Iowa State Cyclones

Hey, Cyclones, Fran McCaffery likes your team

Iowa coach lauds 7-1 ISU. The two teams meet tonight

Iowa State's Georges Niang (31) reacts after being called for a foul against Virginia's Marial Shayok (4) during the sec
Iowa State’s Georges Niang (31) reacts after being called for a foul against Virginia’s Marial Shayok (4) during the second half of their NCAA Sweet 16 Midwest Regional semifinal game at the United Center in Chicago on March 25, 2016. Virginia won, 84-71. Shayok transferred to Iowa State a year later and will play for the Cyclones at Iowa tonight. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Coaches compliment upcoming opponents. It’s as common as, well, Common.

But Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery had plenty to say about his team’s foe Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the Cyclones of Iowa State. And all of it was favorable.

“I’ve been really impressed with their team,” McCaffery said Wednesday afternoon. “I think in particular their ball movement.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons, and they have some new guys, some that were there last year but didn’t play because they were sitting out. But when you have that many weapons, you’ve got some freshmen, you’ve got transfers, they play together. (Michael) Jacobson has looked really good, (Marial) Shayok has been terrific, (Talen) Horton-Tucker, (Nick) Weiler-Babb has always been really solid. He kind of goes and scores when he has to and then moves it, keeps everybody involved.

“But they’re getting great play off their guys off the bench. They’ve got some guys healthy and some guys I guess were suspended, now they’re back. So that gives them more depth. I think the other guys benefited for a little bit of that period of time when the other guys were out, they got a chance to play more. Jacobson’s numbers are really good, playing with great confidence. He’s a fourth-year player now, played two years in our league (at Nebraska).

“They present challenges. They can go big if they want to now with some guys back, but they can also go small, play four guards. Anybody can take it off the glass and go. So you know, they’ve got drivers, but they’ve also got shooters. But most importantly, seemingly it’s an unselfish group.”

McCaffery is 2-6 against Iowa State. The two wins came at Carver.

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