Preview: WVU - Iowa State

West Virginia must overcome the best homecourt advantage in the Big 12 (and yes, that includes Kansas) when it faces Iowa State on Saturday.


UPDATING THE CYCLONES

Since edging WVU on January 10th, ISU has gone 5-4 against Big 12 teams. (WVU has gone 5-3 over the same span). Included is an ugly 78-73 loss to Texas Tech, which helped drop the Cyclones into its current tie with the Mountaineers in third place in the Big 12. Make no mistake, though: Fred Hoiberg's squad is capable of passing and shooting any conference foe into submission. With six players averaging in double figures, the Cyclones usually don't have to worry about scoring points. Dustin Hogue, Bryce Dejean-Jones, Monte Morris and Georges Niang all rank among the top eight shooters in the Big 12.

The Cyclones have also gotten a boost from former backup Jameel McKay, who moved into the starting lineup earlier this month. The 6-9 forward gives ISU more height and rebounding oomph, and also helps defensively, where his 29 blocked shots lead the team. He's also the team's best rebounder in terms of boards grabbed per minute played,

ISU continues to build its numbers off its passing. It is second nationally in assists (17.8 per game), and has a Big 12-best team assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.5 (7th nationally). That, of course, is also spurred by the fact that the Cyclones can all make shots. They average a league-best 80 points per game, and have assists on 63% percent of their field goals.

This isn't to say that Iowa State is unbeatable. It's not. But if it shoots the ball well, its' going to win. In its four league losses, it has shot 46%, 43%, 41% and 47%. WVU has to hold the Cyclones to something around the 45% mark or less to have a chance.


OUTLOOK

With Iowa State's proficiency in passing the ball and avoiding turnovers, West Virginia's press is likely to be less productive. To counter that, the Mountaineers must drastically reduce the number of miscues they have committed in recent games.

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Info
Sat Feb 14
4:00 PM E
Hilton Coliseum

Ames, IA
Records
WVU 19-5, 7-40
ISU 17-6, 7-4
Series
ISU 4-1
TV
ESPN2
Sirius/XM
91/91
RPI
WVU - 30
ISU - 19
WVU is averaging more than 15 turnovers per game in its last three outings, which has negated the advantage it usually creates with its pressure defense. For example, WVU forced 18 against Iowa State in the first meeting this year but yielded only nine, giving it a +9 mark in that statistical category. Over the past three games, that has shrunk to an average of just +1 -- a number that won't yield a win against the sharp-shooting Cyclones.

To win this game, a number of things have to go right for the Mountaineers. WVU will have to shoot at least 42-43%. It will have to cut the aforementioned turnover problem. It will have to outrebound ISU -- something it didn't do the first time out. And Iowa State will have to miss some shots it ordinarily makes.

Iowa State has made at least six 3-pointers in all but three of its games this year, and in one of those (TCU) it made five of its 11 attempts. Unless West Virginia suddenly improves its ability to cover the floor better out of the press, ISU is going to get open looks. The Clones were 6-17 from distance against WVU in the first game, and figure to get close to 20 shots from distance this time around. If they make seven or eight, they are likely to stretch their all-time record against the Mountaineers to 5-1.

A final key is for WVU to match the contributions that Iowa State gets across its lineup. West Virginia has had a number of different players come to the fore in games this year, and oftentimes that has been enough to get a win. One game, it will be Devin Williams and Juwan Staten. The next game, it's Jevon Carter or Jaysean Paige. To win this one, the Mountaineers will need solid contributions from all 10, 11 or 12 players who see the floor. If there are any weak links, they'll likely be exploited by the home team.


FAST BREAKS

West Virginia’s Juwan Staten played one season at Dayton (2010-11). Iowa State assistant coach Cornell Mann was an assistant coach at Dayton in Staten’s one season there.

* * *

Iowa State is riding a 20-game winning streak at Hilton Coliseum. Included in that stretch are victories over 13 Big 12 teams.

* * *

West Virginia has allowed its opponent to shoot 50 percent or better only 42 times under Bob Huggins (265 games). However, seven of those games have occurred this year.

