Arkansas vs. Iowa State men’s basketball: Game preview and prediction


Want me to explain what 18th-ranked Arkansas (6-0) is all about? Well, they’re Iowa State (4-1). These same two teams thrive on ball movement in a fast-paced offense. They also both rock their own home court and make things hell for the other opponent. Which is why we’re happy this thing is in Ames.

(18)Arkansas Razorbacks at (20)Iowa State Cyclones

James H. Hilton Coliseum | Ames, Iowa
Thursday, December 4th, 2014 | Tipoff – 8:00 PM CT
TV: ESPN2 | Stream: WatchESPN

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Along with being similar opponents, both the Cyclones and Razorbacks have a connection. Nick Babb, currently a freshman, is Chris’ younger brother. Chris was the defensive specialist in his two seasons with Iowa State, and we’ll see what Nick molds into during his tenure at Arkansas. He’s obviously not averaging much time or production just yet (8.4 minutes, 2 points per game), but we could see him out there on the court.

Georges Niang also spent some time with a couple of key Arkansas players — Bobby Portis and Michael Qualls. We’ll dive into those two players later.

Series history

Iowa State is 3-1 all-time against Arkansas. They met twice in Hawaii and once in Ames back in 1970. This is the first meeting between both programs since 1990. The Cyclones are 106-173 all-time against the SEC — of course, that record is a little skewed with Missouri and Texas A&M now in their new conference.

Projected starting lineup

Nov 17, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Naz Long (15) brings the ball up the court against the Georgia State Panthers at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State

  • Georges Niang (#31, F) – 18.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3 apg
  • Dustin Hogue (#22, F) – 11.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
  • Monte Morris (#11, G) – 9.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 6.4 apg
  • Naz Long (#15, G) – 12.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1 apg
  • Bryce Dejean-Jones (#13, G) – 14.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.8 apg


  • Rashad Madden (#00, G) – 12.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 6 apg
  • Anthlon Bell (#05, G) – 13.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.2 apg
  • Michael Qualls (#24, G) – 15.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.2 apg
  • Jacorey Williams (#22, F) – 8.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.2 apg
  • Bobby Portis (#10, F) – 14.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg

What to watch for

There’s truly not much different when it comes to matching these two squads up. Arkansas actually scores a blazing 90 points per game, has over 20 assists per game, and wins by nearly 20 points a game. The schedule hasn’t been a complete joke either — they defeated SMU 78-72 on the road and kept another high-flying offense, Iona, in check 94-77.

The equality of both teams also plays at an advantage for Iowa State — there’s only one starting big guy they have to deal with. That’s sophomore forward Bobby Portis, who checks in at 6-foot-11 and weighs 242 pounds. Portis averages 52.2 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from 3-point land (5 of 6).

Along with Portis’ size, they’ll have to deal with a team that passes the ball just as much as them. Rashad Madden is the main point guard who dishes out six dimes per GAME. Michael Qualls, who averages a team-high 15.3 points per game and is essentially a guard-forward hybrid, also averages over two assists per game. So does Jacorey Williams, who started his first game last time out against Iona and should likely make the start again.

Considering how similar Iowa State and Arkansas are, we should be in for a treat at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State needs to find some way to keep Arkansas from getting a ton of offensive rebounds, which is the biggest difference among the teams (nearly a 10 percent and four rebound advantage per game).


Considering how similar Iowa State and Arkansas are, we should be in for a treat at Hilton Coliseum. Expect both teams to hit well over 70 points. Want to forget about the loss to Maryland? The Cyclones need to answer the bell with a big victory in their friendly confines.

Two words can describe this game: Track meet. As long as Iowa State doesn’t get into their sluggish starts, it will be a great a ride. Niang needs to avoid foul trouble and make everything from the field. Long must hit 3’s, and Hogue has to be a force inside. BDJ just needs to keep doing BDJ things. And as long as the fans are screaming at the top of their lungs, that can give the players enough boost to pull out a high scoring affair.

Iowa State 89, Arkansas 83