Well, the conference season opens up for both my Cyclones and your Longhorns this Saturday. With football season over for both our teams (a little sooner for my team), we might as well focus on basketball. Plus, PB will probably be happy to get some fresh content...ha!
Well, what do you need to know about Iowa State? Well, for starters, the game is at the Frank Erwin Center, which is generally a good thing for Texas. Iowa State is just 1-6 against Texas in Austin, whereas Texas is just 3-5 at Hilton Coliseum. (You know when you're a shitty team with a great homecourt advantage? Only one team in the Big 12 has a winning record at Hilton, Kansas, at 19-18 .)
Anyways, you're probably wondering about these kooky Clones. Well, our offense consists of two things. We'll either pound it down low to Craig Brackins or take a three. Not much else, which is probably why our offense sucks harder than a girl on Gary Barnett's "recruiting tool" list. Occasionally, Diante Garrett will also try to penetrate, but, he's been less than impressive this year.
Our defense is usually straight man, though McDermott has been more than willing to mix in zone this year, which is a first. We have a defense capable of carrying us into postseason play with a decent offense. Unfortunately, we do not have the latter. Expect McDermott to get creative in defending Abrams, including Bryan Petersen and Charles Boozer (yes, he's the younger brother of that Boozer), as well as the possibilities of walkons Sean Haluska and Cam Lee of the bench. Abrams beat us last year. McDermott won't want to let him again.
Now, going down the list, player by player, including the expected starting five:
PG - Diante Garrett
Diante has been one of my favorite players to watch with his ability to dart around defenders, yet, he seems to have regressed a bit this year. If he could shoot, he would be at some place better than ISU. However, this year, his shot has come around a bit, and his assist totals are high, but he's not being utilized as well as he can. He's fully capable of scoring 20 points simply by weaving down the lane (shit, he's a 6-5 point), but he hasn't been capitalizing. Don't know why.
SG - Bryan Petersen
Petey was our point guard last year, but has switched to the off guard. He's got a nice shot (which he could probably afford to use more), but as a D2 JC transfer, he's very obviously not going to be the one to jump up and bite you unless he's having a career game. He is the floor leader, however, and better than any of the bench options. Oh, and at 5-11ish, he's our team's second leading rebounder.
SG - Lucca Staiger
Lucca could beat you. In our 66-63 heartbreaker to Drake, he drained seven three's in the first half to account for 21 of our 33 first half points. Lucca's a talented passer and the best shooter on the team, but he's been hobbled by a knee injury. If he gets hot, he'll merit tight defense. He's not healthy enough to shake a defender, though. Zone-buster, for sure, though.
PF - Craig Brackins
Finally playing like he deserves every one of those five stars in front of his recruiting ranking, Craig is averaging 18 and 9, albeit against crappy competition. He's a skilled scorer down low, and even occasionally plays defense. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor (hit 8 three's against Baylor last year) and will likely will be leaned on heavily until you guys prove you can stop him. More than likely won't be the reason we could beat you, but he'll obviously need to reach his season averages for us to have a chance.
C - Justin Hamilton
Justin's a pretty quick learner for a guy that played just one year of varsity basketball. I've been impressed by his floor presence and awareness (he gets a high AWR rating in CrossCyed's NCAA Basketball '09). Not a huge threat to shoot unless the Horns double down on Brackins, but has a nice shot when he does. Took over the starting role against Houston after an injury to Alex Thompson and hasn't looked back. Has been a pleasant surprise, but he has played NO ONE as good as the posts the Horns will throw at us. Might end up overwhelmed.
F - Alex Thompson
The fifth year senior and former Hawkeye can't hit a shot if his life depended on it, but he'll be used to try and keep the Horns from scoring down low. On his good days, he's a very good post defender (though I don't know if he looks good because our other bigs don't). He'll see minutes.
F - Jamie Vanderbeken
A shooting guard trapped in the body of a post player, Vanderbeken will be a larger threat from outside the arc than inside the arc. While he's a good shooter, if he makes an impact in the post, it'd be about the second time he does so. He might see minutes, he might not. He's Canadian, too. Thought you should know.
G - Charles Boozer
Iowa State's own Agent Zero (minus the offense and talent, but he does wear number 0), Boozer has worked his way into the rotation because he's one of the few guards built enough to play defense. Also has a very itchy trigger finger. Has really only gotten minutes the last few games, so I don't know much about his offensive game except I'm sure if we were in a three point contest (NBA style), he'd finish first. In terms of time, at least. Strong mofo, though.
G - Wes Eikmeier
The Nebraskan Assassin, Eikmeier was an absolutely prolific scorer in high school that's struggling adjusting to the pace of Division One basketball. A liability on the defensive end, he'd be brought in to drain threes. That's really his only reason for being on the court. Prone to the turnover.
G - Sean Haluska
Has seen his minutes decrease drastically. Prefers to shoot with a little kick in the air (you'll have to see it to understand). Might be brought in for his defense. Has 25 fouls against 16 field goals made this year. Yes, the younger brother of that Haluska.
G - Cameron Lee
Could be brought in as a defensive specialist. A walkon that only really plays for that purpose. Serious up, however. Won't be a threat to score on the floor, but may very well see time guarding Abrams.
G - Dominique Buckley
May see minutes if Diante/Petey are struggling badly. True freshman.
F - Clint Mann
Won't play unless we're down big.
In terms of coaching, I've made it well known I'm not a McDermott fan. The style we play is designed to keep us with better teams, but we never win those games. However, it's allowed really bad teams to beat us. We'll very likely try to keep the game in the sixties (and we'll have a chance if we do so.) Now, even though a road win is about the most unlikely scenario, we have the shooters (if they decide to make it) to give you guys a run for your money. This is simply due to the fact we'll slow it down to a godawful pace. If I were to make a prediction, I'd call for a 16 point Texas win. I'm expecting a tepid Horns crowd (explain to me why on Earth you guys are third in the Big 12 in attendance behind us?) which may work in our favor. If it was in Ames and you all didn't just lose to Arkansas, we could possibly pull the upset, but I just don't see it. I see us being tough losers in the game - as in, you guys might win by a decent margin, but it may not be real easy.
If there are any questions, I'd be glad to answer them. Go State!