The Big 12 basketball seasons starts this weekend, so it’s a good time to review some tendencies and trends entering league play.In the most important statistical measure – scoring – the Cyclones rank fifth in the Big 12 in offense and fourth in defense. The interesting fact is that Iowa State and Kansas (2nd offense, 5th defense) are the only league schools which rank among the top five in both scoring categories. That is good balance. It isn’t much of a secret that Fred Hoiberg’s team has the green light to shoot three pointers. The Cyclones have made more 3’s than any Big 12 school and, as importantly, rank third in percentage. Four Cyclones currently lead the Big 12 in an individual category: Jamie VanderBeken (blocks), Diante Garrett (assists), Garrett (steals) and Scott Christopherson (three-point percentage). The team’s turnover margin is second best and part of that can be attributed to playing three guards much of the time. The negative of a guard-oriented lineup can be weak rebounding. Hoiberg has said attention to rebounding will be a season-long task. ISU is 10th in rebound margin but has received a huge boost on the boards from feisty 6-foot-1 guard Jake Anderson (amazingly, he’s tied for second in league rebounds). The match-up on the glass with Nebraska Saturday will be interesting. The Huskers’ player rotation features four players who stand 6-10 or taller and they are outboarding foes by nearly seven per game. Studying the battle on the boards might be the place to start when assessing the Big 12 opener.
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