Big 12 Breakdown: Iowa State Cyclones

John Rieger-USA Today Sports

Iowa State has stepped it up this year in the Big 12. They are a team that is headed in the right direction and are tied for third place in conference standings. Their best win this season was against Kansas State at home and their worst lost was on the road against Iowa. The Cyclones are 4-2 in the Big 12 with their only losses coming to Kansas and Texas Tech. They have already made an impact so far this season by pushing Kansas to overtime in Lawrence and beating Kansas State at home.

They are one of the highest scoring teams, leading the Big 12 and  ranking 12th nationally in point per game at 78.9. Five of their players have averaged  double figures in scoring  These guys can play, can shoot and make it to the rim. This team loves to shoot from long range and leads the Big 12 in 3-pointers per game. When they get on fire they can be unstoppable, just ask Kansas State about that. We do need to remember when looking at this team it is a younger team overall.

Their strengths are their rebounding by crashing the boards on both sides, passing the ball and playing defense. Their weaknesses are relaying on the three too much, hustling after the 50-50 balls and forgetting who they are at times. They have some great players who can step up and make a difference for this team.

For the Cyclones to live up to their potential, Will Clyburn has to play like a star. When he plays like he did against Kansas State it shows how good Iowa State can be when they follow his lead. On Monday, Clyburn was named the Big 12′s rookie of the week because of his impressive showing the last two games. Clyburn is also a very versatile player, in which he can play both forward and guard positions.

The Cyclones also have a great rebounder in Melvin Ejim who is the Big 12′s best rebounder so far this season. The freshmen Georges Niang has really stepped up and has become a dominant  player for the Cyclones. They also have Tyrus McGee who is a three point machine and Korie Lucious who is leading this team as point guard for the first time. Coach Fred Hoiberg has gotten these players to be more confident in their shots and has taught them how to play as a team.

So the Cyclones have already looked very impressive in the Big 12 and with only 12 games left the sky is unlimited for them. They need to tap into this winning persona and become a team that could end up number 2 in the Big 12 standings. They get to show how they can handle the pressure on the road tonight when they play at Oklahoma State. All they need to do is close out games more convincingly, and not let teams hang around too much. Look for Iowa State in the end be number three in the Big 12, and play Kansas in the Big 12 Championship game.

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