5 Reasons Why Connecticut Basketball Will Upset Iowa State In The Sweet 16

5 Reasons Why UConn Will Upset Iowa State in the Sweet 16

UConn, Shabazz Napier
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This weekend, the 2014 NCAA Tournament field will be narrowed to its Final Four. One of the most anticipated Sweet 16 matchups will take place in New York, NY, where the UConn Huskies take on the Iowa State Cyclones. While both teams get excellent play from their guards, a defensive minded UConn will look to limit the high-scoring Cyclones.

Here are five reasons why UConn will take down ISU.


5. Georges Niang's Absence

Georges Niang, Iowa State
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5. Georges Niang's Absence

Georges Niang, Iowa State
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After breaking his foot in Iowa State's first round win, Georges Niang will not make another appearance in this year's tournament. A 6-foot-7, 240 pound presence in the paint, Niang averaged 16.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 3.6 apg this season, including a first round performance consisting of 24 points, six rebounds and four assists. He plays strong post defense and can stretch his opponent's defense with his long-range shooting. He will be greatly missed.

4. UConn's Interior Defense

Phillip Nolan, UConn
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4. UConn's Interior Defense

Phillip Nolan, UConn
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Throughout the 2013-14 regular season, UConn's interior defense ranked sixth in the entire nation with 211 blocks, averaging 6.2 send-backs per game. The 6-foot-9 athletic forward DeAndre Daniels averages 1.4 blocks per game, and 7-foot freshman center Amida Brimah averages just under three blocks per contest. DeAndre Kane and the Niang-less Cyclones will have a much tougher time finishing around the rim against the Huskies.

3. Iowa State is NOT the Same Team Away From Hilton Coliseum

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
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3. Iowa State is NOT the Same Team Away From Hilton Coliseum

DeAndre Kane, Iowa State
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While having arguably the most talented team in two decades of school history, Iowa State continues to struggle away from their magical home arena. The Cyclones carry an average point differential of +16.8 at home this season, but only a +2.5 differential in road, or neutral court games. Of their seven losses, six came on the road, and while reliant on the 3-ball, ISU averages nine threes per game at home, but only six on the road in 2013-14.

2. Free-Throw Shooting

DeAndre Daniels, UConn
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2. Free-Throw Shooting

DeAndre Daniels, UConn
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UConn's 76.5% team free-throw percentage ranks seventh in the NCAA, while Iowa State's 69.4% mark ranks 181st. Husky PG Shabazz Napier hit free-throws at an 86% clip this season, and is shooting 92% so far in the tournament. Iowa State's primary ball-handler, Kane, is a 65% free-throw shooter this year, improved from a 56% mark at the charity stripe over his entire four-year career. Free throws will be pivotal in this Sweet 16 showdown.

1. Shabazz Napier

Shabazz Napier
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1. Shabazz Napier

Shabazz Napier
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A true Senior leader and floor general, Shabazz Napier is the best point guard in the country. He averages 17.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 4.9 apg this season, leading the Huskies in all three stat categories. Arguably the best ball handler in the college game, Napier single-handedly controls the tempo of each contest. His patience gives UConn a shot at beating anybody in the country, and his clutch offensive game could prove to be fatal for Iowa State.

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