It’s unlikely that one of the Iowa State men’s basketball team’s best players, Melvin Ejim, will be on the court for Sunday’s big game at Hilton Coliseum. Thus, the top five players to watch are projected with that expectation.
Caris LeVert (UM guard, #23, So.)
After the mass exodus of talent from Michigan, LeVert has stepped into the starting shooting guard position and impressed. He already has 41 points this season, just 35 shy of his total from last year (and he played in 33 games). His humongous size at 6-foot-6 gives him a huge advantage at his position.
Matt Thomas (ISU guard, #21, Fr.)
There was a lot of hype for the incoming freshman, and he’s delivered, averaging 11.5 points, a plus-1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio, and has been avoiding foul trouble. That’s given him the reward of the most playing time seen by a Cyclone this season – that of course helped by two blowout victories.
Glenn Robinson III (UM forward, #1, So.)
Robinson becomes a mismatch now that Melvin Ejim will have to sit, otherwise we would have a tremendous rebounding battle between the two on our hands. There’s some early struggles shooting the ball, making just eight of his first 20 shots (and just 1 of 7 from downtown), but he still averaged 14 points, eight rebounds, and a team-high three steals in the first two games.
DeAndre Kane (ISU guard, #50, Sr.)
Without Ejim, Kane and Dustin Hogue will have to step it up on the boards, along with the rest of the team, to make up for the loss. The big guy can do a little bit of everything, and he’s already looked better at the free throw line this season than he has in his career.
Jon Horford (UM forward, #15, Sr.)
It’s a little bit staggered after nabbing 15 rebounds against South Carolina State on Tuesday, but his 13.5 rebounds per game will also keep the Cyclones aware of his presence in the paint. He, like many other Wolverines, could force Iowa State to shoot efficiently without many second-chance shots.