Iowa State hits the court following a win over Kansas State last weekend and nothing bad happened. Why who’s asking?
Last Time Out
In all seriousness, the loss of Tyrese Haliburton looms large over the win and the rest of the season. A silver lining was the strong play of the healthy Cyclones. Solomon Young hit 20 points for the 2nd time in conference play. Terrance Lewis was 4-5 off the bench for 12 points and Prentiss Nixon found his shot for a moment, scoring 7 straight points in the 2nd half to help put the game away. Iowa State jumped out to a huge lead, and while Kansas State clawed back into the game, even without Haliburton, the outcome was never in serious doubt.
Lon Kruger’s squad is currently floating just above the NCAA Tournament cutline, and picked up their biggest win of the season over West Virginia on Saturday. They’ve been all over the place since a visit to Ames in January, alternating wins and losses for 8 straight games. The most consistent thing about the Sooners has been the ability to protect their home court. Kansas is the only team to pick up a win at the Lloyd Noble Center this season. They’re pretty efficient, ranking in the top 65 of offense and defense, per Kenpom. They only average 12 assists per game as a team, so a lot of their offense will come from isolation.
Players To Watch
The Sooners have 2 guys do a majority of the offensive work, and their scoring doesn’t really come from anywhere else. Brady Manek’s Larry Bird cosplay is working to the tune of 16 points and 6 rebounds per game while shooting 41% from 3. He had 17 points in the matchup at Hilton Coliseum, but only had 7 field goal attempts. I’d expect him to look for his shot early and often. Kristian Doolittle is the 2nd leading scorer. He had 27 points in the win over West Virginia. That game was his first with over 10 points in a month. If he’s found his shot again, he’ll be their best play in terms of pure talent.
What Will Happen
We don’t have any idea what to expect without Tyrese Haliburton in the lineup. He’s been the heart and soul of the team all season. I expect the team to play hard in his absence, but running a cohesive offense without a point guard will take some time to sort out. In Ames, Iowa State hit 12 3s and were +10 rebounding, but things are different in Norman. Oklahoma’s defense is good enough to keep the score low and pull out the win. They can’t afford to lose this game with the NCAA tournament in reach.
Oklahoma - 70
Iowa State - 57
1- Rasir Bolton leads the way with 20+ points and 20+ field goal attempts.
2- Solomon Young has a double-double.
3- Tre Jackson plays 40 minutes.
The Matchup: Iowa State (10-13, 3-7 Big 12) at Oklahoma (15-8, 5-5 Big 12)
Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, OK (Capacity: 11,562)
When: Wednesday, Feb 12th - 8:00pm CST
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network/TuneIn Radio Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Analyst)
The Line: Oklahoma -10, O/U 144.5
Live Stats: Cyclonestats.com