Iowa State’s football team won its annual battle at Iowa back in September.
On Thursday, the 20th-ranked Cyclones basketball team will try and duplicate the feat when they travel to Iowa City to face the rival Hawkeyes.
Iowa State (7-1) looks to continue a strong start to the season that has made it one of the country’s most pleasant surprises.
The Cyclones knocked off North Carolina in the Phil Knight Invitational on Nov. 25, and in its last game, handed St. John’s its first loss of the season in a 71-60 win on Sunday.
It’s been a balanced effort this year offensively for the Cyclones, who are led in scoring by Jaren Holmes (14.8 points per game), Caleb Grill (10.5) and Osun Osunniyi (10.0).
Iowa State has really excelled defensively in its hot start.
The Cyclones have limited opponents to 56.8 points and 37.3 percent shooting from the field per game this year, although that will be put to the test against Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are averaging 83.4 points per game and shooting 46.2 percent from the field.
“In transition, they have multiple guys that can lead the break,” Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “Whoever gets it, they’ll push it. They do a good job in transition of advancing the ball ahead. If you’re not disciplined and sprinting back and getting everyone low to the basketball, they create some advantage situations. They do a great job of not letting the ball rest. They continue to move it and get their offense pace.”
Iowa (6-2) wasn’t quite as sharp offensively in its last game, a 74-62 loss against Duke on Tuesday in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Hawkeyes shot 39.7 percent from the field overall and made just 3 of 16 attempts from 3-point range.
“We have good shooters that didn’t make shots (Tuesday),” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I thought we moved the ball and shot open shots, and they didn’t go in.”
A big reason for Iowa’s success on offense has been its value of the basketball. The Hawkeyes lead the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.93 and are averaging nine turnovers a game, second fewest in the country.
Leading the way has been Kris Murray, who is averaging 19.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest in taking over the lead role left by twin brother Keegan Murray, now playing in the NBA for the Sacramento Kings.
Patrick McCaffery (12.8), Tony Perkins (11.7) and Filip Rebraca (10.3) are also averaging double-figures in scoring.
Iowa hopes fatigue won’t be a factor, given it will be a quick two-day turnaround from playing Duke.
The Hawkeyes have won four of the last six meetings. Iowa State won last year’s game at home in Ames, 73-53.
–Field Level Media