If you can’t keep up with Iowa State’s pace, you’re going to have a problem and that’s exactly what happened to Notre Dame in their 18-point loss. With a slower team, the Irish had trouble running up and down the cOurt and covering the numerous shooters on the Cyclones. When they started to adjust and cover behind the arc, it just happened to open up lanes to drive to the hoop.
Ohio State had no problems in their win over Iona. They boast a more athletic squad than the Irish, but it’s hard to prepare for a squad like Iowa State especially with only one day of preparation. The Buckeyes only have one Game of prior experience against the Big 12 this year and that was a home loss to Kansas. The Jayhawks beat ISU three times this year, but two of those Games went to overtime. This may be a 2-10 matchup, but Ohio State cannot take the Cyclones lightly.
This Game will come down to two parts for the Buckeyes: they need to get back on transition defense and need to attack the hoop while playing smart with the ball. Notre Dame failed to do either as they once had a stretch of five straight turnovers. Aaron Craft is a great defender, but he can only do so many things especially against a team full of ball handlers. The rest of the team will need to help out and that includes guarding the three-point line while also not allowing too many easy baskets down low. Forwards Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang combined for 36 points against Notre Dame because Jack Cooley and company just didn’t have the quickness to deal with those guys. Sam Thompson, Amir Williams and LAQuinton Ross will likely get those matchups and all of them are decent athletically, but all are very young.
On the other end, Ohio State will cause problems with Deshaun Thomas as he’s very hard to stop, especially if you’ve never seen him before. Thomas averages close to 20 points per Game on the season and will likely reach that mark in this Game. His help has been the question mark this season. Thompson stepped up big in their last Game with 24 points making all eight of his free throw attempts. Shannon SCott also played big minutes off the bench with seven points, seven boards and 10 assists. Normally a defensive specialist, SCott will likely get the task of defending Iowa State’s sharpshooter off the bench in Tyrus McGee.
The Cylones have a complete team which makes things hard for opponents as you have to guard all five of their players on the cOurt at all times. They have six guys that average at least 9.2 points per Game. Senior Chris Babb is the one that averages 9.2 points per Game, but he is not a player you want to take lightly as he makes two threes per Game.
As with most teams that shoot a lot of threes, if Iowa State is hitting their shot, it’s going to be hard for anyone to beat them. They struggle defensively which is going to be a problem against Thomas and possibly Craft if he decides to attack the hoop. If the Buckeyes can get back on defense and contest shots, they should win this Game, but it’s not going to be another 25-point win for them.