Iowa vs Iowa State Preview

Iowa vs Iowa State

Another year, another edition of the annual Cy-Hawk series that pits in-state rivals against each other takes place tonight at the Hilton Coliseum, home of the Cyclones.

This year’s edition isn’t nearly as exciting as prior seasons’, mainly due to both teams going through a bit of a transition phase. Iowa (4-5) has lost five of their last six games and Iowa State (5-2) lost by 18 to a Milwaukee team that likely won’t make a postseason tournament. In fairness to the Cyclones, they have reeled off five straight victories–all against weaker mid-major opponents.

Get to know Iowa

This Iowa Hawkeyes team is not the typical Fran McCaffrey coached team. They have looked lost and disjointed at times this season, but McCaffery and his players have pointed out, rightly, that at times the offense has been very good. The first half against Virginia Tech, the second part of the first half against Penn State and the first six minutes at Indiana all showed the Hawkeyes’ patience and ability to get quality baskets when the ball rotates effectively. That’s still an asset. It’s still there. Iowa didn’t just lose the ability to do that.

Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said this week Iowa is too talented not to figure it out. He’s right. It’s just a matter of when that happens. It was this game last year, for what that’s worth.

Iowa has been downright terrible at times on defense this season, specifically with help defense and rotations.

Get to know Iowa State

These certainly aren’t the Fred Hoiberg Cyclones anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have what it takes to succeed.

Iowa State’s strength is in its backcourt right now, led by the trio of Nick Weiler-Babb, Donovan Jackson and Wigginton. The first few games saw that group struggle, as their roles weren’t clearly defined and things looked forced. A switch of Weiler-Babb to the point got Jackson free to go back to hunting for his shot, Weiler-Babb to create and slash and Wigginton to do a little bit of everything.

Weiler-Babb might have the most impressive resume for the Cyclones so far, even if he isn’t the most dangerous player they have. His line of 13.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists is eye-popping. He’s flirted with a triple-double on a couple of occasions.

Now that head coach Steve Prohm has figured out his rotation, the Cyclones have been clicking–that being said, depth is an issue for this team. They really only play eight guys with meaningful minutes and some injuries have affected that.

Youth is prevalent on this team and that has affected how they play defense. That youth has led Prohm to want his defense to get set and be ready, rather than pressure full court–something the Cyclones have been known for over the years. Obviously, failing to create a consistent amount of turnovers has been the result of the non-pressure defense.

Prediction

The Hawkeyes haven’t won a game at Hilton Coliseum since 2003, in an NIT game, and haven’t won a Cy-Hawk Series game at Hilton since 2001. That’s almost two decades.

Iowa State is playing far more like a cohesive unit, and that will likely stay the same for a fourth ISU win in the last five years.

LINE: -7 Iowa State

Iowa State 80 Iowa 64

 

 

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