Tuesday, 8 p.m., Frank Erwin Center, ESPN2, 104.9 FM
Don’t underestimate Iowa State
Most of the talk when it comes to the Big 12 is about Kansas and Oklahoma, but Iowa State is a solid squad. The Cyclones are 12-3 and have consistently been in the top half of the AP poll. A home loss to Baylor dropped Iowa State to 1-2 in Big 12 play, so the Cyclones will be ready to get back on track against Texas. Make no mistake, this is a tough game for the Longhorns.
Longhorns struggling on offense
It hasn’t been easy for Texas to score lately. The Longhorns shot 37.1 percent from the field in their 58-57 loss to TCU on Saturday and rank seventh in the Big 12 in scoring offense. Luckily for the Longhorns, defense isn’t Iowa State’s strong suit. The Cyclones are last in the Big 12 in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense. That might be what it takes to jumpstart Texas’ stagnant offense.
Get ready for 3-pointers
Both of these teams take a ton of threes. The Cyclones lead the Big 12 with 352 3-point attempts for the season, while the Longhorns are right behind them at 330 threes. Iowa State has made 35.8 percent of those threes while Texas has made 34.2 percent. The Longhorns have lived and died by the three, especially since senior center Cameron Ridley’s foot injury. But now, Texas faces a team who does the same thing, and that could decide the game’s outcome.
Iowa State has a star
Part of Iowa State’s success is thanks to Georges Niang. The Cyclones’ senior forward is second in the Big 12 in scoring with 19.4 points per game, and also averages 6.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Texas’ frontcourt will have its hands full trying to defend Niang, and are already behind the curb without Ridley. The Longhorns usually start three guards, so it could be up to senior forward Connor Lammert to slow Niang down.
Texas needs this
The Longhorns’ tournament hopes took a hit with their loss to TCU, and they would fall to 1-3 in Big 12 play with a loss to Iowa State. Texas simply can’t afford to put itself in such a place that early in conference play. Plus, the Longhorns still have road games against West Virginia and Kansas coming up in January. The road doesn’t get any easier for Texas, and a home victory against Iowa State would be a big morale and momentum booster.