Iowa State is coming off of a road win over Texas A&M. Cyclone great, Fred Hoiberg, is in his second season as the Iowa State Head Coach, and the Mayor, as Hoiberg was called during his playing days, has quickly turned things around in Ames.
Iowa State is an improving team, who is currently on a 7-game win streak, and is 9-1 at home this year. Sophomore F Royce White 6'8" 270 leads the Cyclones with 12.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He's averaging 4.2 assists/game, and he's coming off of a triple double (10 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists) at A&M. White has great court vision, to go along with an impressive skill set for someone his size.
Three other Cyclones average in double figures including 6'3" senior guard Chris Allen (12.4 points/game), the sharp-shooting 6'3" senior guard Scott Christopherson (10.6 points/game), a 92% FT shooter, and 6'5" junior guard Chris Babb (10.5 points/game), who is a defensive stopper and 3-PT specialist.
Starters - Iowa State Cyclones (12-3) - Based on the most recent game
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 30 Royce White 6-8 270 RSo. 12.9 9.3 4.2 1.1 Minneapolis, Minn.
C 24 Percy Gibson 6-9 245 Fr. 4.9 2.9 0.1 0.1 Detroit, Mich.
G 02 Chris Babb 6-5 224 Jr. 10.5 4.7 1.8 1.3 Arlington, Texas
G 04 Chris Allen 6-3 205 Sr. 12.4 2.4 2.9 0.6 Lawrenceville, Ga.
G 11 Scott Christopherson 6-3 195 Sr. 10.6 2.7 1.8 0.5 LaCrosse, Wis.
Coach Hoiberg is primarily utilizing a 9-man rotation, with 6'2" junior guard Tyrus McGee (8.9 points/game), 6'6" sophomore forward Melvin Ejim (7.6 points/game, 6.3 rebounds/game), 6'9" junior forward Anthony Booker, who is 4-4 from behind the 3-PT line during the Cyclones' two conference games, and 6'1" sophomore guard Bubu Palo (38% 3-PT FG%) coming off of the bench. Palo, who's been averaging about 10-15 minutes/game, may see more action against Missouri.
"Guys are starting to figure out their roles," explained Coach Hoiberg, talking about how his Cyclones are coming together as a team. "We've had five guys in double figures in both conference games. "We've done a very nice job of sharing the basketball, playing unselfishly and making easy basketball plays. We've got enough weapons out there that if the help comes on the defense, you make that simple, easy pass to the next guy. You know, you're either going to have a shot, or it's going to force somebody else to help. You keep swinging the ball, and somebody's going to have a wide-open look. And, we've got enough guys to make shots, that we need to play easy, simple basketball."
Coach Hoiberg does indeed have weapons on the perimeter. And, White's emergence as an inside scoring and passing threat has the Cyclones' artillery locked and loaded. In addition to Christopherson, who is making 39% of his 3-PT shots, Coach Hoiberg also has Allen (35% 3-PT FG%), Babb (39% 3-PT FG%), and McGee (44% 3-PT FG%), all of whom the Mayor referred to as "knock-down shooters". Chris Babb, who began his career at Penn State, is shooting almost exclusively from behind the arc; 80% of his field goal attempts are three-pointers. And, Babb is hitting 53% of his 3-PT FGAs in conference play. Christopherson and Allen are shooting guards who are sharing the point guard duties out of necessity.
Iowa State is a rapidly improving team that has very recently begun to "gel". They've gotten off to a great start to the conference season. Their playing style is similar to Missouri's, with the way that they like to score in transition, share the basketball, and with several quality outside shooters spaced around the perimeter. Coach Hoiberg said earlier this week that his outside shooters are shooting the ball better of late, as they've become more comfortable with their teammates, and knowing where to find their shots. The Cyclones are shooting 38% from behind the arc on the season, and have raised that to 41% during their first two conference games. As a "facilitator" in and near the painted area, Royce gives Iowa State a unique quality, and he portends to be a very difficult match-up for Missouri.
The Tigers are coming off of a 59-75 road loss at Kansas State, Missouri's first loss of the season. In addition to falling from the dwindling ranks of the undefeated, Missouri fell from the top spot nationally in multiple statistical categories, although Ricardo Ratliffe continues to lead the country, with his 77% FG%, and Kim English continues to lead the country with his 54% 3-PT FG%.
Missouri Starters (14-1) - Based on the most recent game
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 10 Ricardo Ratliffe 6-8 240 Sr. 13.3 6.9 0.6 0.7 Hampton, Va.
G 12 Marcus Denmon 6-3 185 Sr. 18.7 5.0 2.3 1.7 Kansas City, Mo.
G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 Sr. 15.4 4.5 1.7 1.3 Baltimore, Md.
G 03 Matt Pressey 6-2 195 Sr. 8.3 4.4 2.0 1.1 Dallas, Texas
G 01 Phil Pressey 5-10 175 So. 9.0 3.1 6.2 2.2 Dallas, Texas
Missouri's 22.5 point scoring margin ranks second nationally, as does the Tigers' 51% FG%, and 1.63 assist/turnover ratio. As Coach Hoiberg pointed out earlier this week, Missouri's still a great team.
"Watching Missouri play, their speed is off the charts," said Coach Hoiberg. "It's as good as any team in the country. Transition defense is going to be huge, as far as getting back and matching up. They're a very unique team, in the fact that they play four guards a lot of the game. They space the floor tremendously. It's going to be a game where obviously we're going to have to get back and match up."
In speaking about Missouri, Coach Hoiberg sounded a lot like Coach Haith talking about Iowa State.
"(Iowa State) is very talented. I mean, they're extremely talented," said Coach Haith. "(Royce White) is a tough match-up. If he's able to control the game, then you've got a problem…………………………………… It's a tremendous problem, because they stretch you out, and White is a willing passer. All of (their shooters) have great releases. …………………………… First of all, you've got to get back in transition. And, you've got to know where their shooters are. And, you've got to be there early. You can't get there late, because if you're late, they're all high percentage shooters. Our defense has got to be on point to be successful (at Iowa State)."
As with any team, Missouri is as good as their defense. Marcus Denmon leads four double-digit scorers for Missouri, with 18.7 points/game. Of Missouri's 7 regulars, 6 Tigers are averaging at least 8 points/game. The Tigers have some fire-power of their own, and are a balanced scoring team, as well.
This will be an interesting match-up. Missouri and Iowa State have similarities. Both teams like to score in transition, and will spread the floor with high percentage shooters. Iowa State, like everyone else that Missouri plays, has a size advantage, but Missouri has the advantage of speed, especially at the point guard position, where the Cyclones often rely on converted shooting guards.
Earlier this week, Coach Haith talked about some of the things that his team needs to do to be better.
"We've got to play smart," explained Coach Haith. "Toughness is being able to execute. It's being where you're supposed to be on defense……………………………... It's about mentally preparing yourself to play, and playing your game. That's toughness………………………………. It's about being where you're supposed to be, and doing the things fundamentally that we're supposed to do every single time. That's toughness. And, we can do that."
Missouri Iowa State
Record: 14-1 12-3
FGM: 438 376
FGA: 858 817
FG %: .510 .460
3pt FGM: 127 133
3pt FGA: 312 348
3FG %: .407 .382
FTM: 263 258
FTA: 342 377
FT % .769 .684
Points: 1266 1143
Per Game: 84.4 76.2
Reb./Gm 34.5 37.7
Steals 9.5 5.7
Assists: 16.4 12.9
Blocks: 3.3 3.1