Tonight is the last home game of the season, and last game at Hilton Coliseum for Diante Garrett, Jamie Vanderbeken, and Jake Anderson. They face a Colorado team that needs to win out to have a chance to make the NCAA tournament, and a team that previously beat the Cyclones by 26 points. The Cyclones have a chance to burst another team's bubble, and they also have a chance to clinch a winning regular season. It is a big game on both fronts because Colorado wants to go to the dance, and this Iowa State team has too much pride to just roll over and die, and for that I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.
Last Time They Faced Each Other:
Colorado shot 50% from the floor, Burks scored 19 points, Higgins 16, and 3 other CU players reached double figures. Iowa State went 11 of 26 from beyond the arc (DG and Christopherson were 9 of 16), but shot only 42% overall, got outrebounded by 13 boards, and turned the ball over 5 more times than CU, resulting in 4 more shot attempts by CU. Roberson and Burks killed Iowa State on the glass that game, as Roberson had 13 boards (4 offensive) in 22 minutes, and Burks had 10 boards in that contest.
Bottom line: Iowa State played bad defense, got beat on the glass, and turned it over too many times to have a chance to win.
What Might Be Different This Time:
First, Colorado is not a good defensive team. In fact, they are 132nd in defensive efficiency. They are in the top 1/3rd of division one, but not as good at defense as a Texas or anything like that. In the previous game, Vanderbeken only put up 6 shots and got into foul trouble, and Ejim (also in foul trouble) only put up 4 shots that game. Vanderbeken and Ejim only combined for 8 points. In top of that, Calvin Godfrey was suspended, which really hurt the front lines.
Now, Ejim has seemed to figure out rebounding in the Big 12, as he's been racking up offensive rebounds since that CU game. Also, Vanderbeken looks refreshed coming off one of his best games, and Godfrey looks like a more improved player than prior to his suspension.
I would like to think that Ejim and Vanderbeken will adjust to stay out of foul trouble, and having an extra enforcer on defense to come off the bench to spell these guys is going to be huge. I do not think Iowa State will get as taken advantage of on the boards. What makes or breaks this game for me, is whether Vanderbeken and Christopherson shoot well. If Diante has to take 20 shots, unless he's having a career-type of a day, is bad news. We need our best shooters to step up and shoot, and Ejim and Godfrey to grab the boards down low.
Colorado is on the roll, have more pure talent, and are favored to win. If Nebraska, a team that played close to Iowa State earlier in the year, can't come into Hilton and be ready in a must win game, I would not be suprised to see Colorado, a team that blew us out earlier in the year, do the same.
It should be a good game, tonight. Let's get those bubbles bursted!
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