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Cal-Iowa State Men's Basketball Open Thread + Interview With Clone Chronicles

(To discuss the remaining college football games or the Cal-Washington game, scroll down to the postgame thread. This thread is for the basketball game only!)

Line: Cal by 8
Injuries: Robertson (questionable, gametime decision), MSF, Gutierrez, Amoke (probable, all with flu/cold)

After a tough loss to New Mexico, Cal is fast approaching must-win mode to avoid being in come-from-behind mode for the Pac-10 season. That bid kicks off with a home matchup against Iowa State in the continuing Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood series. Other than an Oregon State win yesterday, the Pac has been shut out, making it very imperative Cal wins tonight to boost the conference's image and their team's ability to beat quality big conference opponents.

This game is on ESPNU, tips off at Haas at 8 PM PST/11 PM EST. After the jump, we interview the Iowa State SBN blog, Clone Chronicles, to discuss tonight's matchup and learn more about Iowa St. basketball.

1) Tell us about your top players. Who are the Cyclones Cal fans should be worried about?

Our top players are Craig Brackins, Marquis Gilstrap, and Diante Garrett. Brackins is a 2009 Preseaon All-American who was a projected Lottery Pick in 2009, decided to come back to try to get this team to the NCAA Tournament. He's a natural 3, that has to play the 4 and 5 due to a lack of post presence. He has issues against physical players, but has a nice mid-range jumper and fade-away spin move in the post. Gilstrap is a JUCO Transfer who is true wing player in that he is a good rebounder, can score from anywhere, and attacks the hoop. Garrett is the point guard. He isn't a scorer, but great at distributing the ball, and not giving up turnovers. His A/T is 3.31 on the year.... Lucca Staiger played on the German National Team this past summer. He's a 3 point specialist, so he can't be left open.

2) How well is the offense running now? Defense?

Offense is not running well at all. This team plays much better in transition than in half court sets. They are having a tough time against physical defenses, man-to-man defenses. They play much better against the zone. Defensively, they are alright. The post defense isn't great as they've allowed a handful of easy layins, but the perimeter defense is pretty good. They do not pressure too much, so they do not pick up many steals.

3) What are the expectations going into this season for the Cyclones?

The expectations were to get to the NCAA Tournament. With 2 professional prospects in Brackins and Gilstrap, along with some starters becoming upperclassmen, along with being able to go 9-10 deep, anything short of that is a disappointment...So far this season has been disappointing, but the potential is there. This game against Cal is a must-win for the Cyclones... I think some would be ok with a NIT, but most of the top players will likely leave ISU after this year, so 2010-2011 looks to be a rebuilding year. If they do not make the dance, this would be the longest NCAA Tournament drought for ISU since the early 1980s.

4) Tell us something about Iowa State that granola-munching, tree-hugging, flag-burning heathens on the West Coast would probably not know.

Over the past 24 years, they've made the NCAA Tournament 12 times. Jeff Hornacek, Marcus Fizer, Kelvin Cato, and Jamal Tinsley played at Iowa State. Tim Floyd coached here in the mid-1990s prior to coaching the Chicago Bulls. Hilton Coliseum used to be considered one of the toughest places to play in all of College Basketball. The last time it's been truley, floor shaking hostile, was in 2004 or 2005. Winning more will cure that I think.... ISU is mostly an AG school, so of course most students hate everything that Berkeley stands for.

5) As an Iowa State fan, who do you want to punch in the face the most and why?

Not really anyone, but the closest is Roy Williams probably. Every single top recruit from the state of Iowa he has plucked for himself. The latest was #1 Recruit Harrison Barnes who is an Ames, IA native. In the later 1990s into the early 2000s, ISU had a good rivalry going with Kansas with some pretty competitive games, so some of it stems from there.