Iowa State at Cincinnati Preview

The Bearcats will look to rebound from a 67-62 home loss to 5th-ranked Houston when the 10th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones (18-5, 7-3) visit Fifth Third Arena on Tuesday night. 

" I thought we had a real opportunity there against a top five team in the country," Miller told the media following the Houston loss. 

The consecutive home games against top 10 opponents is a first in Fifth Third Arena history.

(Photo: Iowa State Athletics)

"There's nowhere to run and hide in this league," Said Miller. "Every night it's going to be something. We can be pissed off but we better not have the hangover effect because what we have coming in here Tuesday night. We better get our minds around what we have to do to prepare and this team's tough and they're capable. We're going to need Fifth Third to be electric again because we got to try to respond to some of the things we didn't do well tonight."

Iowa State has won five of six and two of their last three conference road games. The Cyclones own wins over both Houston and Kansas.

Key Stats and Notes:

The first thing that stands out when looking at Iowa State is their defensive pressure. The Cyclones rank seventh nationally in scoring defense (62.1), fifth in steals per game (10.8), third in turnovers forced per game (17.83), and third in Kenpom's defensive efficiency. Iowa State ranks second in the Big 12 with a 6.91 turnover margin.

Iowa State has held all but one Big 12 opponent under its season scoring average. The Cyclones have held three Big 12 opponents to their lowest point totals this season: TCU (59), Houston (53) and Oklahoma State (42)

- Iowa State converts on 47.6 percent of their field goal attempts, which ranks fifth in the Big 12. Kenpom ranks Iowa State ninth nationally and 45th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Iowa State's averages 79 points per game and rank fourth nationally with a plus-16 scoring margin. 

- The Cyclones have scored 90 or more points six times this season. It is the most times hitting that mark in a season since the 2016-17 team did so eight times.

- Iowa State ranks first in the Big 12 in free throw attempts per game (23.3), but are bottom four in the league in free throw percentage (69.2 percent). 

- Iowa State averages 6.7 three-pointers per game, while connecting on 35.8 percent of their attempts. Opponents are making 33.6 percent of their 3-point attempts against the Cyclones. 

Cincinnati is shooting 36.6 percent from deep in wins and 25.8 percent in losses, with its two-highest Big 12 games being over 40 percent against BYU and Texas.

Players to watch:

6'4 Junior G Keshon Gilbert

Gilbert is not a prolific three-point shooter (29 percent) but has been efficient from the field, averaging 13.9 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game, and 1.7 steals per game. Gilbert had a triple-double earlier this season against New Hampshire and scored 24 points in the road loss to Baylor. Gilbert has scored 13 or more points in six of the last seven games. A UNLV transfer, Gilbert has won Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice this season and is second in the Big 12 in free throws attempted (130) and fourth in FT made (95). 

6'1 Sophomore G Tamin Lipsey

Only eight players in the country are averaging at least 13.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game this season. Two of them reside in the Cyclone backcourt. Lipsey averages 13.2 points per game, 5.6 assists per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, and 3.0 steals per game. Lipsey leads all Big 12 players in steals and steals per game and is sixth and fifth, nationally, in those categories.

Lipsey had a triple-double this season against Depaul, making ISU the only team in the country with multiple players boasting a triple-double. Lipsey had a 34-game steal streak snapped on Saturday but has recorded a steal in 53-of-55 games. Lipsey has failed to score in double figures in four of his past six games, after reaching double figures in 14 of the Cyclones first 16 games. Lipsey makes 37.8 percent of his three-point attempts but has struggled from the free throw line (65.6 percent).

- 6'8 Freshman Forward Milan Momcilovic

Ranked the 34th-best player in the country by 247 Sports in the 2023 class, Momcilovic has lived up to his ranking by scoring in double figures in all but four games this season. An 85.2 percent free throw shooter, Momcilovic is also making 45.8 percent of his field goal attempts and 40.2 percent of his 3-point attempts. He is the second highest-scoring true freshman in the Big 12, behind Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter, and leads the team with 45 three-pointers.

- 6'4 Senior G Curtis Jones

Jones is averaging 9.8 points per game off the bench but has really elevated his game over the past six games. He's scored in double figures in all six games, averaging 14.2 points and had seven steals at TCU earlier this season, tying him for the second-most steals in a single game in Iowa State history. 

6'7 Senior F Tre King

Originally from Lexington (KY), the Hargrave Academy alum is averaging 9.7 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, and finishing 51.2 percent of his field goal attempts. King leads the team in rebounds, pulling down five or more rebounds in 14 games this season. His best game of the season was a 21 points, 9 rebound showing in a win over Kansas. King is second on the team in free throw percentage (80.4 percent).

6'10 Senior F Robert Jones

Jones leads the team in offensive rebounds (56), field goal percentage (61.7%) and blocks (22). In 22.4 minutes per game, Jones is averaging 8.4 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game. Jones is only making 50 percent of his free throw attempts. 

6'9 Senior F Hason Ward

Ward is averaging 6.3 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game in 17 minutes per game off the bench. Not a good free throw shooter (52 percent), but extremely efficient around the rim, converting 60.3 percent of his field goal attempts.

Wes Miller on Iowa State's Defense:

Final Thoughts:

Iowa State is most successful when they are forcing turnovers and getting easy points in transition. They are not a great shooting team so limiting their easy opportunities will need to be a primary focus. UC finished with just eight turnovers against Houston. The Bearcats will need a similar showing and have to use good ball movement to get Iowa State out of position defensively in the half court. The Cats should get good looks from three and should be able to get second chance opportunities off of offensive rebounds. 

From a physical standpoint, there might not be a more physical team in the league than Iowa State. They will be just as physical and aggressive defensively as Houston. UC has to avoid a slow start that we have become accustomed to in home games this season. 

Bearcats are currently favored by 1.5 with the over/under set at 136.5 

If Cincinnati wants to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive, they have to start winning games like this at home. 


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