Cyclones Hoping To Avoid Trap Against UMKC

No. 14 Iowa State isn't looking past UMKC after recent college upsets have caught the attention of players

There isn’t much that Fred Hoiberg needs to say to have No. 14 Iowa State ready for what, in the end, stacks up as an early-season trap game.

The players watched over the weekend as Michigan fell to a school that doesn’t have a conference, let alone much name recognition.

“Michigan lost to like N.J.I.T. or something like that,” guard Monte Morris said, correctly naming the school that garnered weekend headlines. “[Coach] hasn’t really said anything about the Michigan thing, but all the players, we know about it. We just don’t want to be a part of that statistic.”

So Iowa State isn’t overlooking UMKC, the opponent that stands in the way of focusing on what fans might be — a matchup Friday night in Iowa City against the in-state rival Hawkeyes. First up is Kansas City on Tuesday night.

The Kangaroos are a team that the Cyclones put away by 59 points last season, and a team that they enter as a 22-point favorite against at Hilton Coliseum. It is also a team that beat Missouri — Yes, the SEC’s Missouri — by eight on the road to open the season and stuck with Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., the next time out.

“I finished up with [watching] the Missouri game. They played great that one and had K-State down 10 in the second half. It’s a team — they play extremely hard,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They’re going to come in and if they’re knocking down shots, that’s a team that you’ve got to play well. We’ve got to get out to a good start, that’s important.”

That sentiment had already been passed to players before the Cyclones stepped on the court at Hilton for practice Monday afternoon.

“UMKC, they’re a really talented team,” forward Georges Niang said. “Obviously we have to be aware of what they can do.”

What UMKC does well — and what it might try to do against Iowa State for nearly 40 minutes Tuesday night — is pressure. The Kangaroos use a mixture of fullcourt pressure and a trap zone to get teams out-of-synch.

Iowa State doesn’t expect anything less Tuesday. So UMKC, everybody agreed Monday, isn’t a team to be overlooked.

“Last week I saw a bunch of ranked teams lose,” Niang said. “We just have to press forward and know that we’re going to get team’s best game just because we have a number next to our name.”

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