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Round of 64: The Tale of the Tape Between Pitt and Iowa State



An ACC Tournament basketball lays on the court at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 8, 2023. (Mitchell Northam / Pittsburgh Sports Now)

The Pitt Panther basketball team no doubt celebrated Tuesday night following the program’s first NCAA basketball tournament win in nine seasons, but that’s now in the past.

Jeff Capel and staff likely spent the evening and parts of this morning studying their next opponent: the Iowa State Cyclones.

Head coach T.J. Otzelberger and the Cyclones finished the season with an overall record of 19-13 and really struggled down the stretch, losing nine of their last 13 games.

Despite this late-season slump, Iowa State was given a No. 6 seed by the NCAA Tournament committee, in large part because of the conference they reside in and their computer metrics.

Iowa State finished the season No. 20 in the NET Rankings and No. 24 in the KenPom Ratings.

Here’s a look at their body of work for the 2022-23 season:

Non-conference schedule

Iowa State’s best wins came against North Carolina, Villanova and St. John’s, none of whom made the NCAA Tournament. The two tournament teams that they did play were UConn and Iowa, both losses.

Big 12 schedule

Iowa State started out strong, winning five of its first six games, including wins over Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech and Texas. But it was short-lived as the Cyclones closed the season by losing 10 of their remaining 15 games. The losses came against Oklahoma State (twice), Missouri, Texas Tech, West Virginia (twice), Kansas State, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Seven of those 10 losses came on the road.

Like Mississippi State, the strength of Iowa State’s team is its defense, which is ranked in the Top 10 nationally.

Iowa State will no doubt have a deeper bench than Pitt as Otzelberger will use eight, maybe nine players. Iowa State averages 68.4 points per game (ranked 267th in the country) and has two players that averaged double-digit points: guard Jaren Holmes (13.4 pts) and guard Gabe Kalscheur (12.9 pts).

Here’s a comparison of these two teams in terms of team statistics.

Pitt Iowa State
Points Per Game 75.6 68.4
Field Goal % 45.1 45
3PT Field Goal % 36.2 33.9
Free Throw % 75.7 67.4
Rebounds Per Game 33 30.7
Offensive Rebounds Per Game 8.7 9.8
Steals Per Game 5.2 8.8
Turnovers Per Game 10.6 12.5

The oddsmakers currently list Iowa State as a four-point favorite. Iowa State and Pitt will tip off at 3:10 p.m. Friday in Greensboro, N.C., with a television broadcast on TruTV.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

i don;t know much about ISt but man, ranked pretty high in the metrics even with their fade. i think they recently kicked their #3 scorer off the team too. not sure how much that impacts the rotation. How different/better of an opponent will they be compared to Miss St ? If they can push us off the 3 line, it will be another long day. H2P !

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