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Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Oklahoma Part II

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The Cyclones are in need of something positive

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State has fallen in 3 of their last 4 games and our now searching for answers. They will have a chance to rebound tonight as Oklahoma makes the trip into Ames.

Last Time Out

TCU’s second win over the Cyclones last Saturday sent Iowa State back to the drawing board late into the 2018-2019 season.

The game was tied at 68 after a layup by the Cyclones’ Cameron Lard with 2:28 to play. Desmond Bane pushed TCU to the lead with a 3-pointer at the 1:57 mark before Talen Horton-Tucker’s layup with 59 seconds remaining brought Iowa State to within 71-70.

A basket by TCU’s JD Miller with under a minute left was matched by a layup from Marial Shayok 17 seconds later to keep the TCU lead at one point.

TCU then canned a pair of free throws with 21 seconds remaining to take the three-point lead they took to the final horn. Horton-Tucker and Lindell Wigginton each missed 3-pointers over the final five seconds to allow the Horned Frogs to hold on for the win.

Michael Jacobson led Iowa State with 17 points, while Lindell Wigginton scored 15, Horton-Tucker had 14, and Lard hit for 10 in the loss.

About Oklahoma

The Sooners won their 2nd straight game and improved to 17-10 (5-9 Big 12) on the season after defeating the Texas Longhorns, 69-67, this past Saturday. Oklahoma stepped up on the defensive end of the floor and were able to hold on through a late Texas rally after taking a 50-33 lead with 16 minutes left in the game. Oklahoma shot 48.3% from the field while holding Texas to just 41.0% from the field and 32.3% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Sooners was Christian James with 19 points.

On the season, Oklahoma is averaging 71 points per game on 44% shooting from the floor. The Sooners are averaging just under 7 three-pointers per game on 34% from beyond the arc. Defensively, Oklahoma is holding their opponents to an average of 67 points per game on 39% shooting from the field. The Sooners are pretty average on the glass and in the turnover department, as they’re basically dead-even on the season in rebounding and turnover margin.

The Sooners still sit solidly in the top 40 according to KenPom despite the conference season struggles. Their adjusted offensive rates just 74th in country, but they continue to be one of the nation’s best on defense, sitting at 19th in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Opponent Player To Watch

The Sooners are paced by Christian James, who leads the Sooners in scoring and rebounding with just over 15 points and just under 7 rebounds per game. Saturday against Texas, James was huge, scoring 19 points and pulling down 8 boards. The Cyclones have been struggling down low over the course of the last two weeks, so if they are going to have a shot in this one, James will have to be neutralized.

What Will Happen

This Iowa State team has become one giant coin flip, much to the dismay of the Iowa State faithful. Even more troubling is that games in Hilton are no longer a sure thing. This team is far too talented to stay in the funk they are currently in, but I think tonight is a great opportunity to pull themselves out of it.

First and foremost, the funk crushing starts with effort. They Cyclones need to bring a fire to the court, dive for loose balls, put a body on someone down low, and just flat out play with some heart and show everyone that they are who we thought they were all year long. After playing themselves out of contention for the regular season title, the Cyclones are now building their resume and preparing for March in the hopes of a deep tournament run, which this team is still plenty capable of doing when playing their best. Hopefully the lack of pressure to win the regular season title will allow them to refocus for the postseason.

In that light, give me the Cyclones at home. This is a total at-heart pick based on the fact that I believe the best times are still in front of this Cyclone team.

The Pick: Iowa State- 76 Oklahoma- 71

Pick Three

1- Cameron Lard scores 15 points

2- Tyrese Haliburton hits two threes

3- We become uncomfortable early in the second half, but Marial Shayok saves us.

Game Notes

The Matchup: No. 19 Iowa State (19-8, 8-6 Big 12) vs. Oklahoma (17-10, 5-9 Big 12)

Where: Ames, Iowa - Hilton Coliseum (14,384)

When: Monday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m. (CST)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)

TV: ESPN2 Talent: Kevin Connors (PxP), Chris Spatola (Analyst)

Webcast: WatchESPN

Sirius/XM/Internet: 134/200/954 (internet)

Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com