Iowa State Preview

When you get to the conference and NCAA tournaments, one-and-done fests, the most important thing to watch are the matchups.

And that's why Texas (19-12 overall, 9-9 Big 12), despite a worse record than Iowa State (22-9, 12-6), is considered by many a great upset pick for the second-day's round of games. After all, the two split the season series 1-1, with each team winning its home game. But even beyond that, the Longhorns appeared poised for a comeback in Ames when J'Covan Brown went down with an ankle injury.

You hate to play what-if, but the point remains that this is a series that Texas could easily have swept.

The key, for the Longhorns, will be in how they deal with All-Big 12 sensation Royce White. In game one, a Texas loss, the Longhorns often helped on his drives, which led to kick-outs, and ball rotation that saw the Cyclones shoot 9-of-12 from three in a blistering hot first half. Five ISU players wound up in double figures, and though White only had two assists, several times he had the pass before the assist, kicking it out, seeing a teammate hit another open teammate for a three-point bomb.

In Austin, the Longhorns largely stayed on the Iowa State shooters, not only contesting three-point shots, but also not allowing for the kind of swinging ball movement that happened in Ames. As a result, Royce White had a better all-around game, scoring 15, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing out five assists. But Iowa State shot just 23.8 percent from behind the arc and lost by seven, a 13-point swing.

In Ames, Iowa State had 14 assists on 23 field goals. In Austin, the number was 9-of-20. So even though White's numbers were higher in Austin, the overall assists were down because the Cyclones weren't able to swing the ball to open shooters.

Offensively, the Longhorns haven't found a magic formula. If Clint Chapman is playing well, he can take advantage of the smaller 'Clone lineup, as he did in scoring 19 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in Hilton Coliseum. But Texas didn't shoot all that much better when it won in Austin, nor did the Longhorns get to the free throw line at a high rate. The best solution will likely be to get into the lane and try to take advantage of the smaller Cyclones inside, especially since Iowa State is the league's best team at defending the three-point line.

Both games have been close near the end, so it's imperative that the Longhorns fight sagging down on White and try to get the ball inside themselves if they are going to pull off the upset.

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