Gameday Preview: OSU vs. Iowa State Cyclones

By Chris Lauderback on December 19, 2006 at 1:01 am
Jamar Butler

Where: The Schott – Columbus, OH
When: 8pm EST
Records: OSU 9-1; Iowa St. 7-4

Opponent: Out of the Big 12 Conference, Iowa State skids into Columbus on the heels of a 76-66 home defeat against the Bradley Braves last Saturday. The Cyclones have lost four of five after jumping out to a 6-0 start and no logical person would think they can stay within 20 of Ohio State. They have some skinny size, boasting three guys over 6’ 10” who all weigh 225 lbs or less and their scoring punch comes from junior guard Mike Taylor and freshman forward Wesley Johnson. The Cyclones are led by first year coach Greg McDermott who took the job after leading Northern Iowa to three straight NCAA appearances.

Players: Taylor leads ISU in scoring (15.0), assists (4.5) and 3pt FG% (40%). He also leads in turnovers with an astounding 5.5 per game. Yikes. Wesley Johnson is having a fine freshman season averaging 12.6pts and 7.8 rebounds per game. 6’6” junior Rahshon Clark helps out with 9.4pts and 9 rebounds per game. Jiri Hubalek is one of the aforementioned toothpicks that Greg Oden will abuse and comes in averaging 8.8pts and 5.6 rebounds in 5 games this season.

Notes: These guys are stinky…Not even a time warp allowing former Cyclones like Mayor Fred Hoiberg, Marcus Fizer and Jeff Hornacek to play would keep this one close… However, if former coach Larry Eustachy spikes our Powerade that could be a different story.

Buckeye Breakdown: OSU comes in ranked #3 in both polls after stripping the Cincinnati Bearcats of their dignity in a 72-50 rout this past Saturday. The Buckeyes jumped out to 42-14 halftime advantage and led by as much as 35 points early in the second half. The team held UC to 8% (2/24) from 3point land. As expected, Oden’s presence has allowed the perimeter players to extend their defense and force teams to take a lot contested shots. In the three games with Oden, opponents are shooting 24% (16/66) from beyond the arc and the big man is averaging 4.3 blocks in 24 minutes per game. As for Iowa State, they will pose no challenge and really only serve as a primer before OSU takes on the defending national champion Florida Gators Saturday afternoon.

Key Players: I’ve been saying it for weeks, but I still think it’s crucial for Coach Matta to get Jamar Butler into the flow before we start conference play. He’s a proven, battle-tested player but has yet to find his niche on this team. Sure, he’s handed out some assists and played okay, but I just don’t sense he’s really a part of what’s going on out there. We are going to need him when we go on the road to places like Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. Also, keep an eye on Mike Conley Jr. tonight as he will likely match up with Iowa State’s leading scorer, Mike Taylor. If you recall, it was Conley who shut down UC’s leading scorer Deonta Vaughn on Saturday and when you combine Conley’s knack for picking pockets with Taylor’s penchant for being careless, it spells trouble for ISU. This one should be over by halftime.

Notes: tOSU football buckeyes will be honored at intermission…Tress and Troy will present Gene Smith with the Big Ten Championship Trophy and the Heisman Trophy…OSU still leads the conference in virtually every category including scoring margin (+21.1), assists (19.5), and 3 pointers made (9.9pg)...The O-Zone reports that Greg Oden stated in an interview Monday that there's a very good chance he'll be here four years...Obviously that's craziness, but I still say we'll get two...Next: @ Florida on Saturday at 4pm.