Iowa State basketball has been in this position before. Back in 2013, the Cyclones were winning multiple games early in Big 12 play until an ugly defeat came in Lubbock. They were likely looking ahead, and they could be in another position to look ahead with a Big Monday matchup against Texas coming up. They can’t afford to this time around.
(9)Iowa State Cyclones vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
United Supermarkets Arena | Lubbock, Texas
Saturday, January 24, 2015 | Tipoff – 3:00 PM CT
TV: ESPNU | Stream: WatchESPN
More from Men's Basketball
- Iowa State basketball: Comeback over Iowa receives wrong attention
- Iowa State men’s basketball: Thank you, Fred Hoiberg
- Iowa State basketball: Never doubt Hilton Magic
- Iowa State Basketball: Cyclones gearing up for end of season
- Iowa State basketball: Cyclones destroy Texas Tech in Jameel McKay’s first start
This season shouldn’t have marked the first time that Iowa State (14-3, 4-1) started at 4-1 since 2000 — it should have happened in 2013. After the Cyclones opened up conference play with an overtime loss at Kansas, they won three straight games before heading into Lubbock. The next game after was against 11th-ranked Kansas State, and Texas Tech (10-9, 0-6) was not that good in 2013. ISU lost that game 56-51 in a comedy of errors.
It’s eerily similar to this situation. The Red Raiders are probably worse, but a huge game against Texas in Hilton Coliseum is just two days following this affair. The Cyclones need to stay focused and prepare for every game, because one slip-up could shake up the mindset and snowball into another loss.
Iowa State owns a 14-11 record against Texas Tech. They have won five of the last six — that loss of course the previously mentioned 2013 loss in Lubbock. The Red Raiders do have a 7-4 edge at home, but are 2-1 there in the Fred Hoiberg era.
What to watch for
Here’s the problem with Texas Tech. 10 of the 15 players on the team are freshman or sophomores, there’s only one senior starter that starts and plays regularly (Robert Turner), and the offense is a nightmare. They’re able to be scrappy and hold teams to 61.5 points per game, but they can barely break that mark on the offensive end with just 63.9 points and 10.9 assists per game.
Jan 17, 2015; Lubbock, TX, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders forward Aaron Ross (15) shoots against TCU Horned Frogs center Karviar Shepherd (14) in the second half at United Supermarkets Arena. TCU defeated Texas Tech 62-42. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
They also don’t have any home court advantage whatsoever. There could be more Cyclone fans strolling in from Dallas than Red Raider basketball fans making the trek to United Supermarkets Arena.
Devaugntah Williams, a freshman guard, is the only player that averages in scoring double-digits (and barely at 10.4 points per game). There’s been a little mixture in trying to figure out the best starting lineup, and last time out at Oklahoma State, the Red Raiders decided to start three freshman.
The only thing to watch is to see if Texas Tech can ugly this up. If they can force turnovers and prevent Iowa State to get assists, then they could have a glimmer of hope. Texas Tech also needs to go well above their offensive averages — they can’t rely on just their defense. They were able to hold ISU to under their offensive averages two seasons ago, but this Cyclone squad is mentally sharper and these Red Raiders are significantly worse.
There’s not much here. Iowa State just has to avoid a letdown. Even if the Cyclones underwhelmed, they should still be able to muddle through sleepwalking and still get a win. While it should be a win by 20 or 30 points, it’s more important to just let Hoiball do its magic and move on to the big game against Texas on Monday night.