The fourth and final game in the second round at Dayton, Ohio, should be a fantastic nightcap featuring two teams with generally different styles of play and athletes. Melvin Ejim and Jack Cooley battling it out inside as the top two rebounders on either team is a matchup that’s must-see. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish also being one of the better Big East squads at defending 3-point shots (87th in the nation) will make it critical for the Iowa State Cyclones to take good shots from the perimeter.
Here are other keys for the Cyclones to follow to grab a tournament victory:
Korie Lucious needs to be facilitator and attacker. The shots weren’t falling until late in the semifinal against Kansas, but Lucious still had 16 assists during the Big 12 Tournament. That production will need to continue in order to compete with a team that makes two-thirds of their shots from assists.
Make the game fast and control tempo early. Many of these second-round tournament games features teams coming out flat. An instant advantage would be gained if the Cyclones came out making a couple 3-point shots and getting into the double digits around the first media timeout.
Better ball control a must on the road. Notre Dame is the best team in the nation on assist-turnover ratio (+1.54). Since they aren’t going to give away many possessions, Iowa State must do the same.
Melvin Ejim needs to establish himself on the glass. It’s imperative that Iowa State gets the rebounding advantage, and with the Irish having more size Ejim will need to be out there to grab the rebounds along with being a scoring threat. A double-double may be necessary for the Cyclones to get a win.