UConn (28-8) vs. Iowa State (28-7)When: 6:17 p.m. EST
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
What You Should Know
Scouting Iowa StateThe Cyclones are the Big 12 tournament champions, have player of the year in Melvin Ejim, who averages 18.1 ppg. and also have a dominant guard in DeAndre Kane (17.1 ppg.), who is one of the more versatile and explosive guards UConn will face all season. Iowa State likes to play an uptempo free-flowing style and average 83 ppg. and 73 possessions per game. They invert of lot of their offense -- play outside in -- and are highly-skilled and take 23 3-pointers a game. The Huskies get a break with the loss of Georges Niang from the team due to
injury in the opening round. Niang was the third leading scorer averaging 16.7 points per game, but is out with injury. That 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward missing inside is something the Huskies would have struggled to handle, so they luck out in the respect. Ejim is a difficult guard at 6-6 and will have to be checked by either DeAndre Daniels or forwards Niels Giffey or Lasan Kromah. Kane remains a difficult matchups in UConn's backcourt. Kane is a classic shooting guard and is explosive and powerful at 6-foot-4. He is going to be a difficult cover for the Huskies' backcourt with Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier both giving up at least 20 pounds and three inches. Look for the Huskies to perhaps get Kromah on Kane for extended periods to slow him down. Iowa State shoots the ball well, is an excellent passing team at 18.5 assists per game and have shooters everywhere. They run a lot of NBA-type sets under Fred Hoiberg and will challenge UConn's defense with the pass. Inside, Ejim and Dustin Hogue are the top rebounders left with Niang and take down about 8.5 per game. Iowa State's a rugged defensive team -- teams are shooting only 41.8 percent at a fast pace -- and will be a difficult matchup for the Huskies tonight.
"First is DeAndre Kane. He's just a great player. He puts so much pressure on you. We have to keep him in front. He's also a 6'4" point guard that Fred (Hoiberg) puts on the post and posts up a lot. So we're going to have to really, really load against him and have him see a lot of jerseys that say "UConn". It's going to have to be ten eyes on him at all times. And I'm not saying Shabazz is guarding him. Yes, Shabazz is going to guard him. Niels is going to guard him. Our whole team is going to try to guard him. Hopefully we can stop him. "
"Then I know they're missing George Niang, but you got the Big‑12 Player of the Year in Ejim. And he's a load, a pick‑and‑pop guy, just like DeAndre and Niels, where he can go out in the post, but he's also can pick out‑‑ he can also pick‑and‑pop on pick‑and‑rolls."
"And all their guys seem like they can shoot. I don't know if Fred is back there teaching them how to shoot, but they all shoot like Fred. And when Fred took a shot, I always thought it went in."