I traded 5 questions with Clone Chronicles, an excellent Iowa State blog. Here are my questions along with Clone Chronicles' answers. Make sure and check back withClone Chronicles with my answers sometime today (I sent them early this morning).
I readily admit that I haven't watched much ISU basketball this year. What can I expect, in general terms, from the Cyclones?
Slow, drag it out, wait til the shot clock gets below 15 before running the offense basketball. We haven't really had a good game since beating Mizzou/Oklahoma State here at home towards the beginning of the conference season. I suppose you could count the Texas game, but I don't really want to. We're not a good road team either, so that's going against us too. However, we'll have had a full week off, so guys like Wesley Johnson should finally be getting healthy.
How in the hell does a team score 11 points in a half and then win the freaking game? How did the Cyclones get back into the game?
It's Nebraska. I think we were down only 13 at the half, and our defense had been good all game. Coming into the second half, the Huskers fell into a bigger rut than we did, actually being on pace for less than 11 after a good chunk of the second half. That, and our shots started falling, which does wonders for us. Rahshon Clark and Sean Haluska both stepped up, both on the glass and shooting. It's an ugly win, but it was a nice sellout crowd, and it's one that would have just crushed us had we dropped it.
It appears to me that Iowa State's struggles have been on the offensive end (ranked 161st in KenPom's offensive efficiency), what's been the problem?
Injuries and spotty point guard play. Wesley Johnson hasn't been right all year. He's hurt his ankle a couple of times and just had the flu - not good when it affects your best player. Jiri Hubalek also started the year hurt. That, and as of recently, Craig Brackins has developed an allergy to a made basket. At the point, Bryan Petersen and Diante Garrett have been splitting time. Neither one is performing all that well, although Garrett has much more talent. Neither one shoots much, and it seems both have troubles running the offense at times.
You're Coach McDermott, what will be the key to beating Texas Tech on Saturday?
Shoot well. Our offense has been horrific for a while now. Just getting the shots to drop would be a minor miracle. It'd help if Craig Brackins can hit some bunnies early and get into the game without drifting out to the arc too much. I'm not worried about them handling the crowd or anything - I just want to see a good shooting game. They also need to not be looking ahead to Wednesday and our rivalry showdown with KU.
This is Greg McDermott's second year with the Cyclones, are you happy with his progress thus far? What would you like to see done differently with the program?
Eh. I would have liked to have seen a lot better this year, but I also understand that he's got a team full of guys that were hurt (W. Johnson, Hubalek), ineligible because the NCAA is retarded (Staiger), freshman (Garrett, Brackins) and walkons (Petersen, Haluska, Thompson, Lee). His recruiting has been a little underwhelming, and I'm hoping that picks up. I know he's a good guy. I just really hope he's not in over his head. You get crucified it you criticize the guy at all up here, but there's starting to be some questioning. He's 0-9 against ranked teams, which is pretty bad for any Iowa State coach to start off with. He's also 0-6 against the MVC, and 1-5 against instate foes. All those marks need to improve. As far as Saturday, I'd love to see a win, but I'm predicting a 13 point Raider win.