Normally the Iowa-Iowa State winner claims the mythical state title. Tonight’s game in Iowa City is only for pride as both teams look for their first in-state win. The Cyclones are trying to avoid being swept. After opening the season 6-0 I-S-U lost at U-N-I last week and lost at home to Drake last Sunday.
Iowa squandered a late 13-point lead in a loss to the Panthers on Tuesday night and the preparation for this game is very similar. Hawkeye coach Steve Alford says with two similar coaches, you see similar teams at Iowa State and U-N-I, while he says the Cyclones are more athletic and the Panthers are more seasoned.
One thing is clear, Iowa needs a go-to guy and even though he is just a freshman, 6-7 forward Tyler Smith could fill that role. Smith is averaging over 14 points per game and hitting nearly 50-percent of his shots. Alford says smith has a great feel for the game, but has to learn when to be the go-to guy. Alford says that’s hard to do as a freshman
Iowa State won last year’s matchup in Ames but the Hawkeyes have a 6-4 edge over the last decade and lead the all-time series 40-19.