So tomorrow night, the Hoos get back into action on the hardwood. But it is not against a team they would really like to see at this juncture.
Iowa State is 11-2 on the season and is playing great ball, but they have yet to crack the Top 25. Why is that? Well for one, outside of the wins over Creighton and Iowa, none of their other 9 wins are anything to really write home about. A myriad of teams like Northern Arizona, Drake, Texas Southern, and Chicago State have inflated the Cyclones record a little. Secondly, they have only played 2 road games, in which they are 1-1 (win against Iowa by 3, loss to Northern Iowa by 6).
But don’t let all that fool you. Iowa State seems to have a knack to pull off the win, mainly due to a very high powered offense. They rank in the Top 30 in PPG with 79.5 and APG with 16.2. They can get big nights out of all five of their starters, most notably their oversized guards in 6-4 PG Diante Garrett (17.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6 apg) and 6-3 SG Scott Christopherson (15.2, 3.2, 2.2). Small Forward Melvin Ejim (13.1, 6.8), PF Jake Anderson (11.8, 8.5), and 6-11 C/F Jamie Vanderbeken (9.8, 5.2) are long, lanky guys that can score down low.
So how does UVa win this game? After watching enough UVa basketball this year, I have found the 3 things the Cavs need to do to win games, just like in football. If we can do these things, their will not be a basketball game we can not win. I call it the 55/55/5+5 rule.
- Keep the opposing team under 55 points. This can be accomplished a wide variety of ways, like wining the turnover battle or by defending the 3. But the easiest way is to slow down the tempo of the game.
- Team shooting percentage needs to be over 55% for the game. If you look at the box scores of when we have won, the Hoos have shot around 55% for the game. It helps with Rule #1 by controlling the time clock. Also, when the perimeter players are getting into the scoring act, it usually is coming from 3 point range, which can really put some distance between the Hoos and their opponents.
- Mike Scott needs 5 field goals + 5 trips to the line. Whether it be ‘and ones’ or straight up two shots, he needs to go inside and score as well as be able to step away and hit the jumper. In his absence, Regan and Mitchell (and from what we heard today, maybe Sherrill) need to contribute to that line. If the Hoos can find 20 points from their big men, then the guards should easily get 40 on a given night.
I know it sounds impossible, but we have done it before, and we can do it again. It starts tomorrow night versus ISU. Let’s go Hoos!