We reached out to Wide Right and Natty Lite, SB Nation's hilarious and excellent Iowa St. Cyclones blog. JC, who also does a bit of work for Burnt Orange Nation (he is from Texas, after all), suggested I give WRNL a shout, and you are about to see the results of that.
Here are their answers to my questions on WRNL. My questions and their answers follow below, with the questions in bold:
1. Would you mind explaining your blog name, Wide Right and Natty Light? I think that will be a mystery to most UK fans.
Being a Cyclone fan has been historically painful, with some spurts of success always brought crashing down. The Wide Right refers to 2 missed kicks to win the Big 12 North in 2004 and 2005, while the Natty Lite is a reference to our last great coach Larry Eustachy getting fired after the infamous incident with coeds and Natty Light. We figured the name was the best way to embrace the pain through humor. Having fun with it is key to being a fan of a school with limited success.
2. Everyone knows about Royce White now (if they didn't before). Who is the Cyclone that is likely to give Kentucky the most trouble that we probably don't know much about?
The easiest answer here is Scotty Christopherson. He has evolved his game every year from being a streak shooting sixth man to a dead eye wing player to a senior leader that has developed a passable game in the paint. Christopherson boasts unlimited range but sometimes tries to do too much with the ball so active hands are important for whoever is guarding him. Also look out for Chris Allen, the MSU transfer who has played more tournament games than anyone in this year's tournament. His experience may prove vital down the stretch.
3. So has Fred Hoiberg eclipsed Larry Eustachy's popularity yet? I know it's kind of early in Hoiberg's career, but he is an alumnus (as well as a great former player), and ISU wasn't really on the radar as an NCAA team at the beginning of the year. Describe how the Cyclones fans are feeling about the basketball program right now.
We'll always miss Larry, but what's done is done and I think everyone is happy for him at Southern Miss. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the 4 years of Greg McDermott, but Fred Hoiberg eclipsed McDermott's best season in his first year, and everyone has seen what's happened this year, with a strong recruiting class coming in.
Everybody around the program is very excited with what Fred Hoiberg has done and he's already probably more popular around the community than every ISU coach since Johnny Orr. It really does help to have a coach who can sell recruits who know nothing about Iowa State on his personal experience growing up and playing in Ames.
4. Describe Iowa State's style. How do you think it matches up with Kentucky's game?
Offensively, we want to shoot the 3, and we're very good at doing it (6th in the country). If you have a team that struggles defending the 3 like UConn did all season, it ends badly. On the other hand, a team like Texas that defends the perimeter very well gave us fits, taking 2 out of 3 this season. Royce White is a matchup nightmare for plenty of teams, but with Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to throw at Royce, Kentucky should be able to negate his inside presence. What will be important though, is that Kentucky's guards stop Royce's kick outs to all of the Cyclone shooters.
Defensively, Iowa State guards the three very well, but we're a bit undersized, so Kentucky's length will likely give us problems. Melvin Ejim is an above average defender, but he's out of position guarding 4s, and there's only so much he can do given that disadvantage. UConn also had a size advantage on us, but didn't take advantage. The Wildcats should utilize Davis on the inside early and often.
5. How do you think the game will turn out?
I won't touch predictions for fear of jinxing (and I did the same when I did a Q&A with The UConn Blog), but I believe ISU will give Kentucky everything they can handle, and if the Cyclones finish above 50% from 3, the upset is possible. It's a VERY tall task against a team as talented as Kentucky, but the Mayor has us all believing.