Iowa State Cyclones vs. Texas Longhorns
Frank Erwin Center | Austin, Texas
7:00 PM CT | Big 12 Network (affiliate list)
It may be too little, too late for the 10-13 Texas Longhorns with just two wins in the Big 12 season, but they will welcome back their sophomore guard Myck Kabongo after being suspended by the NCAA for the first 23 games of the season. He allegedly received improper benefits that weren’t allowed by his agent and lied about it to Texas.
“I am ready to start playing with my team again and putting behind me the last several months,” Kabongo said in a statement with the university. “When I went to Cleveland last summer, I did not intend to break any rules and did not believe I had broken any. I should have been upfront with UT about everything the first time I had a chance, but I’m glad that I corrected my mistake and I’m glad that I was truthful with the NCAA.”
Kabongo was on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team after finishing on the Big 12 All-Rookie Team a season ago. He led the Longhorns in assists (5.2 apg) and steals (44) while playing in every game. Considering he’s projected to start among four freshmen, he’s been sorely missed with other sophomore guard Sheldon McClellan receiving less minutes and forward Jonathan Holmes being injured.
Despite less minutes, McClellan still leads the team with 14.3 points per game. He’s steadily received less minutes, with only 20 minutes in the last game against Oklahoma State. He had four points and two assists. He saw less than one minute of action against Iowa State the first time they met up with the Cyclones.
Iowa State is looking for their second win on the road in the Big 12. Ihe Cyclones currently sit at 16-7 overall with a 6-4 conference record. They’ve lost three straight away from Ames thanks to turnovers and foul trouble inside with Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang. That will have to improve against a team that allows just 36.2 percent shooting from the field.
Since the 2002-03 season, the Longhorns have never lost more than three games at home in one season. They currently sit at 9-3 at home coming into the game tonight.
Keys to the Game
- Expect Kabongo to make Texas better offensively. He can score, distribute, and rip the ball away from careless players and gain possessions for his team. Even if the arena isn’t packed, don’t let the home team have the momentum all night.
- Prepare for the blocking. The Longhorns have become the second-best team in the Big 12 with 116 total blocks, averaging five a game.
- Force turnovers and hit 3-pointers in transition. Texas has a turnover margin of -1.78, far behind everyone else in the league. In order to make a dent into their top 3-point percentage defense, shooting three’s in transition is a must.
This is going to be a lot tougher for the Cyclones than we should expect from just looking at records and defeating them by 20 in their previous meeting. Yes, Texas is three games under .500, but with a potential bigger crowd in the Frank Erwin Center to watch Kabongo’s debut, they can’t let Texas establish the tempo.
Having played them before, and being successful shooting the three against them, the main focus will be to find that rhythm in a road game. It’s possible, they shot over 50 percent in Stillwater earlier this season. They have to start beating teams on the road, especially those teams in the bottom four of the conference. As long as they don’t take the Longhorns for granted and maintain control of the ball, they should pull out a much closer, low-scoring game.
Cyclones 62, Longhorns 55