Optimistic fans looking forward to a three-game winning streak after the Cyclones won in Lawrence were quickly snapped back to reality on Tuesday night when that same team lost to the disappointing Texas Longhorns in Austin. Now the Cyclones return home to try and take down the last place Sooners before heading back out on the road. Such is life in the Big 12.
Most Bracketology sites have Iowa State as a projected 8-9 seed and while winning this game won’t do much of anything to improve their standing, losing it would be a devastating blow to a resume that doesn’t include a loss outside the Kenpom top-50 when you account for location adjustment. This game wouldn’t even be a top-100 loss. In that sense, this is about as must win as it gets.
Last Time Out
The Cyclones were last seen digging themselves into an 18-point bunker built from all the bricks they threw up in the first 15 minutes. As the game wore on, Iowa State fought back and eventually tied the game at 65 with less than a minute to go before eventually falling 67-65. Hard (but not impossible) to win a game in which you never lead.
In a similar fashion, Oklahoma jumped out to an early double digit lead as the Sooners looked to sweep West Virginia, but the Mountaineers battled back on the road and were able to overcome the deficit to take down the Sooners 61-50.
Round 1 was an example of a Big 12 road game which is quickly becoming the Cyclones’ #brand. True to form, Iowa State fell behind by double digits early in the game as they have in all of the Big 12 road games since. Perhaps more impressively than getting down by 19 early, was the fact that Iowa State was able to eviscerate that entire lead...before halftime.
After the intermission, The Cyclones hopped on Deonte Burton’s back and rode his 27 points after the break to a 92-87 victory in double overtime.
Matchups and Players to Watch
As is the case in most Big 12 matchups, the stars at at the point guard position. Monte Morris and Jordan Woodard face off again and while Woodard was able to go off for 21 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists in the first matchup, he was pressured into six critical turnovers. Monte, and in turn Donovan Jackson, must pressure Woodard to get the ball out of his hands.
Kristian Doolittle had 15 points and 15 rebounds in the first go-round, but has been limited to single digits ever since putting up 29 in a loss to Texas on January 23rd. Deonte Burton will have to be on his game defensively to keep the talented freshman in check.
Oklahoma hasn’t won since the last time these teams got together and has lost six straight overall since winning in Morgantown on January 18th. While Oklahoma is having a down year, they still have a very good coach and have shown the ability to win a big time road game. The Cyclones must jump on the Sooners early and often and keep their foot on the gas so the young Sooners don’t gain any confidence. We don’t need to relive that Kansas State experience.
A Word and a GIF Summary
Today’s Word: Rebound
I’m using this word 90% in the context of rebounding from Tuesday’s disappointing loss and 10% in the literal sense. Yes, the Cyclones were outrebounded by 9 in Norman, but were able to get up three more shots than OU by forcing 25 turnovers. Forcing turnovers will be critical again in nullifying the rebounding disadvantage that plagues the Cyclones. In conference play, Iowa State ranks last in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. While that’s not the be all, end all of statistics, rebounding adequately will go along way toward avoiding an upset.
- Naz Mitrou-Long makes >5 3’s
- Deonte Burton has 3rd straight game of 6 steals
- Iowa State gets their 1st double digit win in exactly a month (96-86 @ OSU on 1/11/17)
Iowa State - 77; Oklahoma - 63
Game Time: Saturday, Feb. 11th, 5 p.m. CST
Line Open: Iowa State (-8.5); O/U (143.5)
The Foe: Crimson and Cream Machine
TV/Webcast: ESPN2/WatchESPN (Bob Wischusen, Fran Fraschilla)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio App (John Walters, Eric Heft)
Cyclones.com Game Notes: Available here