This is a big game for the Cyclones. You can read more about our team here, if you're getting caught up.They head up to Cedar Falls today for their first road game of the season, against a quality program. Gone are Jordan Egleseder and Ali Farokhmanesh, but UNI still has some players.
Tipoff: 7pm CST, ESPN3.com/ESPNFC/CW Network in DSM/Panther Network in Eastern IA
Location: McLeod Center, Cedar Falls, IA
Lines: Vegas -> ISU + 2; Pomeroy -> ISU - 1; Sagarin -> ISU -11
UNI Starting 5:
G #13 Johnny Moran, 6-1, JR
G #11 Kwadzo Ahelegbe, 6-2, SR
G #22 Kerwin Dunham, 6-6, SR
F #20 Jake Koch, 6-9, SO
F #32 Lucas O'Rear, 6-6, SR
UNI Key Contributors:
G #23 Marc Sonnen, 6-3, SO
G #52 Anthony James, 6-0, SO
F #4 Chip Rank, 6-6, FR
C #33 Austin Pehl, 6-10, SO
As far as this team goes, the leading scorer is actually James averaging 12.5 a game. The leading rebounder is O'Rear averaging 5.5/game. They don't have one guy that stands out in particular. Everybody does something to help contribute to a team win. It's not like you can shut down one guy, and UNI is screwed over.
UNI also has a larger rotation. The first three guys I listed coming off the bench get as many minutes as Dunham, Kock, and O'Rear. Rank and Pehl get around the 15-18 minute range. They are comfortable playing 9 guys, where Iowa State is more comfortable playing 7.
Keys To The Game:
Handling The Road Environment - It is hard to get a gauge on how good Iowa State is going to be this season, until we can see them play an opponent on a road, and an opponent of a similar caliber. If Iowa State hangs tough and continues to play with that kind of confidence they have shown early on, they have a great chance to win.
Good shot selection - As a team, Iowa State is shooting better (58% eFG vs. 48% eFG), but the rebounding and turnover margins are about equal. In addition, UNI has done a better job of getting to the line, but similar to Iowa State, they have struggled with making the baskets, only shooting about 68% from the line as well. Shooting is the one differentiator to this point, and it will need to continue. Of course winning the battles that are close are important as well, but shooting well is always going to be the key. Taking good shots (unforced, open, etc) is going to lead to better shooting
Pace - Iowa State plays better when they push the tempo. UNI plays better when they grind it out and have the score in the mid 60s. Whoever can control the pace of the game, has a big advantage.
I've been expecting an ISU letdown and it hasn't really happened yet. The only thing that would shock me, is if the game isn't close. If one team blows out the other, then I'll be surprised. I think in the first half, UNI controls the tempo a bit, and in the second half, Iowa State adjusts and gets the W. I'm going with Iowa State 72, UNI 68.