Feast Week Mission Briefing: Iowa State in the Advocare Invitational

Posted by Chris Stone on November 24th, 2016

Feast Week is here. To get you ready for the Big 12’s representation in the various holiday tournaments this week, our Feast Week Mission Briefings continue today with Iowa State in the Advocare Invitational.

Catching Up: With longtime staple Georges Niang graduating last spring, this was always going to be a transition year at Iowa State. Much of the preseason focus fell on point guard Monte’ Morris taking on a more significant scoring role this season. That hasn’t really happened. Although Morris is averaging about five more points per game to this point, his usage of offensive possessions is only up by about one percent. Most of Niang’s shots have instead actually gone to senior Naz Mitrou-Long, who is averaging nearly 10 more field goal attempts per 40 minutes than he did in a shortened season a year ago. Morris, though, has taken on nearly all of Niang’s play-making duties, as his assists per 40 minutes have increased by five full assists and his assist rate has increased from 28.9 percent to 39.4 percent. The Cyclones enter the Advocare Invitational at 3-0 with a trio of victories over teams ranked 275th or worse, according to KenPom.

Monte Morris is delivering for Iowa State early. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Monte Morris is delivering early for Iowa State. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Opening Round Preview: Iowa State opens the Advocare Invitational with a match-up against Indiana State. The Sycamores, picked to finish among the bottom half of the Missouri Valley Conference, are 2-1 on the season but shouldn’t pose much of a threat. The player to watch is guard Brenton Scott, who is averaging 22.3 points per contest over three games. The junior guard has taken 35.0 percent of the Sycamores’ shots but he’s not an efficient scorer, which is probably why Indiana State ranks 243rd in Division I in adjusted offensive efficiency. While this might be a fun point guard battle to watch, Iowa State should win its first round game comfortably.

Potential Later Round Matchups: The Advocare Invitational has the potential to help Iowa State’s NCAA Tournament resume if the Cyclones can make it past Indiana State. Miami (FL) and Stanford face off in the opposite quarterfinal and the Hurricanes figure to be the favorite there. Although they are likely to finish in the middle of the pack of the loaded ACC, they would represent a nice win for the Cyclones. The other side of the bracket features Seton Hall, a middle of the road Big East squad; Florida, arguably the second best team in the SEC; and Gonzaga, the biggest potential win of all in this event. Picking up a couple quality wins will be important for an Iowa State team that so far has played the 347th ranked schedule in Division I, according to KenPom.

Outlook: The truth is that nobody knows just how good Iowa State is yet. The Cyclones’ toughest opponent has been Mount St. Mary’s, a program picked to finish fourth in the Northeast Conference this season. The Advocare Invitational will therefore be the first opportunity to gauge what the Cyclones can become. If Morris and Mitrou-Long can play well, there’s good reason to believe the team can make the championship game before likely falling to Gonzaga, but it’s wait and see until they step on the court against tougher competition.

Chris Stone (136 Posts)

Chris Stone is a contributor to the Big 12 microsite. You can find him on Twitter @cstonehoops.

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