Iowa State basketball hosts Texas at Hilton Coliseum for Big Monday after a ridiculous loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Here are my players to watch.
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Myles Turner (#52, Fr F, 6-foot-11, 240 lbs.)
First up is the freshman phemon. The previous number two recruit in the nation is leading a balanced Longhorns attack with 11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, and 2.7 bpg. His height and shooting touch (41 percent from three) could cause plenty of headaches. I’m expecting Georges Niang to get the start here thanks to his versatility, but Jameel McKay will be huge in this matchup as well.
Isaiah Taylor (#1, So G, 6-foot-1, 170 lbs.)
Second is the real motor for Texas in Taylor. The sophomore guard is tied for second on the team in scoring at 11.4 ppg and dishes 3.5 apg. His shooting percentages are a respectable, but not astounding, 39 percent from the floor and 33 percent from 3-point land. He missed a stretch of games in the middle of the season due to a wrist injury and Texas struggled somewhat with his absence at the point. Monte Morris will tackle Taylor in another exciting point guard duel.
Jonathan Holmes (#10, Sr F, 6-foot-8, 240 lbs.)
Jan 24, 2015; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Jonathan Holmes (10) shoots the ball as Kansas Jayhawks guard Wayne Selden (1) defends during the second half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. The Jayhawks won 75-62. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Lastly is the old man on the team, who contributes 11.4 ppg and hauls in 6.7 rebounds — good for second in that stat. He also averages 1.4 assists, but doesn’t shoot amazingly at only 41 percent from the field and 37 percent from distance. He is very much a solid presence for a Texas team that, while very deep and talented, hasn’t looked like the second best Big 12 team on a consistent basis.
Georges Niang (#31, Jr F, 6-foot-8, 230 lbs.)
First up for the Cyclones is Niang. He is still continuing his campaign in the national POY discussion, and his leadership will be critical in the game against the Longhorns. I’m hoping Georges can step up in a big way to help the team bounce back from the TTU loss.
Sense Of Urgency (Everyone)
Instead of a second player, I’m calling out all the Cyclones to start faster. They have been able to (mostly) gut out wins against their opponents, but that sort of stuff is no longer acceptable for a team pegged as one to make a deep run in March.
I’m not eager to criticize Fred Hoiberg’s methods as he has brought ISU back to a point where people care enough to scrutinize the team, but I am expecting him to try and change something to jump start the team as they try and regain their conference momentum.