WVU basketball: previewing the Mountaineers against Iowa State

WVU basketball will look to end their seven-game losing streak on Tuesday when they take on Iowa State for the first time this season. The Cyclones are coming off of a 22-point loss to Texas, their most significant season deficit.

Iowa State Cyclones
West Virginia Mountaineers
Tuesday, February 8
WVU -1.5

Like West Virginia, Iowa State started the season strong but struggled in conference play. The Cyclones went 12-0 before their first Big 12 game against Baylor. However, in conference play, Iowa State has gone 3-7 and is currently on a two-game losing streak.

The Cyclones’ loss against Texas was by-far their worst game. While averaging 69.2 points per game before this match-up, Iowa State only scored 41 points against the Longhorns, a season-low. The Cyclones also had a season-low field goal percentage of 28.6 percent and a season-low five assists.

Iowa State has scored 70 points or more in ten of their games this season while only having two games that scored below 50 points. This makes the Cyclones a good match-up for the Mountaineers, who have scored at least 70 points in nine games this season, and have yet to score below 50 points.

Senior guard Izaiah Brockington has been crucial to Iowa State’s success on both sides of the ball. This season, Brockington is the only Big 12 player with at least seven double-doubles. Additionally, he is fourth in the conference for points per game with 16.9 and second for rebounds per game with 7.8.

Freshman guard Tyrese Hunter has also been an essential player for the Cyclones, leading the team in assists and steals per game. That being said, Hunter only had one assist and zero steals in his 28 minutes played against Texas.

This season, the Cyclones have forced double-digit turnovers in all of their match-ups, an area in which the Mountaineers have already struggled. West Virginia will have to be overly cautious on the offensive to avoid turnovers– especially since Iowa State averages 8.8 steals per game.

While it would be ideal for Iowa State to play as poorly against West Virginia as they did against Texas, the chances of that are very slim, and the Cyclones will more than likely be out for blood. Luckily, if the Mountaineers can turn their recent slump into momentum, West Virginia will be able to celebrate a win for the first time in the past 28 days.

Other Mountaineers must step up against the Cyclones, with Taz Sherman still in concussion protocol.

West Virginia only has nine regular-season match-ups remaining, all against teams with better conference records. The Mountaineers do not have the time to continue this losing streak if they want a shot at making it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018.