Oregon State vs Iowa State

by Jonathan Wall | November 30th, 2007

The term rebuilding might come to mind when mentioning the Iowa State Cyclones and the Oregon State Beavers this season. However, the term might be viewed differently depending on which team you’re looking at.

For Iowa State the word brings to mind the possibility of improvements after a subpar 15-16 season overall. While most schools would be less than impressed with the record, Iowa State was encouraged by how the team responded to being picked to finish 11th in the Big 12 to start the season, as well as having to deal with a mass exodus of eight scholarship players either leaving for the pros or transferring schools due to a quick coaching change. With a core group of returning starters coming back this season, the Cyclones hope to break the .500 barrier and move into the middle of the pack in the Big 12.

Second-year Iowa State head coach Greg McDermott has been relying heavily on sophomore forward Wesley Johnson to carry the scoring load. Johnson has been averaging over 32 minutes per game so far this season, as well as a respectable 18 points per game. Freshman forward Craig Brackins has filled in nicely in the early part of the year, while pulling down almost 7 rebounds per game. Add freshman guard Bryan Petersen to the mix (averaging 3 assists per game) and you have a solid nucleus for years to come.

Iowa State (3-2) hasn’t really found their rhythm early in the season, and with such a young team, it doesn’t look like things will get any easier the rest of the year.

Oregon State (3-2) is another story. The team is currently stuck in rebuilding groundhog day hell; each year the team promises to get better, and each year the team finds a way to still underperform well below expectations.

If you listen very carefully, you can still hear the faint cries of OSU fans crying out for a savior to rescue the team. Not since the 1990 season that featured Gary “The Glove” Payton at point guard has the team savored such success. In the past 11 seasons the squad has managed just one winning campaign.

The team does have a glimmer of hope in transfer center C.J. Giles, but most won’t even feel his impact due to NCAA regulations that keep him from being able to play until the seventh game of Pac-10 conference play. Without Giles, the team has still found a way to win with sophomore swingman Seth Tarver (33 min per game/15 ppg) and senior forward Marcel Jones (28 min per game/13 ppg) leading the way.

If Oregon State does have a potential bright spot in the early part of the season, it might be their stingy defense that allows only 52 points per game.

The Matchup

There isn’t much hype surrounding either of these teams, so this Hardwood Classic matchup should act as nothing more than another chance for both of the schools to prove they’re back on the right track.

While the game is at Oregon State, the Cyclones in my opinion possess the better offensive weapons. Not only that, but Iowa State has already played two potential mid-major tournament teams in Bradley and Northern Iowa, while Oregon State has yet to have a real test on the road or at home.

Iowa State wins this game in the final two minutes with clutch free throw shooting.

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