Iowa State plays its final regular season road game tonight at Baylor. The Cyclones beat the Bears on January 7th, 87-72. At the time, both teams were ranked in the top 10 (ISU #9, Baylor #7).
ISU Coach Fred Hoiberg says Baylor hasn’t changed their approach much since that meeting in Ames. “They’re playing similar and running a lot of the same actions, but like all teams, they’re running a couple new things. But, for the most part, it’s a similar team,” Hoiberg said. “It’s going to be a lot of the same preparation, but they have new wrinkles like all of us do at this point in the season.”
The 16th-ranked Cyclones had a four-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, losing at Kansas State 80-73. ISU struggled at the free-throw line, making 20 of 30 attempts. Hoiberg said he’s spending too much time talking to his players about free-throw shooting. “Some of our guys are very ‘mental’ and if you say something to them, they think more and you don’t want that. You don’t want them thinking more, you want them thinking less, when they step up to that line,” Hoiberg said.
The Cyclones also shot just 34.8-percent from the field in the loss to the Wildcats. Still, Hoiberg said his team had a chance to win. “Because of the effort we exerted and put out there, we still had a chance to win. You’re going to have nights where the ball doesn’t go in the basket, but if you go out there and compete, you’re going to have an opportunity,” Hoiberg said.
Following Baylor, Iowa State hosts Oklahoma State on Saturday to close the regular season. The Cyclones could earn the number-two seed in the Big 12 Tournament, but Hoiberg said — regardless of seeding — they’ll face a great team in Kansas City. “You look at where we are, 2 through 6 (seed), it’s going to be a tough matchup any way you look at it,” Hoiberg said.
Iowa State is 22-6 overall and 10-6 in the Big 12. Baylor is 19-10, 7-9. The tip-off in Waco, Texas is at 6 p.m. (CST). The game will be televised on ESPN2.