So far, if you’re keeping score, Texas is off to a 2-0 start in our mythical “All-Time Big 12” series. Kansas State has been the toughest matchup, while Oklahoma State provided a stiff test.
Now we move to Hilton Magic.
Iowa State has a richer than you would think basketball history. The Cyclones went to the Final Four in 1944 and in the 1950s had some great seasons. A dip occurred, then Iowa State hired Johnny Orr and the program made a comeback. Under coach Fred Hoiberg a few years ago the program gained some national attention and has been a regular feature in the polls (of course, they aren’t currently ranked this season, but did start the year in the top 25).
But are the Cyclones’ best better than the Longhorns?
G T.J. Ford, 6-0 (2001-2003) — 12.9 pts, 8.0 ast, 3.8 reb
G Travis Mays, 6-2 (1986-1990) — 18.4 pts, 4.8 reb, 2.3 ast
F Kevin Durant, 6-9 (2006-07) — 25.8 pts, 11.1 reb, 1.3 ast
F LaMarcus Aldridge, 6-11 (2004-2006) — 13.5 pts, 8.2 reb
C Chris Mihm, 7-0 (1997-2000) — 14.6 pts, 9.8 reb, 2.8 bl
G Jamaal Tinsley, 6-3 (200-2001) — 12.5 pts, 6.3 ast, 2.6 st
G Barry Stevens, 6-5 (1981-1985)– 18.7 pts, 4.6 reb
F Georges Niang, 6-8 (2012-2016)– 16.1 pts, 5.2 reb, 3.1 ast
F Jeff Grayer, 6-5 (1984-1988) — 20 pts, 7.3 reb, 2 ast, 1.6 stl
C: Marcus Fizer, 6-9 (1997-2000) — 18.9 pts, 7.4 reb
This is a sneaky matchup. Texas has a big size advantage up front and Durant and Aldridge are tough matchups. Fizer (2000 Big 12 Player of the Year and AP National Player of the Year runner-up) really wasn’t a center, but leaving Niang and all-time leading scorer Grayer off the all-time team was unacceptable. Tinsley (2001 Big 12 Player of the Year) is the best point guard Ford has faced in this series and Stevens had the greenlight to shoot. Texas would have to stop what would be a really good 3-point shooting team.
On the bench
Rick Barnes leads Texas against Johnny Orr, the all-time wins leader at Iowa State and an early adopter of the push-the-tempo style of play. Who is Johnny Orr? Here you go:
Texas trades D.J. Augustin off the bench for defensive stopper Avery Bradley to help curb the perimeter attack of the cyclones. Meanwhile Iowa State chooses “The Mayor” Fred Hoiberg off the bench over former walk-on turned star Jeff Hornacek. How can you not have Hoiberg on the all-time Iowa State team? Either way, both could shoot lights out.
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