CN K-State Preview

Iowa State (14-7, 4-4) makes the first of two stops this week in the state of Kansas tonight, when they travel to the "Little Apple." K-State (12-7, 3-5) will be without Coach Jim Wooldridge, who will miss the game due to neck surgery. Jimmy Elgas will take over as interim coach. Bramlage Coliseum has been a house of horrors for the Cyclones in the last four visits. ISU has been beaten by an average of 17 points and only averaged 56 points per game in those contests.

Last year, the Clones only mustered 51 points and were 2-14 shooting from 3. Curtis Stinson had only 7 points. In their previous match-up this season, the Cyclones started out well, leading by 12 at half. But, K-State rallied from 13 down with seven minutes left to pull within 1 with under a minute to play. A David Hoskins turnover and a couple of Curtis Stinson free-throws iced away the Cyclone W, 72-70.  

 

It may have only been the first game of conference play, but that game foreshadowed future results. K-State shot 58 percent in the game and 72 percent in the second half, missing only six shots during the second time-frame. They also out-rebounded Iowa State 36-26. Luckily for ISU, they hoisted 13 more shots and forced 24 turnovers.

 

Since then, K-State has been hot and cold. They have reeled off a three game winning streak, including a win at Kansas, but they are currently in a three game slide. However, four of their five losses in conference play have been by four points of less.

 

The Wildcats are led by 6'7 forward Cartier Martin. He is scoring 18.5 points (4th in the Big XII) and grabbing 7 boards. He can beat you in so many ways, shooting 45 percent from distance, 81 percent from the line, and also off second chance opportunities. He had 21 points and 9 rebounds in Ames. Currently, he is in a bit of a slump, scoring only eight points on Saturday in the loss to Ok. State.

 

The second leading scorer is Davis Hoskins, a 6'5 sophomore swing man. Hoskins is an odd breed. He has only 1 three point make on the season, yet averages 12.8 points. Think Stevie Johnson with better handle. He torched ISU in the first meeting, scoring 25 points (19 in the second half) on 10-13 shooting.

 

 6'5 guard Lance Harris is the only other Cat to average in double-figures at 11.2. Lately, Harris has been coming off the bench, but playing starter minutes. Harris is really struggling with his stroke, shooting 25 percent from deep in conference play.

 

The starting back court of Clent Stewart (6'4) and Akeem Wright (6'6) aren't explosive offensively, but are quick and long enough to attack the basket. They each average around five points. Stewart had 19 points and made 5 treys in the loss at Baylor last week. So he, at the very least, has to be paid attention to.

 

Their center is Dramane Diarra. He is the classic big body, who is in there to rebound, block shots, and set screens. Diarra is putting up 4.4 points and 5 rebounds. 

 

The rest of the bench for K-State is virtually a non-factor. Mario Taybron (6'2) has some explosiveness (4.9 PPG) but the rest of the bench doesn't even add up to five points.

 

K-State is athletic and will play an aggressive man defense. They run the triangle offense, made famous by Tex Winter and later Phil Jackson. But, unlike Jackson's Bulls teams, Martin and Hoskins aren't quite MJ and Scottie. They are last in the conference in 3 point shooting percentage as a team (30 percent). Defensively, they hold teams to under 38 percent shooting, third best in the Big XII.

 

ISU can't allow the same shooting percentage and rebounding total from the first meeting. K-State may be without their coach, but this is a better team than many give them credit for.

 

An ISU win, a Kansas win over Nebraska, a Texas A&M win over Colorado, and an Ok. State win against Oklahoma, would move the Cyclone into a tie for third in the conference by the end of the night. Pure craziness.

 

K-State is a 2.5 point favorite.  


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