There’s only been one bad game for Iowa State (21-5, 9-5) all season, and that was an absolute whooping in Morgantown at the hands of West Virginia (15-12, 7-7). Revenge will be on the mind for the Cyclones as they know this is another important game in Big 12 play, and a way to clean what happened off the board a little over two weeks ago.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs (15)Iowa State Cyclones
James H. Hilton Coliseum | Ames, Iowa
Date: Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM CT | TV: Big 12 Network (affiliate list)
Juwan Staten‘s surge in Big 12 play has been well documented, emerging as one of the best all-around guards in the conference. He ranks at the top 10 in three different categories: assists per game (3.3), total steals (38), and free throw percentage (.769).
For Iowa State, it’s all about containing Staten’s game, and getting their own star guard to get a better handle on things compared to the previous meeting. DeAndre Kane had one of his worst outings all season long at West Virginia. He’s cleaned things up since then with 19 assists and just four turnovers in the last three games.
[Also see: Five players to watch during WVU-ISU]
Neither of these teams met prior to West Virginia joining the Big 12. Iowa State has a 2-1 all-time record against them after sweeping the series last year.
There’s a little bit more in connection with these teams than overall record against each other. Kane is a Pittsburgh native, and played three other times against the Mountaineers when he played at Marshall. Kane averages 16.7 points per game against them but has a negative assist/turnover ratio that was extended after their previous meeting with the Cyclones.
Also, ISU assistant coach Cornell Mann (who was interviewed by one of our affiliate podcasts, the Hilton Magic Community Call) was an assistant at Dayton when Juwan Staten played at Dayton during the 2010-11 basketball season.
What to watch for
West Virginia’s strengths are offensive boards (averaging 13.4 per game) and not turning the ball over (+1.3 turnover ratio). That’s two reasons immediately on why they’re a bad matchup for Iowa State, and one of the key reasons why neither Kane or Georges Niang can be careless with the ball when dishing it out to players.
Somebody needs to step up in the frontcourt to control the boards, and the most likely candidate will be Melvin Ejim. He had 12 rebounds against them in the first meeting, the last time he’s eclipsed double-digits in the rebound column.
Even in Ames, this is going to be a very hard game for Iowa State. As all the pundits say in March, it’s about matchups. This is one that doesn’t favor Iowa State.
As long as turnovers aren’t a problem and they don’t let players like Remi Dibo go off from the perimeter, they should be able to pull off a much-needed confidence booster as they head closer to postseason play.
IAST 89, WVU 81 (Odds: WVU +9)