When Iowa State came to Stillwater the Cowboys were a team in disarray. They'd lost the last two games, and were visibly frustrated. Oklahoma State was struggling to find their mojo, and Iowa State got the win in triple overtime.
This time around, it's the Cyclones looking to break a losing streak, while the Cowboys have regained their early season confidence. Embarrass Texas Tech, beat down TCU, knock off Kansas, handle K-State, and the season outlook is significantly improved.
"We're getting them at a point in time when they're playing great basketball," Iowa State Coach Hoiberg said. "But I think the way we look at it, with the last two road games, we play at Kansas State, which hasn't lost a home game all year in conference, then you play a hot Baylor team. Now we're going against probably the hottest team in the Big 12 right now. Again, those are steps toward the ultimate goal, playing in the postseason and getting prepared for that."
|TEAM||POINTS AVG||REBOUNDS AVG||ASSISTS AVG||FIELD GOAL %||TURNOVER AVG||RPI RANK|
Despite their last couple of losses, Iowa State is the 16th best team in the country, and they hold the edge in nearly every major statistic.
While stats never lie, they can sure hide the truth. Cowboy fans shouldn't worry too much about the numbers. This isn't the injured, leaderless, & demoralized Oklahoma State team of a few weeks back. The team going up to Ames is closer to the team that was ranked 5th in the nation earlier this season.
"We need to continue to play well," Coach Travis Ford said. "Our motivation is to make the NCAA tournament, so we can't exhale now. I think we're in good shape. If you blindly put any resume against ours, I think we're in pretty good shape."
Travis Ford is right, The Cowboys should make the NCAA Tournament, but you never want to leave it up to the judges, so to speak. A win against the Cyclones could propel the Cowboys to make a run in the Big 12 Tournament, and solidify their spot in the field of 68.
|TEAM||POINTS AVG||REBOUNDS AVG||ASSISTS AVG||STEALS||BLOCKS|
|Oklahoma State||M. Smart 17.6||K. Murphy 6.3||M. Smart 4.7||M. Smart 2.6||M. Cobbins 1.5|
|Iowa State||M. Ejim 18.4||M. Ejim 8.6||D. Kane 5.8||D. Kane 1.3||D. Hogue 0.7|
Oklahoma State's Smart, Brown, and Nash are one of the best trio's in the country, but Iowa State has an elite three of their own, and the Hilton Coliseum could be the toughest environment they've faced yet.
It's Senior Night in Ames, and two of the Cyclone stars, Melvin Ejim and De'Andre Kane, will be playing their final game in cardinal and gold.
Kane leads the Big 12 in scoring, and is second in the conference in rebounding. He will give the Pokes everything they want and then some, but this game could come down to Smart vs Kane.
The Cowboys haven't lost since Smart's return, and Kane is a major reason why the Cyclones are ranked where they are. Kane is the play maker, he drives the Iowa State offence. If Smart can disrupt him, the Pokes have to like their chances.