Friday Night slate: Iowa State hosts rival Hawkeyes

Iowa State, at 6-3, has lost most of its interesting non-conference matchups this season. The Cyclones fell early in the year to Drake, and recently lost to Michigan and Northern Iowa. So that’s two in-state opponents I-State has been beaten by.

Big chance today, as they take on Iowa. So far, I-State has shown some good things but a 6-3 record isn’t too indicative of success. The Cyclones need to take advantage of non-conference games to boost their record before the tough Big 12.

Some things I like:

 – Iowa State has shown scoring balance. Four players average more than 10 points per game: guards Chris Allen, Chris Babb and Tyrus McGee, and big man Royce White. McGee doesn’t play quite as much as the others. As an observer I prefer scoring balance in the college game because it shows you’re not relying on one guy for points and offense (as it would be easy for I-State to do with White). If the Cyclones compete in the Big 12, it will be in part because of continued offensive balance.

 – Royce White is playing very well. Averaging very close to a double-double (leading the team in both points and rebounds) is quite an accomplishment for a guy who has been playing competitive games for less than a month. I know he is in shape and has obviously been practicing, but he wasted no time contributing to this Iowa State team. White also shoots better than 52 percent, which indicates he is getting good shots.

 – Scott Christopherson is getting a lot of minutes. He is currently shooting 38.7 percent from three-point range, which is fine as this is his primary skill. If he could raise that to about 40 percent in Big 12 play, it would be a huge asset for Iowa State.

In its last game, Iowa got routed at Northern Iowa, 80-60. (UNI beat I-State 69-62 in Ames. I-State was outrebounded by five.) The Hawkeyes actually outrebounded UNI but shot 1 of 12 from three-point range, while the purple Panthers hit 11 of 21.

I’m not going to say too much more about Iowa because I don’t know much of anything you couldn’t just find from statistics, but it would seem if Iowa State can keep from getting outrebounded badly and continue to get White the ball where he can score, the Cyclones can get a very helpful non-conference win.

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