Iowa State surpassed expectations in their blowout victory over Notre Dame. They’ll have to bring that effort to the next level if they want to continue in the NCAA Tournament. With the way the West region is unfolding with upset after upset, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Cyclones grab a victory. It would also not be a surprise if the winner of this game wins the wild West.
Here’s what needs to happen for that possibility.
Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang must stay out of foul trouble. There aren’t many cracks in the Ohio State armor, but defensive rebounding is something Iowa State can gather up. Preventing the Buckeyes from second-chance opportunities is a must, and both Ejim and Niang will need to be in there to get them.
Take the 3-point shots early and often. Ohio State gives up six 3-point makes on average, which ranks 150th in the nation. The attempts can be whatever they need to be; doing it often will open things up inside offensively. The projected amount of makes Iowa State needs is about eight or above.
Chris Babb needs to come up big defending the perimeter. Ohio State doesn’t spend much time making attacking from the perimeter, and Babb needs to be there to make sure nothing will happen.
Bring whatever it was from Friday night into this game. The intensity was impressive, and flipping the script on Notre Dame’s assist-turnover ratio was incredible. They need to do something else with Ohio State at that level, like getting to the foul line and hitting free throws.