Iowa State-Citadel promises to be fast paced
If you like your basketball fast and high-scoring, The Citadel's trip to No. 20 Iowa State on Sunday might be for you.
The Bulldogs (3-1) average 112.3 points per game and just 14.2 seconds per possession, ranked 30th nationally according to kenpom.com. The Cyclones (2-0) tally 93 ppg and take only 12.9 seconds per possession, which is the sixth-fastest pace nationally.
Simply put, it won't be a shock if both teams crack 100 points and 100 possessions each. And if The Citadel is hitting a good percentage of 3-pointers, it won't be a surprise if it keeps this game competitive deep into the second half.
Bulldogs coach Duggar Baucom became a proponent of Paul Westhead's style of basketball early in his tenure at VMI, using it to post victories that program usually doesn't, like a season-opening win one year at Kentucky. He also took the Keydets to the collegeinsider.com tourney semifinals three seasons ago.
Thursday night's 116-112 win at Stetson was basically par for the course for The Citadel. It nailed 18 3-pointers in 41 attempts while also demonstrating great ball control with 24 assists against just nine turnovers.
“We tell kids we're going to shoot more 3s than any team in college basketball,” Baucom said. “We're going to play the fastest tempo. We have now for 10 years. We're going to have a chance to lead the country in scoring, and there's just going to be a lot of shots available.”
As proof for that statement, freshman guard Kaelon Harris came off the bench at Stetson to score a career-high 26 points. But the leading scorer in a balanced attack is sophomore forward Zane Najdawi (17.8 ppg, 10.3 rebounds), whose 60 blocked shots last season set a school freshman season mark.
All that offense aside, there's a reason Iowa State is a 30 1/2-point favorite in this one. The Cyclones, on paper, have almost every advantage possible.
They have the best player in preseason All-America point guard Monte Morris (19.5 ppg, 7.0 assists). They boast a huge checkmark in experience with five senior starters, as opposed to the Bulldogs' seven freshmen and three sophomores, and should have the savvy to recognize when to turn down a 12-footer to get a layup.
Coach Steve Prohm's first priority, though, is getting his team prepared to best defend The Citadel's unique style of play.
“I notice they hung up another (116) points the other night,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for Duggar and what he's done for a long time. Obviously, transition defense is going to have to be a key.”
Iowa State hasn't played since Monday night, when it dumped Mount St. Mary's 73-55 as it held the Mountaineers to less than 30 percent from the field. Opponents have made 30 percent of their shots against the Cyclones, the lowest field goal percentage against in the Big 12.
Iowa State owns a whopping 112-36 advantage in points in the paint despite starting a four-guard lineup. With the Bulldogs' emphasis on quick pace and shooting lots of 3s, the Cyclones could add to that margin greatly.