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Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Oklahoma

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The Cyclones head down to Norman for another road test

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

After a slug fest inside Hilton on Saturday, the Cyclones are back on the road to take on Oklahoma. With each game, the pressure will grow as Iowa State looks to chase down a possible Big 12 regular season title.

Last Time Out

Iowa State needed big baskets from Nick Weiler-Babb and Marial Shayok to hold off Texas, 65-60, Saturday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones held the Longhorns to just 39.3 percent shooting, its third-straight game holding an opponent to less than 42 percent shooting.

ISU was led by Horton-Tucker’s 15 points, Marial Shayok scored just 12 points on one of his worst shooting performances as a Cyclone (3-14 from the field), but his jumper with 23 seconds left gave the Cyclones breathing room. Nick Weiler-Babb had 11 points, including a jumper off the glass with a minute left that put the Cyclones up by three late. Cameron Lard also added in 11 points of his own.

About Oklahoma

The Sooners come into this one in desperation mode after losing five of their last eight games. Oklahoma is averaging 72 points on 44.5 percent shooting while allowing 67.6 points on 39.6 percent shooting, including 33.6 percent from beyond the arc and 68.2 percent from the free throw line. The Sooner offense is the 82nd adjusted offense in the entire country according to KenPom.

On the defensive side of the ball, Oklahoma is allowing 33 percent shooting from deep and allowing 67.6 points per game, which ranks 83rd in the country. However, the metrics are much friendlier, as they sit at 17th in the country (4th in the conference) in adjusted defensive efficiency at 92.7 points per 100 possessions. In the end this team looks a lot like us on defense, and a lot like West Virginia on offense from an efficiency standpoint over the course of the entire season.

However, if you only look at conference play, OU has been just the 9th best offense and 7th best defense in the conference. Iowa State’s efficiency margin (the difference between offensive and defensive efficiency) in conference play is +10.2 pts/100 possessions, while Oklahoma’s sits a -7.7 pts/100 possessions. Essentially, the Cyclones would do well to speed this game up as much as possible to create lots of extra possessions (provided they can retain a proportional advantage in efficiency margin).

Opponent Player To Watch

Iowa State will have to lock down senior guard Christian James. James was a supplemental piece last year to Trae Young, but has flourished as the primary scoring option this season. The senior is averaging 16 points/game this season, shooting 31% from deep and 41% from the floor. James hasn’t played particularly well over the last two games, but can go for 20+ on any given night. If James does indeed have a great game, Iowa State could be in for a long night.

What Will Happen

I expect this to be just like any other Iowa State road game; close until the end. Oklahoma is going to come out and be a tough out, especially since they are needing a big time win to keep their season trending in the right direction. Plus, we all know how Iowa State likes to sometimes play on the road.

Hands down, Iowa State is the more talented team, and they can’t afford to drop this one if they want to stay on pace for a Big 12 title run. I see this one coming down to the wire and someone on Iowa State will have to make some big time plays again, much like Saturday afternoon. Give me the Cyclones by one.

The Pick: Iowa State-72 Oklahoma-71

Pick Three

1-Lindell Wigginton and Marial Shayok recover from Saturday’s hangover

2-Iowa State is outrebounded...again

3-Tyrese scores 10 for the first time in awhile

Game Notes

The Matchup: No. 20 Iowa State (17-5, 6-3 Big 12) vs. Oklahoma (15-7, 3-6 Big 12)

Where: Norman, Okla. - Lloyd Noble Center (11,562)

When: Monday, Feb. 4, 8 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: 84*/383/974 (internet) *OU Broadcast

Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com