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Basketball Preview: We’re Talking Oklahoma State Pt. 2

Emotions will be at a fever pitch as six seniors say goodbye to Cyclone Nation tonight

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Wouldn’t you know it, the end of the home slate of basketball season is already upon us. We will indeed see more basketball games from this group of Cyclones yet this season, but none in Hilton Coliseum after tonight. In fact, this is the last go around in the friendly confines for six ISU seniors - Monte Morris, Nazareth Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas, Deonte Burton, Darrell Bowie, and Merrill Holden.

Fittingly, this senior night showdown features the Oklahoma State Cowboys, as it has three of the last four years. The Cowboys and Iowa State Cyclones have also had some classic games of late, and the fingerprints of these seniors are all over those matchups - namely Naz Long.

Tonight’s rendition of this series features two of the nation’s hottest teams with Iowa State having won six of the last seven and Oklahoma State having won ten of the last eleven. On display will be two of the country’s most potent offenses, prolific three point shooters, and a pair of the best floor generals in college basketball. Whew.

Oklahoma State at Iowa State by the Numbers

Oklahoma State @ Iowa State
Oklahoma State @ Iowa State
AP Ranking 27 24
Season Record 20-9 (9-7) 19-9 (11-5)
Home/Away 11-4 / 9-5 11-3 / 8-6
Series Record 63-61 61-63
Series in Ames 14-38 38-14
Via Kenpom (2/27)
Overall Ranking 19 23
Adjusted Offense 2 18
Adjusted Defense 109 44
2P% 50.5% (118) 50.8% (109)
3P% 40.5% (9) 39.4% (22)
FT% 78.2% (6) 69.2% (208)
EFG% 54.1% (38) 54.0% (44)

Last Time Out

The Iowa State Cyclones finally got a signature win in Hilton, beating Baylor 72-69 with Hilton Magic on full display.

Oklahoma State gave Texas Tech a beating on Saturday 80-63 after getting a double digit road win in Manhattan a few days earlier. There is zero doubt that Oklahoma State is one of the hottest teams in the country. Iowa State and Oklahoma State are no strangers to close games in recent years - especially in Hilton, on senior night, where Iowa State has escaped with wins over lesser Cowboy squads than this one.

Round 1

In Stillwater, Monte Morris played arguably his best game in a Cyclone uniform as he lead Iowa State to a 96-86 win, with a 30 point, 5 rebound, 5 assist, 4 steal and 0 turnover performance.

That game gave Iowa State a 3-1 conference record and that would be the last time the Cyclones were 2 games over .500 in the Big 12 until they pulled out the win in Lawrence. Now, these teams collide in Ames having won 18 of their last 22 combined games.

Matchups and Players to Watch

Monte Morris vs. Jawun Evans

This is the fun matchup that I’m sure the TV commentators will salivate over. These two are two of the best point guards both in the Big 12 Conference and college basketball as a whole. Morris definitely got the better of this matchup in round one, and it always seems like he ups his game as the competition stiffens. It’s going to take a vintage Monte Morris effort tonight to win this game, and I think he does it again.

Jeffrey Carroll vs. Whomever ISU tries to put on him

If Iowa State doesn’t run and push the tempo, Oklahoma State could march out a frontcourt with Jeffrey Carroll (6’6”), Leyton Hammonds (6’8”) and either Cameron McGriff or Mitchell Solomon (both 6’7”+). Iowa State struggles to compete with that height and length as we saw in both matchups against Baylor. The best way to compete with size is run them off the floor.

Normally, I wouldn’t advocate for this when you’re playing the second most efficient offense, but I think Iowa State needs to play faster and increase possessions. The game in Stillwater featured 73 possessions, while the Baylor game on Saturday featured only 54. If Iowa State can push and negate some of the size advantage in the post for the Cowboys, I think they’ll be more successful.

A Word and a GIF Summary

Today’s Word: Poise

Dealing with the emotions of senior night is next to impossible. You could say these players have been through it, but it wasn’t their senior night. Iowa State must remain poised as a great offensive team, such as the Cowboys, could really open up things early, if the Cyclones are not locked in immediately. They must try to keep their emotions and adrenaline in check, they must withstand some pesky shots from Phil Forte III, they must execute with precision offensively and must remain poised in the face of adversity.

Today’s GIF:

Pick 3

  1. Forte makes a couple of infuriating three pointers
  2. Iowa State starts sluggishly with the emotions of senior night
  3. Iowa State uses a 15-2, 17-4 type run to take the lead in the second half and never look back

#24 Iowa State - 83; Oklahoma State - 79

Game Notes

Game Time: Tuesday, Feb. 28th, 8 p.m. CST

Line Open: Iowa State (-3); O/U (164)

The Foe: Cowboys Ride for Free

TV/Webcast: ESPN2/WatchESPN (Jon Sciambi, Miles Simon)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio App (John Walters, Eric Heft) Game Notes: Available here