Iowa State lost one of its worst games in program history on Tuesday to a 1-9 Florida A&M team. The Cyclones will be hoping for better fortune on Saturday to start conference play.
Iowa State (7-5) plays TCU (9-3) in Fort Worth, Texas, in its first conference game of the year on Saturday.
The last game of the Cyclones saw them compete without their best player — sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton — and it showed as they lost to one of the worst teams in the nation.
TCU didn't have much expectations this season, but the Horned Frogs have gotten off to a solid start with none of their losses being catastrophic like Iowa State. The Horned Frogs have lost to Clemson by two, USC by two and Xavier by eight.
Iowa State's road has been much more rocky, but Iowa State has faced a much tougher schedule so far.
The Cyclones will need to rely on Haliburton if he returns from his wrist injury that was nagging him prior to the game in Tuesday.
Haliburton's play has gotten him noticed this year and been the driving force behind most of Iowa State's wins. The sophomore is averaging 17.3 points, 7.7 assists and 5.7 rebounds for the Cyclone and his name has shot up draft boards with the 2020 NBA draft looming after the season.
Haliburton has also played solid defense and is averaging 2.5 steals per game to go along with 0.5 blocks per game.
Without a ton of help from the rest of the team, Iowa State's chances in the season would look pretty hopeless, but recently the Cyclones have received solid play from another one of their guards, Rasir Bolton.
Bolton was the lone bright spot for the Cyclones on Tuesday as he totaled 29 points on 10-17 shooting, 4-4 from three and 5-5 from the line.
Coach Steve Prohm has said multiple times that Bolton is the best on the team at driving into the lane and finishing around the rim. Iowa State has had trouble doing that and has even ran into some zones which took out most hope of doing that, but Bolton has found a way to slice inside and score for himself with consistency.
With TCU not being the toughest Big 12 opponent, this will be a game that Iowa State will really want to have with its tournament hopes likely coming down to some of these lower level Big 12 games.
To do this, Iowa State will need to stop senior guard Desmond Bane.
Bane is averaging 17.1 points for the Horned Frogs and has a 41.1 percent three-point percentage.
Iowa State's defense has been inconsistent this season with some games showing a fierce defensive performance and some showing the opposite. Iowa State will need the former if it wants to stop Bane and defeat the Horned Frogs on Saturday.