Rushed Reactions: Iowa State 84, TCU 63

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 10th, 2017

RTC’s Brian Goodman (@BSGoodman) is providing on-site coverage of the Big 12 Tournament.

Iowa State Seems to Have this Big 12 Tournament Thing Down Pat (USA Today Images)

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. The long ball propels the Cyclones to a laugher. Friday night was classic Hoiball, as the Cyclones scorched the nets to the tune of a 48 percent clip from deep. Iowa State connected in transition, in half-court sets, off the bounce and on catch-and-shoots. Steve Prohm‘s use of forward Solomon Young in the starting lineup also continued to pay dividends. While he’s hardly an offensive force, he pulled TCU’s defense inward just enough to provide space for the likes of Naz Mitrou-LongMonte’ Morris and Matt Thomas to fire away with plenty of clean looks. Iowa State was also highly efficient inside the arc, but the three-ball continues to be the Cyclones’ bread and butter. They will enter Saturday’s championship game shooting a mind-blowing 47 percent from deep over their last 11 games.
  2. Deonte Burton was at his best. Burton won’t ever be mistaken for Georges Niang, but he’s similarly difficult for opponents to match up with. He scored nine of Iowa State’s first 11 points and carried that confidence through the rest of the night, sinking jumper after jumper on his way to a game-high 22 points. The senior transfer also made some smooth passes in transition and was active on the glass, displaying his usual versatility. Burton is just as capable of shooting his team into losses as he is of shooting them into wins, but Iowa State didn’t need his ‘A’ game to beat a gassed TCU team tonight. He brought it anyway and his contributions played a key role in building a lead big enough for Prohm to comfortably pull his starters down the stretch.
  3. TCU builds a strong foundation in Jamie Dixon’s first year. The national media didn’t pay much attention to TCU before the Horned Frogs upset Kansas on Thursday afternoon, but to be fair, there wasn’t much reason for them to. TCU played a lax non-conference schedule and went just 1-9 against teams in the top half of the Big 12 standings this season. The development on its roster was apparent, however, as the core of Kenrich Williams, Alex Robinson, Jaylen Fisher and Vladimir Brodziansky made tremendous strides throughout the season. The Horned Frogs won’t be anonymous for much longer. This season’s starting lineup has no seniors and reinforcements are on the way in the form of a recruiting class headlined by four-star signees Kevin Samuel and R.J. Nembhard.

Star of the GameDeonte BurtonIowa State. When Burton isn’t on, he wastes possessions in what is otherwise a well-oiled offensive machine. When he’s locked in, he’s one of the best players in the conference. Tonight, he was the latter. TCU was competitive over the first 10 minutes of the game, but Burton’s confidence, shot-making and activity ensured that lightning wouldn’t strike twice for the Horned Frogs.

Quotable. Iowa State is one win away from its third Big 12 Tournament title in four years. Seniors Morris, Mitrou-Long and Thomas have seen it all, as have thousands of Cyclone fans who make the 230-mile trek from Ames to Kansas City each year. To Morris, the Sprint Center may as well be Hilton South: “Honestly, we got the best fans in the country and they travel well. So it definitely felt like a home game for us and that definitely gets us going like if we have slow starts like we did tonight. But we picked it up, and now we are 40 minutes away from a trophy.”

What’s Next? Iowa State will look to keep riding the wave tomorrow night when it faces the winner of tonight’s second semifinal. Despite being ranked in the top 40 of KenPom, TCU is likely headed to the NIT. That isn’t so bad when you remember that they’ve played in just one postseason tournament (2012 CBI) since their last NIT appearance in 2005.

Brian Goodman (987 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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