A week ago at this time the prevailing thought was the Cyclones would return from Lubbock with a win to set up a showdown with Kansas State in a game that would play a pivotal role in the Big 12 standings following Kansas. The win in Lubbock didn’t happen which took some luster off the match-up with Kansas State but how much less pivotal was the game really?
Think about it, conference standings always have and always should have tiebreakers separated by head to head results. For example, say the 2013 Cyclone football team goes 8-1 in Big 12 play with their only loss being to the last place team in the league. Meanwhile, Oklahoma goes 8-1 with their only loss being to Iowa State and everyone else in the league has two losses or more. When it comes time for the tiebreaking process who is in better shape? Iowa State because their loss was to a team far behind them in the standings.
In reality, winning both at Lubbock and at home against Kansas State would’ve been the best thing that could have happened for ISU but when it comes to tiebreaking processes the win against Kansas State was more important.
While Kansas State is a very good team that was ranked eleventh in the country that game really wasn’t a big upset in my mind. The Wildcats have a solid resume and their three losses prior to the trip to Ames were against very good teams (Michigan, Gonzaga, and Kansas) and they had a big win over number one Florida but it just wasn’t a win that resonated as a huge upset to me. Maybe I think too highly of Iowa State or not highly enough of Kansas State but look no further than the Ken Pomeroy ratings that had Kansas State below Iowa State even before the game last week.
After making 42 of his first 68 (61.8%) two point shots up through the Drake game Percy Gibson has had all sorts of problems putting the ball in the hole. Since that game in Des Moines there have been eight Cyclone games and Gibson has connected on just 8 of 30 (26.7%) shots inside the arc. Explaining that isn’t so easy.
Last year, Percy’s strong suit was finishing around the rim as he shot 59 of 90 (65.6%) from inside the arc. Admittedly as I watched last season my eye test told me a lot of those shots that he was converting weren’t easy shots and I worried about the “luck factor” being the primary reason. I hoped he just had a knack for finishing. Right now he seems to be forcing and completely out of rhythm; even the easy shots don’t seem to be falling.
To go along with his shooting woes his defense isn’t helping him stay on the court, either. How much his post defense and struggling shot are connected is tough to tell but if he can get squared away in just one of those areas he’ll make himself a much larger role on the team.
The Cyclones are going to need a solid post presence to back up the low block scoring that Niang leads with. That could come from Anthony Booker but Gibson appears to be the best option because he’s done it in the past. He’s going to be needed over the course of the season.
Korie Lucious has been one of the keys to success for the Cyclones this season. He has often taken a lot of blame from the fans, primarily for his turnovers. But one underrated area of improvement that has been a steady climber is his effective field goal percentages by game. Shooting accuracy isn’t just a function of making more shots; it is typically tightly tied to shot selection.
Below is Lucious’ game by game performance in effective field goal percentage and that is accompanied with a trend line. While game by game the numbers rise and fall sharply the overall trend is positive for Lucious and the Cyclones.
Edit: The graph for Lucious now has his game by game performances in assist percentage (percentage of team’s made field goals while he is on the court that came from his assist) and turnover percentage (percentage of his total possessions played that he turned the ball over) and the trend line added for each.