When it comes to Iowa State men’s basketball this year, talk around the water cooler on Monday has been similar to what it’s been for weeks. Yeah, this team is talented, loaded with so many players able to score especially from the perimeter. Rebounding is high, assists are good, but the lack of bringing all the talent on the road has stifled the Cyclones all season long.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for TCU being one of the worst offensive teams in Big 12 history, it’s not a longshot to say this team couldn’t win a game on the road. Now the question is why can’t they?
First, it’s natural to have the home team get calls and receive more free throw opportunities, but the disparity between Iowa State and the opposing home teams are ridiculous. In their four conference road games, opponents have shot an average of 21 free throws per game compared to the Cyclones shooting 8.75 attempts per game. The only outlier TCU’s inability to hit any of them, going 9-22 in that contest back in early January.
In fact, it was thanks to the Horned Frogs being completely inept offensively that gave Iowa State the win. TCU hit just 36.4 percent from the field, went 1-10 from 3-point range, and the Cyclones only won 63-50.
For Iowa State to improve, both Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang need to keep their composure even though both may disagree with the foul calls they have been getting on the road. It’s carried over to problems in the previous home game against Oklahoma. If it wasn’t for the Cyclones making seven 3-point shots early on, that could have been a key problem for ISU.
3-point shooting is another concern on the road. Offensively, the Cyclones’ best game came against Oklahoma State making over 50 percent of their field goals and 3-pointers. It was the 17 turnovers and the Cowboys making 14-21 free throws that held them from winning the game in Stillwater. Outside of the game against OSU, ISU has hit 23-68 shots from the perimeter (33.8 percent).
Fouls, turnovers, and 3-point shooting need to be cleaned up in order for Iowa State to grab a big road victory in conference play. None of those areas can be exposed to beat any of the top teams in the Big 12.