When the Iowa State Cyclones and Texas Longhorns meet in a Big 12 matchup on Tuesday, both teams will be playing for a little something extra. The Cyclones will look to avenge the loss that they gave up to Texas back in January, before the Longhorns were even ranked nationally. As for the Longhorns, they still have a Big 12 Championship in their eyes, which they inch even closer to with a win of their own. With everything that is at stake, this Big 12 game could be the best game on the college basketball slate on Tuesday night.
After the Longhorns play Iowa State, they’ll get ready for a huge clash on Friday against Kansas. It’s likely that the winner of that game, barring any major upsets in the final few weeks of the season, would likely win the Big 12 title. But in order for that to be a possibility, the Longhorns, who currently sit at 9-3 in the Big 12, need to not overlook #17 Iowa State.
The Cyclones have made the big dance in each of the last two years, but their success this year might be the best accomplishments of all. The team started the season with 14 straight wins and moved their way up to as high as #8 in the polls. However, a three-game slide against Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas quickly had the Cyclones slip back down in the standings. It’s likely that they might be sitting as a bubble team to make the tournament, and a win over Texas would surely bolster their résumé.
The Cyclones lead the nation with 18.6 assists per game. Part of that contribution comes from DeAndre Kane, a senior guard from Pittsburgh, as well as Georges Niang, a sophomore from Massachusetts. Niang is also second on the team in scoring with 16.3 points per game. Melvin Ejim is the centerpiece for this Cyclones squad. At 6’6”, Ejim leads the team in points with 18.9 and rebounds with 8.6.
Look for Iowa State to figure out a way to slow down Jonathan Holmes. The 6’8” junior for the Longhorns had 23 the last time these two teams played, and leads the team averaging 13 per game. Holmes is joined by Cameron Ridley, the 6’9” center who pulls down 8 rebounds per game and also averages 2.3 blocks on the season.
There are a handful of games on tap for Wednesday. But this Texas and Iowa State matchup is likely to be the one to keep your eyes on. You have a team like Iowa State that has been in the polls all season long and a Texas squad that didn’t make their first appearance in the Top 25 until Week 13. But where we stand now, Texas has surpassed Iowa State and now sits ahead of them nationally and in the Big 12. That could all change with the outcome of the game on Wednesday night.