It has been an exciting week of college basketball in the state. First there was Iowa State’s thrilling upset of 19th ranked Virginia followed by a nail-biter in Iowa City as 17th ranked Iowa held off UNI. Iowa coach Steve Alford expects tonight’s 58th meeting between the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones to continue that trend.He says it “has all the makings of being the best one yet.”The key matchups and star players receive added focus in a game like this, but the unexpected can always have an impact. Walk-on guard John Neal is an example. Neal canned two late three-pointers in ISU’s win over the Hawkeyes last year in Ames. Alford expects the Cyclones to play more zone than they have seen from other teams. He says they’re a very athletic zone and will spread it out and press. He says they’re prepared for that. Alford says they’re shooting the ball at a high rate and have a good inside presence. During a 7-1 start the Hawks have been strong in a number of areas. Post defense is not one of them, as he says Drake and Northern Iowa both hurt them inside. He says that’s a concern as ISU will try to go inside.The Cyclones enter the game with a mark of 4-1 and in their last visit to Iowa City two years ago left with a 73-69 win. Iowa leads the all-time series with 39 wins, ISU has 18.
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