Big 12 Tournament: Iowa State-Texas Preview

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Date:  March 8th, 2012

Time:  8:30 PM CST

Where:  Spring Center (Kansas City)

TV:  Big 12 Network

Spread:  Texas (-1)

Know the Foe:  This game is important for the Cyclones for seeding in the NCAA Tournament, but it is a must-win for the Longhorns.  If they hope to get in, they need to win this game.  Texas is on the bubble with a .500 record in the Big 12.  Somewhat surprisingly, Texas is favored in this game even though Iowa State was clearly the better team in the regular season.  The main reason Vegas probably put the Horns as the favorite is due to the fact that Texas will be desperate to get a win and should have great effort.

As you likely know, these two teams split the regular season.  Iowa State beat the Horns at Hilton the first time (77-71) and Texas downed Iowa State in Austin (62-55).

Texas has two great guards in J’Covan Brown and Myck Kabongo.  J’Covan Brown was named to the first team all-Big 12 a couple days ago and Myck Kabongo is a future first-round pick in the NBA.

J’Covan Brown leads the team in scoring as he averages 20 per game.  He also is an 86% free throw shooter and shoots 37.5% from behind the arc.  Brown had 19 points in Ames (even though he only played 25 minutes) and was held to only 12 in Austin despite the Longhorns winning.  Brown is definitely the straw the stirs the drink for Texas.  Expect Chris Babb, once again, to take on the opponent’s best player (Brown).

Myck Kabongo doesn’t blow you away statistically (he does average almost 10 points and dishes out 5.3 assists per game), but he maybe is the best future NBA point guard in college basketball right now.  Scouts love Kabongo’s intelligence and knack for the game.  Also, Kabongo plays solid defense which adds to his NBA Draft stock.

Besides those two guards, freshman guard Sheldon McClellan averages 11.4 points.  Also, Iowa State fans should watch out for center Clint Chapman.  Chapman dominated Iowa State in the first game, shooting 7 for 9 from the field on his way to 19 points.

Prediction:  When I first saw the line for tonight’s game, I thought Vegas was crazy for putting Texas as the favorite.  However, as more time passes I’m getting quite nervous as an Iowa State fan.  Like I’ve said, Texas will be playing for their season against Iowa State.   At the end of the regular season, Texas was playing some good basketball as they ended by going 6-3.  I’m expecting a close game.

There are some things that Iowa State can do that they didn’t do against Texas in the first two games.  The Longhorns outrebounded the Cyclones by a combined total of 12 in those two games.  In the game in Austin, where the Cyclones lost by 7, Iowa State shot the ball poorly (33.3%).  Adding to that point, Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen combined for 2 for 14 shooting in that game.  I guarantee you that those two won’t shoot the ball that poorly tonight.

Senior Alexis Wangmene, supposedly UT’s best inside defender, is out for the game after injuring his wrist in the Kansas game.  Wangmene held Thomas Robinson to 3 of 10 shooting before he was injured.  Wangmene averaged 21.5 minutes per game for the Horns. This will be a large hit to the Longhorns.

Well, I think this game will come down to the wire.  Iowa State is the better team but they are facing a team that is playing with their back to the wall.  The Cyclones haven’t won a Big 12 Tournament game in awhile, but I think that streak snaps tonight.

Iowa State – 65

Texas – 61

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