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Game Preview: No. 10 Miami vs. No. 11 Iowa State

The ‘Canes have taken down two highly touted teams in the NCAA Tournament thus far, but now, they find themselves as the favorite. How does each team stack up with one another?

Isaiah Wong was relentless at the rim in the ‘Canes Round of 32 win over No. 2 Auburn.
Ken Ruinard/USA Today Network

In a stunning defeat over No. 2 Auburn, No. 10 Miami secured a spot in the Sweet Sixteen against fellow underdog No. 11 Iowa State. How do they stack up against their new foe, No. 11 Iowa State?

What Does Iowa State Consist Of?

The 22-12 Cyclones get a large portion of their production from three players, and just two of them average double figures. Guards Izaiah Brockington (17.1 PPG), Tyrese Hunter (10.9 PPG) and Gabe Kalscheur (9.5 PPG) are their entire team in terms of scoring.

The defensive-minded Cyclones have been very difficult for opposing teams thus far. The team has given up just 103 points in two games. They’re holding opponents to 33.3% from the field and 14.6% from deep. In addition, the Cyclones force a large number of turnovers. Through two games, Iowa State has forced 36 turnovers. How might the ‘Canes succeed on such a good defensive team?

No. 1: Get to the Stripe

The Cyclones are a great defensive team, but they foul shooters like it's nobody’s business. Through two tournament games, Iowa State is giving up 24 free throws per game. 33% of the points they have given up have came at the stripe (35 points out of 103 points).

This works perfectly for the ‘Canes, as through two games, the team is shooting 82.5% from the line (33/40). With Iowa State having no rim protector, this should be a great game for the ‘Canes when it comes to free throws.

No. 2: Make it an Offensive Shootout

The Cyclones are averaging 56.5 points per game so far. If this game becomes an offensive shootout, the ‘Canes draw an obvious advantage. Miami’s hot start has the team averaging 73.5 points per game as a team. Iowa State isn’t a great three-point shooting team, as Hunter and Kalscheur shoot 27% and 23% from behind the arc respectively.

The Cyclones are extremely inconsistent. In their game against LSU, Kalscheur shot 1-7 from the field, turned it over 4 times and had 4 fouls. Against Wisconsin, Kalscheur poured in 22 points on 53% from the field. Hunter was the best player for the Cyclones against LSU, putting up 23 points on 64% from beyond the arc. Against Wisconsin, Hunter’s offensive output was horrid, shooting 1-10 from the field. Miami needs to take advantage of their inconsistencies.

Individually speaking, Isaiah Wong has been electric (21.5 PPG), Kam McGusty has been consistent (16 PPG) and Charlie Moore is as good as ever (15.5 PPG). The explosive ‘Canes are a team that is difficult to outgun. If Miami makes it a shootout, it heavily favors the prolific ‘Canes.

No. 3: Continue to Force Turnovers

In the matchup against USC, the ‘Canes forced 18 turnovers and committed just three. Against Auburn, Miami dominated the turnover battle once again, forcing 13 turnovers and giving it away just four times. So, through two tournament games, Miami has a +24 turnover differential. With Iowa State being effective with forcing turnovers as well, winning the turnover battle will be essential in winning the game.

Can the ‘Canes Pull it Off?

As long as the ‘Canes win the turnover battle and score like we know they can, this should be a win for Miami. The exciting matchup will be sure to have ‘Canes fans on their feet. With a spot in the Elite Eight on the line, expect the underrated, experienced ‘Canes to play their best basketball.