Clash of styles when Iowa State faces Purdue in NCAA tourney
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Iowa State starts four senior guards, and each of them averages in double figures. Purdue might have the most imposing frontcourt in the country.
Big 12 versus Big Ten. A clash of styles in the NCAA Tournament.
Monte Morris and the speedy Cyclones take on Caleb Swanigan and the bruising Boilermakers in the second round Saturday night at the home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. At stake is the Midwest region’s first ticket to Kansas City for the Sweet 16.
While it’s definitely not a mirror image — Purdue has its own solid point guard in P.J. Thompson, and Iowa State guard Deonte Burton plays a physical style that would fit right in with the Boilermakers — there is no question each team has distinctly different methods of attack. Purdue looks inside first, and Iowa State is focused on its perimeter game.
“It is contrasting styles,” Cyclones coach Steve Prohm said. “It is from a standpoint, I guess, of how we try to score. ... We do it different. The biggest thing for us to win this game is we’ve got to be the tougher team on the defensive end of the floor.”
Iowa State (24-10) showed off its offensive versatility in the first round, placing five players in double figures in an 84-73 victory against Nevada. Morris led the way with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but Burton, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas each stepped up at times.
The Cyclones can shoot it from deep, making 337 3-pointers so far this season, and Burton is a challenging cover for most teams in the country. The Milwaukee native, listed at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, can pull up from 3 or drive inside to add another highlight to his list of poster-worthy dunks.
“I think teams have kind of matched him up as if he’s a big,” said Purdue forward Vince Edwards, who will start on Burton at the beginning of the game. “He’s really a guard. He’s not the tallest guy in the world, but he’s really strong. He’s athletic. He knows how to get his shots off. He’s explosive.”
The Boilermakers (26-7) counter with size. Lots and lots of size.
The 6-9, 250-pound Swanigan had 16 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots in Purdue’s 80-70 victory against Vermont in the first round. The Boilermakers also have 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas coming off the bench.
Solomon Young is the tallest player in Iowa State’s starting lineup at 6-8. Asked about negating Purdue’s advantage inside, Mitrou-Long said it’s going to take the whole team.
“It’s a collective effort,” he said. “That’s been our defensive principles since Coach Prohm got here. We definitely have to lean on one another like we have been all year to do our best to help the big fellas down low.”
Here are a couple more things to watch as the Midwest region moves to the second round:
COMING ON: Purdue freshman Carsen Edwards scored 12 points in the opener against the Catamounts. He had 17 points in the Boilermakers’ loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.
“Carsen Edwards has been one of the best freshmen in our league, (with) his ability to make plays and shots,” Painter said.
COMING ON II: Iowa State has won 10 of 11, winning the Big 12 Tournament title before eliminating the Wolf Pack.
POINT OF EMPHASIS: Prohm thinks Morris is the best point guard in college basketball, and the numbers back him up. The senior has a 5.33 assist-to-turnover ratio, tops in the country. But Purdue junior P.J. Thompson is second with a 4.30 assist-to-turnover ratio.
COMING UP: The rest of the region’s second-round games are on Sunday, with Michigan taking on Louisville in one of the marquee matchups.
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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap