In the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Iowa State Cyclones had little problem defeating No. 13 Iona and No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock. Unlike Iowa State, the Virginia Cavaliers had a battle in their second round game against the Butler Bulldogs.
Virginia beat Butler 77-69 behind 22 points and five rebounds from ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon. The Cavaliers will look to defeat the Cyclones on Friday night to advance to their first Elite Eight since 1995.
No. 4 Iowa State Cyclones (23-11) vs. No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (28-7)
When: 7:10 p.m. ET (Friday)
Where: United Center (Chicago)
Line: Virginia -5.5
Keys for Iowa State
Iowa State has looked tremendous in victories over Iona and Arkansas-Little Rock, but defeating Virginia will take a lot more than the Cyclones have shown in the Tournament so far. They will need to hit shots from beyond the arc, as they're averaging 38.6 percent from three-point land this season. Virginia's defense is relentless, so Iowa State will need to be crisp and committed in its execution to get quality shots in the paint later in the game.
Keys for Virginia
Virginia should look to attack the basket early with shots inside. Iowa State has had problems staying in front of opponents with its 2-3 zone. The Cavaliers also need to crash the boards since the Cyclones are ranked No.121 in adjusted rebounding.
Iowa State will look to run its up-tempo offense, but this Virginia team will be more than happy to pick up the pace. If the Cavaliers can get the Cyclones in foul trouble, that will open up more shots from the perimeter. Virginia tends to make fewer mistakes than most teams and that's why the Cavaliers will be victorious on Friday night.
Prediction: Virginia 72, Iowa State 64
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter@antwanstaley.