After two hard road losses, the Pokes are back in Stillwater to try to bring their conference record back to .500 against the Iowa State Cyclones. Tipoff is at 8pm. To me, this is a must win game. OSU has to protect their home court against teams that are in the middle of the Big 12 pack with them. Like OSU, Iowa State is also currently 1-2 in conference play with an overall record of 14-4. They are coming off a huge win against Baylor and no doubt will be looking to use that confidence to upset OSU in GIA. In my opinion, the Pokes will be ready for this game. The loss to Colorado no doubt left a bad taste in the players' and coaches' mouths. If Coach Ford wants to make the NCAA tourney for the third consecutive year, he has to get his players to play complete games for the entire forty minutes--and it has to start against the Cyclones. Click the jump for the keys to the game.
Stop the threes
Iowa State's strength is behind the arc. The team is currently shooting 39% for the season, 39.5% in conference play from three point land. Their sharp shooters are Scott Christopherson and Jamie Vanderbeken. And when I say sharp shooters, I mean these guys are deadly. Christopherson is shooting 50% for the season behind the arc while Vanderbeken is hitting over 45% of his own. These guys can light it up and fast. The OSU guards will have their work cut out for them. Plan to see plenty of defender switches on screens.
Be physical inside the paint
While the Cyclones are very talented on the outside, their inside game is pretty average on both sides of the court. On defense, the Pokes want to make Iowa State play inside-out rather than outside in. Make their bigs do the work while their sharp shooters roam around the perimeter without opportunities to score. On the offensive side, attack them down low. They aren't a spectacular rebounding team so attacking the offensive glass will be huge as well.
I know this sounds cliche but the Pokes will have to play great help defense to extinguish what Iowa State tries to do on offense. The Cyclones' guard, Diante Garrett, makes the offense move and is averaging over 6 assists a game. In order to limit his effectiveness, OSU is going to have to keep talking to eachother the whole game to fend off screens and cuts. If they don't, Iowa State is going to see a lot of open shots.