Iowa State basketball: What to watch for vs TCU


Iowa State basketball rebounded in a big win against Texas, but faces a similar situation that it did just a week ago. There’s an opponent lower on the totem pole (TCU) before the biggest contender for another Big 12 regular season title (Kansas). Have they learned to begin these games with a sense of urgency?

The Cyclones faltered in Lubbock on Saturday after another slow start. Texas Tech hit them in the mouth early with 3-pointers, similar to what Baylor did, but ISU was able to climb back into the game in Waco earlier. It took about 32 minutes for the Cyclones to kick it in gear against the Red Raiders. There just wasn’t enough time or 3-pointers made to avoid the loss.

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TCU has played strong everywhere

Those four blemishes on Iowa State’s record have all come on the road and all started out slow on both sides of the ball. The Cyclones would lack scoring while the opponent would be nailing wide open 3-pointers. With a better start, this team could easily have three more wins on their belt (South Carolina was an opponent they just weren’t going to beat).

What’s interesting about TCU is they’ve had a better showing in road games than ISU. In three conference road trips, they lost 58-53 against Kansas State, defeated Texas Tech 62-42, and lost in a controversial overtime finish 86-85 at West Virginia. In fact, their only bad loss in Big 12 play was a beatdown at Texas.

A bad matchup for ISU?

Jan 26, 2015; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Jameel McKay (1) gestures to the crowd from the court during the game against the Texas Longhorns at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones won 89-86. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

There’s three things to keep an eye on when watching this game. TCU excels in rebounding, holding opposing offenses below their averages, and completely stopping ball movement. They average nearly 40 rebounds per game. On defense, they allow just 57.6 points and 8.9 assists per game.

One thing to keep in mind is the stats are a bit inflated — the nonconference slate was an absolute joke for the Horned Frogs and stats are just beginning to adjust. Opposing defenses also haven’t been as strong in Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State blew by the defensive averages of Kansas State and Texas recently.


  • Kyan Anderson has had a double-double in 21 of 25 Big 12 games.
  • Jameel McKay is second in the Big 12 with 2.3 blocks per game.
  • Iowa State is the only team with six players averaging in double figures.

Final thoughts

It’s only a matter of time before TCU figures it out. Iowa State needs to prepare for the Horned Frogs like an upper echelon team in the conference. Their stats may be overblown, but they’ve competed against their conference opponents very well — it just hasn’t translated into wins yet.

Considering how well the Cyclones handled the Longhorns’ size, they’ve come a long way since Maryland. Hopefully Iowa State continues the trends of exploiting other weaknesses and keeping TCU from winning.

Next: TCU-Iowa State: Five players to watch