With Iowa State losing forward Georges Niang, it’s going to be up to multiple players to rake in more points and one of the bench players will have to step up in a starting role.
#5 Marcus Paige (UNC sophomore guard, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs.)
Like Harrison Barnes before him, Paige is an Iowa native that selected North Carolina over any of his homestate colleges. Paige averages 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game, and has hit 88.2 percent of his free throws (he’s only missed 17 out of 144 all season). Since going 7-of-12 from 3-point range and dishing it five times in a one-point win over North Carolina State, the guard has hit 12-of-36 (33 percent) from long range, which is actually below his average of 38.9 percent, and only had more than four assists once against Notre Dame.
#15 Naz Long (ISU sophomore guard, 6-foot-4, 205 lbs.)
Cyclone head coach Fred Hoiberg wouldn’t commit on Long being the starter, but it’s expected that he’ll either start or receive a bulk of the playing time against North Carolina. He’s been a streaky 3-point shooter all year, but he averages 40.4 percent from long range on the season and it’d be ideal for Iowa State if he could get into a rhythm early. He’s also known to be a clutch 3-point killer, as Oklahoma State got to know pretty quickly.
#43 James Michael McAdoo (UNC junior forward, 6-foot-9, 230 lbs.)
McAdoo leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game, also leading in total rebounds (223) and offensive rebounds (89). He’s the biggest threat as a starter to dominate the boards. One of the biggest weaknesses Iowa State has is giving up offensive boards and letting teams have second-chance opportunities to score. McAdoo had five offensive rebounds in the win over Providence.
#22 Dustin Hogue (ISU junior forward, 6-foot-6, 215 lbs.)
DeAndre Kane will help in the frontcourt in Niang’s absence, but Hogue will have to pick up the offense as well as continuing to be Iowa State’s scrappy player inside. He’s continued to develop the toughness to play against other bigs, coming a long way from the early Big 12 games. Currently, Hogue averages 10.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He recorded a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) in the Big 12 quarterfinal against Kansas State and has reached double-digits in points scored in six of the last eight games.
#11 Brice Johnson (UNC sophomore forward, 6-foot-9, 210 lbs.)
Johnson will be the toughest guy off UNC’s bench for Iowa State. His field goal efficiency, which he’s 56.7 percent from the floor this season, has been off the charts recently. He’s only missed seven field goals out of 29 attempts in the last three games. Not to mention he averages 7.7 rebounds per game in that stretch, above his 6.1 mark per game.