Well, it’s finally here. The match up a lot of us have been waiting for all year. The in-state battle between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones.
This year there is a little more to this match up. Both teams are ranked, which is something that hasn’t happened in quite some time. Fred Hoiberg and Fran McCaffery clearly have their respective programs headed in the right direction.
Let’s take a look and see what each team needs to do to come away victorious.
For Iowa State:
Control the pace!
The Cyclones only go about 7 players deep in big games, so they don’t want to get into a running match with the Hawkeyes who have the ability to go 10 deep and possibly 11 if Josh Oglesby is in uniform. Iowa State does score a lot of points, but I think it’d be in their best interest to try to keep this game in the high 60’s or low 70’s.
Stay out of foul trouble!
I mentioned they only go 7 deep, so if they find themselves in foul trouble that might force Hoiberg’s hand in playing some guys he doesn’t normally play. Unlucky for him, the Hawkeyes do an excellent job of not only getting to the foul line, but they are connecting on 75% of their free throws.
Iowa has been known to start slow in both halves of the ball game. Iowa let Fairleigh Dickinson jump on them before going on a big run, but against a much better Cyclone ball club and a packed house in Ames, the run might not happen. Iowa State needs to get that crowd at Hilton into the game right away.
Control the crowd!
I mentioned Iowa State needs to get the crowd into the game. Well, Iowa needs to keep them out of it, because the Cyclones are a lot like the Hawkeyes in a sense that they are very good at home. Hilton Coliseum has been very kind to the Cyclones over the last couple of years. Including the 5 wins at home this season and the past two seasons, the Cyclones are 38-3 at Hilton. They feed off the energy. Iowa needs to keep the crowd out of it.
Run, Run, Run, and Run!!!
Iowa is best when they are out in transition. They’ve been doing it all year so it should be no surprise to see them do it again. The fact that they can go deeper into their bench than Iowa State can will work wonders in this aspect of the game. The Hawkeyes also get to the line a lot while they are in transition due to the fact that most teams aren’t ready for them to be coming that fast.
The bench has to be big!
Iowa’s bench has been phenomenal all year. Iowa went down early to FDU on Monday night, but the bench sparked a 19-0 run. Guys like Jarrod Uthoff, Zach McCabe, and Gabriel Olaseni will play a huge part in this game for the Hawkeyes.
“We try to bring the energy coming off the bench. … They’re [Iowa State] a good team and it should be a really good game, I’m excited for it.” – Jarrod Uthoff
“It’s a team with a lot of weapons. You can see that. They’ve got athletes. They’ve got shooters. They can beat you in a lot of different ways” - Fran McCaffery on Iowa State
My guess is this is going to be one for ages between the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones. I won’t be giving any predictions out, but the only thing I will say is this is going to be a great basketball game and I am definitely excited to watch these two top 25 teams duke it out on Friday night. Tip off for the game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CT.