Life has been less than ideal for the TCU Horned Frogs in the midst of Mike Miles Jr injury as they have now dropped three in a row. On the plus side, he has now been upgraded to questionable going into this contest, giving TCU a much-needed boost on the offensive end. That will be vital for the Horned Frogs as Iowa State is one of the best defending units in the nation. With or without Miles Jr, will they be able to figure out the Cyclones defense? Get an expert prediction for TCU Vs. Iowa state.
TCU Vs. Iowa State Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Pass, wait on Mike Miles Jr injury confirmation
Not only are the Horned Frogs potentially missing their leading scorer, but they are once again potentially without big man Eddie Lampkin Jr as well who re-injured his ankle against Kansas State. He missed their last game against Baylor, leaving a defensive void in the interior. This allowed Baylor to put pressure in the middle, collapsing the defense and allowing the Bears to get more open looks from deep.
Even though it resulted in a loss, it was still impressive to see how competitive TCU can play while being forced to go deeper into their bench. A huge reason for this has been their ability to maintain their elite defensive play, forcing Havoc situations and smothering open looks. They currently rank top-20 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, hovering at the same metric in this losing stretch as they did when Lampkin and Miles Jr were on the court.
While the defense has maintained a high level of play, their offense has drastically dipped in production as they sorely miss Miles Jr 18.1 points per game. They still qualify as a historic national champion, but their AdjO ranking has now hit borderline status. A big reason for this has been the lack of disparity in players who can create their own shots off the dribble. This bodes well into Iowa State’s hands as they should have no issue collapsing on stagnant shooters.
Like TCU, the Cyclones possess one of the best defenses in the nation by ranking 10th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They pressure up to the perimeter, excelling at on ball coverage. This pressures opposing offenses into turnover situations, as well covering cuts to the lane with an in-your-face style of play. This is poised to give the Horned Frogs offense fits, as well as creating easy scoring opportunities for their struggling offense.
TCU Vs. Iowa State Odds
Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Horned Frogs as a +4 underdog. Bettors have tempered their expectations as well, taking the number up to +4.5 as of writing. This is in line with projections, zapping any value in the number. Especially without confirmation on Mike Miles Jr injury status, looming large over this contest as he would be an instant game changer. It should be noted that rust could play a major factor, as well as expecting him to be on restricted minutes.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 134.5. Bettors have yet to take a stand on either end, keeping the total the same as the opening number. This brings some intrigue as both units are elite on the defensive end. TCU even managed to play at an elite rate on the defensive end while dealing with injuries, boasting their depth to keep contests tight.
TCU Vs. Iowa State Key Matchups
Will Iowa State’s offense find consistent scoring success?
Iowa State transitional offense vs TCU fast break defense
It seems silly to say for one of the slowest tempo offenses in the nation, but Iowa State’s best chance for consistent scoring may come from transitional play. They currently rank 308th in Adjusted Tempo, but their Havoc minded defense can create fast break opportunities for high quality looks at the rim.
TCU’s injury riddled offense has already struggled with establishing any sort of consistency, now getting the unfortunate luck of being even more pressured than normal. They struggled against a similar defense in the Oklahoma State Cowboys in a 79-73 loss.
The Cowboys are also an anemic offense but played to a faster pace with their fast break opportunities. We may see that same identity in the Cyclones in this matchup to make up for their 75th AdjO metric.
This is a pass for me until we get injury confirmation on Mike Miles Jr. Should he be good to go, we may get a live opportunity if TCU goes down early while he shakes off the rust.