Hawks, Cyclones to meet in Iowa City
For the first time since at least the mid-2000s, both Iowa and
Iowa State head into their annual December matchup with legitimate
NCAA tournament expectations.
Those postseason hopes will take a hit for the loser of Friday
night’s showdown in Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes (7-2) and Cyclones (6-2) each have lost to the two
best teams they’ve played; Iowa to No. 24 Wichita State and
Virginia Tech, and Iowa State to No. 11 Cincinnati and No. 21
Each team could use a quality nonconference win before league
play starts. What better way to grab one at the expense of your
”It’s going to be fun. We’ve got to go out there and be ready.
We’ve got to go out there and play very intense basketball, because
I know they’re going to be ready,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg
Iowa State has incorporated a new small forward, Will Clyburn,
and a new point guard in senior Korie Lucious. Clyburn has been
everything the Cyclones hoped, with a team-high 16.1 points per
game along with 8.4 rebounds.
Slowly but surely, Lucious is finding his way with the Cyclones
Lucious, a key cog in Final Four teams at Michigan State before
transferring to Iowa State, needed a nine-assist performance
against BYU just to bring his assist-to-turnover ratio even. He had
nine more assists Tuesday night in an 83-72 win over Florida Gulf
Coast to go along with a season-high 17 points and 5-of-7 shooting
from 3-point range.
”He did a good job, I thought, of spreading the ball around for
the most part. At times, he’s still trying to go between his legs
too many times or make a home run pass. And he’s just got to trust
his teammates,” Hoiberg said.
Iowa is also trying to settle its point guard situation.
Freshman Mike Gesell was given the reigns to start the season.
But after notching just two assists in losses to the Shockers and
Hokies, coach Fran McCaffery started fellow freshman Anthony
Clemmons at the point and shifted Gesell to shooting guard on
Clemmons responded with eight assists and no turnovers in an
87-63 win over South Dakota, and Gesell had 12 points on 5-of-11
”Right now it looks like that’s a good move,” McCaffery said.
”Gesell will play a ton of (point guard). But he is such a good
scorer, and he’s so good off the ball. We’re playing him both
Iowa State broke a seven-year NCAA tournament drought last
season, advancing to the third round before losing to eventual
national champion Kentucky. Iowa is hoping to snap its seven-year
drought with an NCAA bid this spring.
Fans on both sides of this rivalry have long pegged Friday night
as the first time since perhaps 2006 – when Iowa reached the NCAA
tournament and Iowa State was expected to – that there would be
more than simple bragging rights on the line.
But a loss would qualify as yet another squandered opportunity
for each team – and it’s never too early to start building a resume
”We’ve got to do a good job with our preparation these next few
days getting ready. They play multiple defenses. They’ve got some
good young players and their older players have really stepped
up,” Hoiberg said.
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