Iowa State basketball: Five players to watch vs Kansas State


It’s a double dose of The Sunflower State when Iowa State basketball hosts Kansas State on Tuesday. Here are my players to watch for each team.

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Kansas State

Marcus Foster (#2, So G, 6-foot-2, 200 lbs.)

Foster is first up for the Wildcats. The sophomore came into this season as one of the contenders for Big 12 POY, but he and the team have underperformed to this point. Foster still averages a respectable 13.6 ppg and shoots 45 percent from distance. As KSU’s best guard, I am expecting Monte Morris to blanket him and prevent him from running the offense comfortably.

Thomas Gipson (#42, Sr G, 6-foot-7, 265 lbs.)

Gipson is next, and he’s more of a steady presence compared to the dynamic Foster. Gipson is currently averaging 11.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 0.7 bpg. He also shoots very well from the floor at 60 percent this season, but has not attempted a three so far. He will likely be handled by Georges Niang on defense, who definitely has the edge in versatility.

Jevon Thomas (#1, So G, 6-foot-1, 180 lbs.)

Jan 10, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Matt Thomas (21) shoots a free throw against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first half at the WVU Coliseum. Iowa State won 74-72. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Lastly, I am picking Thomas. The sophomore only averages 6.0 ppg, but contributes 3.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.2 steals to go along with a solid 37 percent from three. Given Thomas’ lack of offense relative to his teammates, Naz Long and Matt Thomas could alternate on him to let the rest of the Cyclones concentrate on more explosive players.

Iowa State

Matt Thomas (#21, So G, 6-foot-4, 195 lbs.)

Speaking of Thomas, he is my first ISU player to watch Tuesday night. He didn’t score a point against Kansas and has had three poor games in a row since scoring 10 against Oklahoma State. He is also averages fewer minutes than last season and needs to bring it if he wants to stay relevant. Thomas stands taller than most of the Wildcats likely to guard him and could have the chance to bounce back with the amount of defensive attention that will focused elsewhere.

Dustin Hogue (#22, Sr F, 6-foot-6, 220 lbs.)

For the second straight game we are also zeroing in on Hogue. He is coming off a good 14 point, 6 board game against the Jayhawks and should be able to carry the momentum into the Wildcat game. With Jameel McKay coming on strong, Hogue is going to be motivated to keep his starting front court spot. With KSU’s occasional struggles, it is a good chance to solidify his position against McKay’s increasing dominance.

Be sure to check back to the site for a full game preview tomorrow. Go Cyclones!

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