Iowa State basketball has suffered some serious blows on the road this season. In their last game away from Ames, the team admitted in looking past Texas Tech. Let’s just say they shouldn’t have a problem focusing on the team at the top of the Big 12.
Cyclones can’t be too amped up
When it comes to big games, one or both teams tend to struggle at the beginning because they’re overexcited. Iowa State can’t overcompensate with slow starts but being too rushed. Start turning the ball over at Kansas and those players and fans will run you right out of the gym.
Luckily, Iowa State has the advantage in that department. As long as they play cool and Monte Morris continues his absurd assist-turnover ratio, the Jayhawks don’t force enough turnovers by themselves. That’s unlike TCU, who the Cyclones played right in their hands until a second half pullaway.
Is this a must win for Iowa State basketball?
Realistically, this could be. It’s time to forget about Kansas’ early struggles. Their only loss is to Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum in Big 12 action. If the Cyclones lose this game, they’ll have three losses. Assuming they just drop one more down the stretch, they’ll need the Jayhawks to lose three games somewhere to just get a share of the conference.
Right now, that doesn’t seem likely. Iowa State has the ability to tie with Kansas right now and the future looks incredibly bright to pull off a decent winning streak assuming Oklahoma and Texas continues to struggle.
One key will be bench production
There were times that Iowa State relied on Jameel McKay and Abdel Nader to help pull the Cyclones through some games. Kansas has thrived from the bench outscoring their opposition 111-28 in the last three games. Assuming the starting lineup stays the way it has, we’ll see how McKay, Nader, and even Matt Thomas change that momentum.
If Iowa State wants to win the Big 12 regular season title, it has to win on Monday night in my opinion. Hell, they have to win to just dethrone Kansas after 10 years. West Virginia is the other team with a chance, but I can’t see anyone else overtaking this trio. Texas, a preseason favorite, has regressed offensively and have lost too many games in conference play at this point.