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An Iowa State fan gives us the inside scoop on the top-25 matchup vs. Ole Miss

SB Nation’s ISU blog is here to fill us in on Saturday’s showdown in Oxford.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Iowa State Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday brings a top-25 matchup to Oxford as No. 20 Ole Miss hosts No. 24 Iowa State ESPN in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

I have never seen or heard a cyclone, but they seem to be very dangerous according to a Google search I just conducted. Honestly, the idea of sharks in a cyclone or a “sharklone” could even be great fodder for a movie!

Given my lack of knowledge about ISU and cyclones in general, I asked Matthias Schwartzkopf of SB Nation’s Iowa State blog Wide Right and Natty Lite to answer a few questions about what we can expect on Saturday.

1.) I legitimately think ISU could be 18-1 right now, save the dreaded loss at Iowa earlier this year. What went wrong there and has it been a trend in losses this year?

We have yet to really be outmatched in any game this year. In pretty much every loss Iowa State has lost a lead late it seems. We tend to go into scoring funks and that’s when other teams tend to go on their runs and we just never seem to be able to dig ourselves out of the hole. An example is this past Monday against Kansas, when ISU held an eight-point second-half lead and went over four minutes without hitting a field goal. Kansas was able to take the lead and even balloon it up to eight points. Iowa State fought back but much like all of their losses, they made too many mistakes in the end and couldn’t overcome the adversity. So I guess you could say there is a bit of trend going.

2.) Marial Shayok is clearly a matchup nightmare at 6’6 playing guard and dropping 20 points per game. What have teams done to slow him down? Or will we just have to settle with him getting 15-20 on us?

Kansas State has been the only team really to “slow” him down this season. They did a great job of denying passes to him and playing great defense the entire game and the offense just never seemed to flow for Shayok that game. Basically Ole Miss will need to have a defender that can literally be in his face the entire time because whether Shayok is feeling it or not, he tends to go find his shots and at least attempt to get his averages.

3.) What under the radar players should we know about prior to this game?

Tyrese Haliburton. Tyrese has started every game this season as a freshman after many thought that he would redshirt to put on some bulk in the weight room. Thanks to injuries, he got his chance to play right away. His stats won’t jump off the chart at you but he is that type of shooter that can sneak up and toss out 15 or more points if he has too. He has a very unorthodox shot but he is shooting almost 45 percent from three-point range and 54.5 percent from the field.

4.) Let’s say Marcus Fizer and his creaking 40-year old body walks into practice tomorrow. Can he beat almost everyone on the current team in a game of one-on-one? In his prime?

At his age now, I am not sure he would be everyone but he certainly probably would put up a good fight with fundamentals. In his prime, he would do some damage down low to our post guys.

5.) The game Saturday is an early tip. What will you be drinking while watching?

We are having a game watch for this one, apple pie shots are one of the specials. So I am sure I will have some of those as well as an Iowa specialty, Busch Light.

6.) Have you been to the Grove? Why don’t we play each other in football?

I have not but I have heard great things. I think it would definitely be on my list to stop at if I were to make a trip down south for some games. I think a home and home would be a great idea. Both places have great tailgating, and in the current state of the football programs, the matchup would be pretty competitive.

So there you have it: apple pie shots, Busch Light and a lot of confidence in his tailgating game. These Iowa State folks might just be okay.

Check out the good folks at Wide Right and Natty Lite leading up to the game Saturday for our A’s to their Q’s.