Since Jon didn't get back to me with the questions he promised, I figured I'd do a primer on ISU basketball for you guys. The Clones come in hot off of an ugly, ugly win over the Colorado Buffaloes at Hilton Coliseum. A team that's seemingly run into it with injuries this year, star Wesley Johnson went out early against the Buffs and did not return. He is doubtful for Saturday's game.
Offensive Philosophy: Slow it down, slow it down, wayyyyyy down. Frankly, if Wes is healthy, we're a little better when we unleash it a little bit, as we've got a bunch of up-tempo players. Our best win of the season, over Purdue, came when we picked up the pace it a bit. If Bryan Petersen is in at point guard, expect drag it out basketball.
We're apparently ok with anyone on our team jacking up a three if its a good look, including the bigs. We don't go down low as much as I'd like, but I'm one of those guys that likes to win from the inside out.
Defensive Philosophy: Tough man to man. Zone would be very rare. Rahshon Clark usually draws the toughest defensive assignment, though I expect Hubalek to match up against Maric.
Probable Starting Lineup:
PG - Bryan Petersen - 6' 1" Petey is a D2 JUCO walkon. Probably the best spotup shooter on the team, he doesn't shoot. He tends to bring the ball up in a scare-the-shit out of the fans manner, much of the time with his back to the basket. That being said, he's usually pretty secure with the ball. Can get easily overmatched on defense. Occasionally plays at point with Garrett in the game.
SG - Sean Haluska - 6' 3" Yes, he's the brother of that Haluska. Likely being pushed into starting action with Wes hurt, Haluska was a bench player at JUCO Indian Hills last year. It's a good thing he's a good defender, as he started the year 0-26 from behind the arc before draining 3 of his last 4 treys. Actually a good shooter, he's been in some sort of funk. He's a smart player, too, but I'm pretty sure he's in over his head.
SF - Rahshon Clark - 6' 6" Rahshon is a senior and a team leader who has been our best shooter statistically, but offensive sets are rarely run for him. Can still make the highlight reel dunk, and usually has at least one awesome looking dunk-tip per game. Can shoot from three. Pretty good defender. Been hobbled since the KU game.
PF - Craig Brackins - 6' 10" Our 5-star freshman recruit, Craig can be feast or famine. Hit 8 3's against Baylor in a 33-point game, but also has looked downright retarded the last few games, absolutely baffled by a 5 foot jumper in the lane. If he heats up, Iowa State will likely win. His rebounding seems to have improved the last few games. Not really a max effort guy, and kind of sucks on defense, but he's a true freshman, so I expect he'll get that stuff knocked into his head sooner or later.
C - Jiri Hubalek - 6' 11" Matchup of the foreigners!!! Jiri may have re-aggravated a foot injury he sustained at the beginning of the season, because, like Brackins, he's played like complete ass the last few games. Again, like Craig, if he heats up, it'll likely lead to an ISU victory. A decent defender when healthy, he will likely draw the Maric matchup. Will jack up the occasional three. Plays his best when emotional.
SG - Wesley Johnson - 6' 7" If healthy enough to play, he'll split time at the 2 and the 3. Easily our best player, he's Kobe like in his shot taking numbers. Can drain a 3, and has a silky smooth midrange game. Seems to have trouble with the art of dribbling at times, as well as the defensive craft. Still a good bet to put up 20 when healthy. He's going to be a pro someday. Again, not likely to get much playing time, if any.
PG - Diante Garrett - 6' 5" Diante is a lank 6-5 point guard that I have a mancrush on. That being said, he's had some serious struggles adjusting to big time college basketball. Our best guard at handling pressure. Is up and down on d. Can't shoot. At all. You will laugh if he spots up. Somehow, some of his shots go in. Penetration seems to be very easy for him, but the layup is a bit of a challenge. If he ever learned how to shoot, he could be special. Will get a bunch of time.
C/PF - Alex Thompson - 6' 10" A transfer from Iowa, AT is a guy I never like to see shoot, mainly because, like Diante, he can't. He'll can the occasional jumper or 3, but he's a liability when he jacks one up. Our best post defender, he'll see time matched up against Maric as well, especially if Jiri is not playing well. He's really quite frustrating to watch from our end.
F - Cory Johnson - 6' 7" Cory is a guy that would log serious minutes if taller. He's a pretty good shooter and finds ways to score, but his jumper often leaves something to be desired. Not afraid to bang on defense. Handled Greg Oden pretty well last year on defense (the stats may look like he didn't, but it was really one of those games you needed to watch to appreciate that he did in fact bother Oden). The absolute best guy on the team in terms of effort.
G - Cameron Lee - 6' 2" A walkon on an academic scholarship, Cam is a guy that will be brought in for strategic defensive possessions, but may see more minutes with Wes hurt. A crowd favorite. Not much is known about his ability to put ball in basket.
G - Charles Boozer - 6' 3" If he gets the ball, he will look to shoot. He occasionally makes it. Likely won't see much playing time. Yes, he's the brother of that Boozer.
G Brock Jacobson, G Mark Currie, F Mike Smith If any of these three guys play meaningful minutes, we've got serious issues, or we just beat the living crap out of you guys. Brock is a pretty dynamite threat from behind the arc when no one guards him. Currie is as well, despite having one of the ugliest shots in the history of basketball. Smith is a funny guy who's pretty scrappy when he gets in.
All in all, I'm expecting a pretty good game. I don't expect Wes to play a whole lot, if at all, but I'm not all that confident you guys are that much different than Colorado. Throw in the fact that the ISU student section chartered busses to invade the Bob, and I'm going to go with a narrow ISU victory. However, we haven't proven much on the road, so who knows....it may be a bunch of really shitty basketball to watch, but it should be close.