The size of Iowa State has been exposed in Big 12 play. Sometimes it may not matter when shots go down, like against Baylor, but it could get extremely ugly if the Cyclones aren’t making anything. It could get really ugly against Texas if that’s the case.
The Longhorns always have talent in the frontcourt, and the most experience is found there on a very young team that’s been better than expected by most (except yours truly that had them finishing sixth in the preseason rankings).
Dec 21, 2013; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward
(10) leads a fast break against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. Michigan State beat Texas 92-78. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
#10 Jonathan Holmes (Texas junior forward, 6-8, 240 lbs.)
The starting forward has more experience than anyone on the young Longhorns squad. Iowa State has to be concerned with both the height and talent Holmes and center Cameron Ridley have. Both are coming off of double-digit rebounding performances against West Virginia. Holmes has trailed off offensively and has seen less time on the floor, but he has been the most consistent on the glass and could easily grab a double-double on a reeling Cyclones club. He also has the best field goal percentage (51.2) out of all the players taking 141 or more shot attempts on the team.
#15 Naz Long (Iowa State sophomore guard, 6-4, 205 lbs.)
Head coach Fred Hoiberg is sticking with Long in the starting position after freshman Matt Thomas has failed to be consistent. Even after starting against Kansas, Long just saw 16 minutes of total action and went 0-2 from the floor. It’s clear the position is wide open at the two; the sophomore will have to step up and knock shots down early to stay on the court.
#3 Javan Felix (Texas sophomore guard, 5-11, 195 lbs.)
The backup guard is trending in the right direction. He’s picked up more minutes of play on average and scored 12 or more points in three of the last four games, including 28 points against Oklahoma and 19 points against West Virginia. He was as efficient against the Mountaineers as he has been all season shooting the ball 10 or more times in a game. Felix will be a huge threat in the game if he comes off the bench knocking down shots, especially from the perimeter (32 percent shooter from the perimeter on the season).
- Ridley (#55, TEX sophomore center) is the second-biggest player on the team (behind Prince Ibeh), but he’s won the starting position. He’s been inconsistent at best on the boards, alternating performances like nine rebounds against Michigan State to just one against Rice.
- Georges Niang (#31, ISU sophomore forward) needs to find consistency offensively. He went 4-of-20 from the field against Kansas and shot 43.8 percent or less in three of the last four games.
- With rebounding being a huge concern for Iowa State, the game could be decided in the hands of Holmes, Ridley, and Ibeh; three players that are taller than the Cyclones and feature the most experience on the team.