* * *

What does Iowa State not do well? Not much, but offensive rebounding is an issue. More playing time for McKay has helped in that regard, but the Cyclones are 247th nationally in offensive rebounds and 255th in offensive rebound percentage. West Virginia will have to exploit that gap, and get at least twice as many offensive rebounds in this game to have a chance.


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Since edging WVU on January 10th, ISU has gone 5-4 against Big 12 teams. (WVU has gone 5-3 over the same span). Included is an ugly 78-73 loss to Texas Tech, which helped drop the Cyclones into its current tie with the Mountaineers in third place in the Big 12. Make no mistake, though: Fred Hoiberg's squad is capable of passing and shooting any conference foe into submission. With six players averaging in double figures, the Cyclones usually don't have to worry about scoring points. Dustin Hogue, Bryce Dejean-Jones, Monte Morris and Georges Niang all rank among the top eight shooters in the Big 12.

The Cyclones have also gotten a boost from former backup Jameel McKay, who moved into the starting lineup earlier this month. The 6-9 forward gives ISU more height and rebounding oomph, and also helps defensively, where his 29 blocked shots lead the team. He's also the team's best rebounder in terms of boards grabbed per minute played,

ISU continues to build its numbers off its passing. It is second nationally in assists (17.8 per game), and has a Big 12-best team assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.5 (7th nationally). That, of course, is also spurred by the fact that the Cyclones can all make shots. They average a league-best 80 points per game, and have assists on 63% percent of their field goals.

This isn't to say that Iowa State is unbeatable. It's not. But if it shoots the ball well, its' going to win. In its four league losses, it has shot 46%, 43%, 41% and 47%. WVU has to hold the Cyclones to something around the 45% mark or less to have a chance.


With Iowa State's proficiency in passing the ball and avoiding turnovers, West Virginia's press is likely to be less productive. To counter that, the Mountaineers must drastically reduce the number of miscues they have committed in recent games. WVU is averaging more than 15 turnovers per game in its last three outings, which has negated the advantage it usually creates with its pressure defense. For example, WVU forced 18 against Iowa State in the first meeting this year but yielded only nine, giving it a +9 mark in that statistical category. Over the past three games, that has shrunk to an average of just +1 -- a number that won't yield a win against the sharp-shooting Cyclones.

To win this game, a number of things have to go right for the Mountaineers. WVU will have to shoot at least 42-43%. It will have to cut the aforementioned turnover problem. It will have to outrebound ISU -- something it didn't do the first time out. And Iowa State will have to miss some shots it ordinarily makes.

Iowa State has made at least six 3-pointers in all but three of its games this year, and in one of those (TCU) it made five of its 11 attempts. Unless West Virginia suddenly improves its ability to cover the floor better out of the press, ISU is going to get open looks. The Clones were 6-17 from distance against WVU in the first game, and figure to get close to 20 shots from distance this time around. If they make seven or eight, they are likely to stretch their all-time record against the Mountaineers to 5-1.

A final key is for WVU to match the contributions that Iowa State gets across its lineup. West Virginia has had a number of different players come to the fore in games this year, and oftentimes that has been enough to get a win. One game, it will be Devin Williams and Juwan Staten. The next game, it's Jevon Carter or Jaysean Paige. To win this one, the Mountaineers will need solid contributions from all 10, 11 or 12 players who see the floor. If there are any weak links, they'll likely be exploited by the home team.



West Virginia’s Juwan Staten played one season at Dayton (2010-11). Iowa State assistant coach Cornell Mann was an assistant coach at Dayton in Staten’s one season there.

* * *

Iowa State is riding a 20-game winning streak at Hilton Coliseum. Included in that stretch are victories over 13 Big 12 teams.

* * *

West Virginia has allowed its opponent to shoot 50 percent or better only 42 times under Bob Huggins (265 games). However, seven of those games have occurred this year.

* * *

What does Iowa State do well? Not much, but offensive rebounding is an issue. More playing time for McKay has helped in that regard, but the Cyclones are 247th nationally in offensive rebounds and 255th in offensive rebound percentage. West Virginia will have to exploit that gap, and get at least twice as many offensive rebounds in this game to have a chance.

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