"(The loss feels) pretty fresh. I have a pretty good memory of what it felt like walking off that court."

As for Morris, he'll refrain from any baseball-type retribution with Harris: "We went out there and good embarrassed. The only revenge I've got is to play better as an individual and as a team we've got to play better than we did."

It remains Iowa State's worst defeat of the season. The Cyclones tuned the ball over 14 times, to just 13 assists, and shot 17.4 percent from three-point range and 36.6 from the field while West Virginia drilled 13 of 22 perimeter shots (59.1) and made over 50 percent of its total shots.

In conference play, the Mountaineers have a 38.3 shooting percentage from distance, which leads the Big 12.

A year removed from a poor shooting season, Bob Huggins' team now lives and dies by the three-pointer. WVU gets 31.1 percent of its total points from the shot (No. 69 nationally) and is 3-7 when shooting worse than 35 percent from distance.

"They're really spreading the floor out, running a lot of pick-and-rolls with shooters at every position," ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Per CBS Sports' game tracker, the Mountaineers spread their three-pointers across the court, with three shots in the left corner, one on the left wing, three at the top of the key, one on the right wing and five in the right corner. Remi Dibo made 6 of 8 threes and Terry Henderson went 4-for-7.

"When a team makes those many contested shots, it's tough to deal with," Ejim said. "We don't expect them to make that many shots again. But we are going to play them differently."

After the 25-point loss to West Virginia on Feb. 10, Iowa State dropped six spots in the next week's AP poll, from No. 11 to 17.

On a three-game win streak, the Cyclones are No. 15 currently. In the big picture, ISU has won six of seven after the schedule let up once the series against Kansas concluded.

ISU did struggle at TCU on Saturday, but Feb. 18 against Texas looked very much like the top 10 team from early January, beating the Longhorns by nine.

"Whenever you lose by 25 points to an unranked team it should wake you up," Niang said.

Projected Starting Lineups (ht, yr, ppg, rpg, FG %)

Iowa State

  • PG: DeAndre Kane (6-4, sr., 16.3, 6.6, 6, 48).

  • G: Monté Morris (6-2, fr., 6.3, 3.4*, 41.3).

  • F: Dustin Hogue (6-6, jr., 10.7, 8.5, 53.6).

  • F: Melvin Ejim (6-6, sr., 18.9, 8.4, 52.6).

  • F: Georges Niang (6-7, so., 16.5, 4.3, 49.3).

    West Virginia

  • PG: Juwan Staten (6-1, jr., 18, 6, 6*, 50.1).

  • G: Eron Harris (6-3, so., 18, 3.6, 44.8, 43^)

  • G: Terry Henderson (6-4, so., 12.1, 2.9, 44.2).

  • F: Remi Dibo (6-7, jr., 7, 3, 41.7, 41.1^).

  • F: Devin Williams (6-9, fr., 8.1, 7, 39.3).

    *denotes assists per game; ^denotes three-point percentage.

    Game Notes

  • Fred Hoiberg is one win behind Larry Eustachy (84) for most of a Cyclones coach in their first four years of leading the program.

  • ISU is one of three schools nationally with three players averaging at least 16 points per game and remains the only school in the nation to score 70-plus points in every game.

  • No Big 12 team has ever had three players average 17-plus points in league games, but ISU could do it: Ejim (19.6), Kane (17.4) and Niang (17.1).

  • Ejim leads the Big 12 at 18.9 points per game.

  • Kane has scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games.

  • In the last 10 games, Niang is averaging 18.8 points and shooting 52.8 percent from the field. He's scored 17 or more in nine of those contests.

  • With eight wins over the RPI top 50, ISU has more than everyone but Kansas, Arizona and Michigan.

  • WVU is 9-0 this season when allowing 69 points or less in a game.

  • WVU is No. 9 nationally in fewest turnovers per game and have had 15 outings with single-digit turnovers.

  • Juwan Staten has scored 14 points or more in 19 straight games, including 20 ore more in six of the past 13 games.

  • Staten has had five assists or more in 20 of 27 games, with one turnover or less on 14 occasions.

  • Staten is third in the Big 12 in scoring, fourth in field goal percentage, first in assists, second in assist-to-turnover ratio, fifth in steals and first in minutes played.

  • Eron Harris is second in the Big 12 at scoring, edging out Staten by .1 points per game (18.1 to 18).

  • Remi Dibo is fourth in the Big 12 in three-point percentage.

  • AllCyclones Top Stories