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Big 12/SEC Challenge: Tennessee vs. Iowa State Preview

Tricky game for the Vols.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Iowa State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC will get a chance to prove their worth against one of the best conferences in the country on Saturday. The Big 12 will square off against the much-improved SEC this weekend as the two conferences battle it out for supremacy.

Your 22nd ranked Tennessee Volunteers drew the Iowa State Cyclones this year. The Vols will head up north for a tricky road contest. Iowa State has turned into a pretty successful basketball program of late, making the NCAA Tournament in each of the last six seasons. That streak is in some jeopardy this year, however.

The Cyclones currently sit at 11-8 overall and just 2-6 in Big 12 play. After dropping four straight to start conference play, Iowa State has bounced back a bit going 2-2 over the past two weeks.


Key Players and Stats

There doesn’t seem to be anything too special here when looking at this Iowa State team on paper. They rank near the center of the pack in scoring (74.5 points per game) and near the bottom in defense (73.3 points allowed per game).

Iowa State is led by Lindell Wigginton, who does a little bit of everything. He averages over 16 points per contest, stays active on the boards (4 rebounds per game) and shoots 43 percent from deep.

Guard Nick Babb averages over half of Iowa State’s assists per game with 7.2 per contest so far this season. The offense seems to run through Babb, so Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bone and James Daniel will have to put in a good effort on the defensive end.

The Cyclones have decent size down low. Cameron Lard (6-9, 225) and Solomon Young (6-8, 245) are the two main post guys. Lard is the leading rebounder on the team, barely edging out Nick Babb.


Home/Away Splits

Tennessee is 4-2 on the road so far this season, picking up a decent win over South Carolina in their last try. On the flip-side, Iowa State has won their last two home games. In fact, they are 11-2 on their home floor this season.

The Cyclones thumped then No. 8 Texas Tech last weekend in Ames 70-52. Don’t let the record fool you — this is a team that can hang with just about anyone. They just happen to be playing in the toughest conference in America.


How do the rankings stack up?

Iowa State

KenPom: 100, RPI 80

Last four: 2-2

Tennessee

KenPom: 15, RPI 12

Last four: 3-1


Gameday Information

TV: ESPNU

Location: Ames, Iowa

Tip-off: 4 PM Eastern

Radio: Vol Network

Streaming: Watch ESPN