K-State continues conference play Saturday with a home encounter with Iowa State Cyclones. Here's the information you need to know.
Wesley Johnson: 14.3 points per game, 44 percent field goals
Jiri Hubalek: 12.0 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 48 percent field goals
Iowa State comes into this game as a bit of a surprise at 2-2 in the Big 12 thus far. They are coached by Greg McDermott, a second-year coach who came from Northern Iowa. He at least appears to be better liked in his new environs than his fellow former Missouri Valley alumni, Mark Turgeon (check out TexAgs if you doubt me.
Anyway, the Cyclones had an awful start to the year, losing by 35 to Drake and also dropping contests to Bradley and Northern Iowa. However, as CrossCyed noted in the Q&A below, both Wesley Johnson and Jiri Hubalek were injured at the beginning of the year. Now that those two players are back and healthy, the 'Clones are playing much better basketball.
As far as depth, ISU is fairly similar to Colorado. They have seven players who have started games this year, and play a pretty long rotation with nine players averaging more than 10 minutes per game.
Statistically, Iowa State is average both offensively and defensively according to Pomeroy's metrics. The Cyclones rank ahead of only Colorado in points scored per game and are in the middle of the pack (seventh) in points allowed per game. CrossCyed noted, and is no doubt correct, that ISU will try to slow the game down. The good thing for K-State is, that's what Colorado tried to do as well and it didn't work out too well for them.
Maintaining home court advantage is on the line tomorrow. If we are going to be a solid tournament team, we need to avoid losses that will give the committee reason to doubt us. With no disrespect to Iowa State, a loss to them would be hard to explain come March.
Let's take a quick look around the rest of Saturday's Big 12 action...
Nebraska @ KU
Nebraska comes into this game as the only winless team in conference. KU comes in as one of only three remaining unbeatens. I highly doubt either streak ends in this one.
'beaks 88, 'skers 65
Oklahoma @ Baylor
Oklahoma got a win against Tech last week, but that was at home and by only two points. On the other hand, Baylor played 1.5 games (plus five minutes) on Wednesday night, on the road (although College Station isn't all that far from Waco). It would be hard to imagine they won't be a little worn out. Alas, OU is still without its major inside presence in Blake Griffin.
Bears 67, Dirt Thieves 63
Texas Tech @ Texas
Tech is coming off a good win over Mizzou on Wednesday and is hanging around at 2-2 in league play. Texas also got a solid win on Big Monday over Oklahoma State after a shaky start that included a road loss to Mizzou and a close call at home with Colorado. This should be a pretty good game.
'Horns 78, Raiders 69
Texas A&M @ Oklahoma State
Who could have foreseen the circumstances surrounding this game? A&M is reeling, having lost three league games in a row, while Okie State is also floundering at 1-3 and in danger of falling into total obscurity. This game will be a real test of wills for both teams. If A&M loses this one, we can start to wonder aloud if they will really make the NCAA tournament. If Okie State loses, well, T. Boone Pickens will likely fire up www.fireseansutton.com
The Former A&M 65, The Current A&M 64 (7 OTs...OK, just kidding)
Colorado @ Mizzou
Not much to say here. The winner remains relevant in their own minds. The loser drops farther into obscurity. If the loser is Missouri, that obscurity is harder to imagine.
Mizzou 92, Colorado 78
Continuing the theme of putting up a YouTube video instead of a photo, I offer you this creation from the Catlab.