The Iowa St. Cyclones are on a record streak, winning 14 consecutive games to open the 2013-14 basketball season. Currently ranked 9th in the nation in the AP Poll and 7th in the Coaches Poll, this is a team looking to dethrone the heavy weights of the Big XII and take home the Conference Crown. Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has done an excellent job of bringing in transfers. However, it is the meshing of those transfers with incoming freshmen that is note worthy. Who should Oklahoma Sooners fans be worried about this time around?
Ames, Iowa has played witness to one of the highest scoring teams in the country. Pouring in 87 points per game, the Cyclones rank 6th in the nation (tied with the Oklahoma Sooners). Not only has Iowa St. been successful offensively, the productivity on the defensive side of things limits opponents to just 67.5 points in forty minutes of play. Knowing that these numbers have come against one of the toughest non-conference schedules adds additional weight to each.
The area where this squad excels in is have a team mentality. Leading the nation in assists at 19.1, the Cyclones are tough to guard. A handful of those assists come in the transition game by finding an open guard waiting to shoot the ball from behind the arc.
With wins over three top 25 programs, the focus has been placed up DeAndre Kane, a transfer from Marshall. Kane is a do-it-all type of player who boasts 16.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game. Yet, the biggest stat of all may be found in that this player takes high percentage shots. He get to any spot on the floor that he wants and punishes opponents to the tune of 52.1% shooting from the floor. If any team hopes to be successful against the Cyclones, stopping Kane becomes of utmost importance.
Not to be out done, Melvin Ejim adds a team leading 17.8 point per outing as well as 7.2 rebounds. What this senior lacks in size, he makes up in physicality. Ejim alongside Kane make up a strong core of top scorers in the Big XII listed on the ISU roster.
Hoiberg's team boasts two other player averaging double-digits in scoring. The first is Georges Niang who averages 15.4 points per game and second is Dustin Hogue with 12.3. Where Hogue makes his living is on the glass by pulling down a team high 9.6 boards per outing.
Look for the game to air on ESPNU with the tip off coming at 11:02 AM CST in Norman, OK.