On Wednesday night, two top 25 teams go head-to-head in Ames, Iowa, with the No. 7 Iowa State Cyclones playing against the No. 15 Texas Longhorns. Iowa State has had an impressive season so far with a 16-1 record and a nine-game winning streak. Texas has also performed well with a 12-3 record, but has two losses to unranked teams in its last four games.
People were optimistic about Iowa State starting the year, but a 16-1 start wasn’t expected. Thanks to their small-ball style, they’ve been on a tear, led by star player Ashley Joens, a walking double-double. The Cyclones are a fast-paced, exciting team to watch and can run a team out of the gym if they aren’t prepared to keep up with their speed. Iowa State accomplishes this by being a guard-heavy team, and they have the personnel to do it with dynamic players such as Lexi Donarski and Aubrey Joens.
However, both of the Joens sisters will not be playing because of COVID-related protocols.
Iowa State isn’t a one-note team. It has 6-foot-3 forward Morgan Kane and 6-foot-3 center Beatriz Jordão to counter against teams that try to go bigger against them. With their combination of small-ball lineups and bigs, the Cyclones have been difficult to beat, with their only loss being against No. 11 LSU.
Texas has Lauren Ebo, who cleans up the boards. Aliyah Matharu leading the team in scoring and Rori Harmon is leading the team in assists. Texas is a well-balanced team with a deep bench and a vastly different style of play. It will be interesting to see if Texas’s bigger lineup will overwhelm the small-ball style of Iowa State.
No. 7 Iowa State Cyclones (16-1, 5-0 Big 12) vs. No. 15 Texas Longhorns (12-3, 2-2 Big 12)
When: Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: James H. Hilton Coliseum in Ames, IA
How to watch: ESPN+
Key to the matchup: The Cyclones will be trying to use their speed and 3-point shooting to overwhelm the Longhorns. Texas will play a more traditional lineup and try to physically outmatch Iowa State. The winner will be the team that forces their opponent to play their style the most. With such contrasting styles of play, one team will have to give in and change things to try and avoid the loss. The question is: which team will have to adjust first?