Feb 26, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Monte Morris (11) sets up the offense against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State beat West Virginia 83-66. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 Hoops Midweek Preview: Iowa State At Baylor

When Iowa State defeated visiting Baylor 87-72 on Jan. 7, the Cyclones stood at 14-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12. Since then, Iowa State has gone 8-6, which has the Cyclones in a four-way tie for second place in the conference standings. After losing at Iowa State, Baylor’s season record was 12-2. The Bears won their next Big 12 game, at home against TCU, but then went eight games until their second conference win.

Baylor has won five of its last six games to go from a 2-8 league mark to 7-9 heading into its Wednesday date at home against Iowa State (22-6, 10-6), ranked 16th in this week’s Associated Press poll. The Bears have lost four straight to Iowa State, which owns a 16-9 advantage in the all-time series, but are 8-2 in the last 10 games played in Waco. The home team has won 20 of the last 22 meetings between these two teams.

A Baylor win on Tuesday would give  head coach Scott Drew’s team its third straight season with 20 wins and six wins in the last seven games. Baylor’s leader this season has been senior Cory Jefferson, who has averages 16 points and 11 rebounds and has recorded double-doubles in four of his last five games. It will be Senior Night at Baylor. Seniors Jefferson, Brady Heslip and Gary Franklin will be playing their final game at the Ferrell Center unless Baylor fails to receive an NCAA Tournament bid and ends up in the National Invitation Tournament instead. Baylor won the postseason NIT Tournament a year ago.

Iowa State has three players averaging more than 16 point per game (Melvin Ejim, 19.5; DeAndre Kane, 17.8; Georges Niang, 16.9). The Cyclones are closing in on a Big 12 record if those three players finish the regular season averaging 17.0 points or more per game. Melvin Ejim leads the Big 12 in scoring, and is the first Iowa State player to lead the conference in theat category since Marcus Fizer in 1999-2000. Also of note: Tuesday is Ejim’s birthday.

The Cyclones lead the Big 12 in scoring, averaging 83.2 points per game. On the other side of the ledger, though, Baylor is second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing opponents 68.1 points per contest.

Three Things To Watch For In This Game

  • This game could be won or lost at the Three-point line. Baylor leads the conference in three-point field-goal percentage (28.9 percent), but the Bears do not deftend the three-point shot particularly well, allowing opponents to score from beyond the three-point stripe at a 35 percent clip. Iowa State likes to shoot threes and is second in the conference in three-point attempts this season. Baylor’s Brady Heslip leads the league, averaging three made three-point shots per game and with  a conference-best 46 percent accuracy.
  • Baylor averages a plus eight rebounding margin against its opponents, the best in the Bug 12, and is second in the conference in offensive rebounds which, importantly, leads to second-chance scoring opportunites.
  • Iowa State is averaging over 14,000 fans per game at home games, which is a big reason why the Cyclones are so difficult to beat at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State is 7-1 at home this season vs. Big 12 opponents and 14-1 overall. The lone loss was to 10-time defending conference champion Kansas.

My Pick: Iowa State 84, Baylor 74 – Baylor needs this game much more than Iowa State, but with the game being at Hilton Coliseum and it being Senior Night and all, Baylor will be lucky to stay in the game uch longer than the 10-minute mark in the second half.




Tags: Baylor Bears Big 12 Basketball Preview. Big 12 Basketball Iowa State Cyclones

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