After the quality win against VCU, the bearcats close their non-conference schedule against the 11th ranked Iowa State Cyclones. This would be a great win to add on our tournament resume. After quality wins against George Washington and VCU, beating a ranked team would be icing on the cake. It would also cover the loses we had. Losing against Butler is still hard to swallow but against Xavier, I’m content with. They have a tough team this year. I predict Xavier might go to the elite 8 or further. #JustSayin
Iowa State is a high paced, scoring team. They average almost 85 points a game led by forward Georges Niang, who averages 18 points a game. The real stinger for Iowa State is that they lost guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long, who averages 13 points a game, due to a hip injury. I know 1 player doesn’t defy a team but when you have a player that contributes that many points, its a factor to contend with. When the Bearcats played against VCU, I was really impressed with their defense the entire night. VCU’s top scorer Melvin Johnson, who averages 19 points a game, only scored 2 points…the entire night! A funny fact, Johnson had more fouls that points. GO BEARCATS!
As of late, the bearcats’ scoring has decreased up to this point. In the beginning of the season, the team was averaging 86 points a game. 12 games in, now they are averaging 78 points. Yes, the bearcats defense is great and something we’ve all grown accustomed to but it doesn’t mean something if you can score. My thinking is that we need to give the ball more to Farad Cobb and Octavius Ellis. Cobb is shifty and quick and he can shoot the 3 like it’s nothing. Ellis is just crazy when he’s near the rim. He’ll find a way to score for his team. I’m really impressed with Gary Clark’s improvement this season. When Ellis and Deberry were in foul trouble in the game against VCU, he really stepped up to get back in transition and defend.
Tonight’s game will be very intense. Guaranteed. Coming after their first loss, Iowa State needs this win to get back in the swing of things and it definitely is their first true road test against a really good defensive team. For the bearcats, it’s all about stop the points in transition and guard Niang. If they can guard Niang tonight like they did against Johnson in VCU, they should be fine. Like always, the bearcats still have trouble taking care of the ball. The turnovers need to be less than 5 tonight. I can’t stand when they are averaging more than 10 turnovers a game. It just can’t happen. If they turnover the ball 15 times, they’ll probably lose. The bearcats need to score, rebound, and get fouled tonight and we could be seeing an upset at fifth third arena tonight. GO BEARCATS!