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Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Oklahoma

The Cyclones head to Norman for their first road game in conference play.

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cyclones’ Last Time Out

Iowa State took down the Texas Tech Red Raiders at home 51-47 after another cold shooting night. While the 7-of-25 clip from distance is better than the 1-of-14 performance against Baylor, the Cyclones shot just 31% from the field during the game. The poor shooting and the 18 team turnovers lead to their 51-point scoring effort. However, the Cyclone defense was stout once again, holding Tech to 39% from the field and forcing 15 of their own turnovers. That said, Tech’s 6-of-15 performance at the free throw line was another big driving factor.

Sooners’ Last Time Out

Oklahoma fell to #1 Baylor 84-74 in Waco. Tanner Groves led Oklahoma in scoring at 13, but Ujioma Gibson, Jalen Hill, and Ethan Chargois also ended in double figures.

Player to Watch

Tanner Groves, a 6’10” senior, leads the team in offensive rating and defensive rebounding percentage on KenPom, but he’s far from just a post presence. Groves also shoots 40% from three while second on the team in attempts. He could be a matchup problem if George Conditt is forced to move away from the basket to guard him.

Pick Three

1 - Iowa State forces 18 or more turnovers

2 - Oklahoma shoots over 50% from the field

3 - Neither team breaks 60 points

What Will Happen

Porter Moser has maintained a quality Oklahoma basketball team after Lon Kruger’s departure, but they’re playing a different style now. Moser’s squad plays at a much slower tempo (very similar to Iowa State), and looks to use the shot clock to get good looks at the rim. The Sooners currently rank an impressive 2nd in the country in effective field goal percentage, per KenPom.

However, OU does have a significant Achilles’ heel that could lean heavily in Iowa State’s favor. As we’re aware, this Cyclone defense does a nice job locking up defensively and turning teams over. They currently sit at 7th in the country in defensive turnover percentage at 26.5%, while Oklahoma is on the opposite end of the spectrum in offensive turnover percentage, ranking 280th at 20.9%. In short Iowa State turns people over at high rate, and Oklahoma turns it over at a high rate.

When you combine that turnover element with the fact that Oklahoma’s 2nd-ranked offensive effective field goal percentage will be going up against Iowa State’s 9th-ranked defensive effective field goal percentage, the Cyclones look to have a couple key advantages.

That is, until the Cyclones have the ball. The offensive woes have been an ongoing struggle this season. And while there have been games, such as Baylor, where Iowa State has been able to score at the rim, the three-point shooting remains a significant issue. The Cyclones don’t need to make a ton of threes to win, but they need to shoot it better than they have the last few games. Oklahoma is very solid defensive team that will make scoring difficult.

In the end, Iowa State’s defense is just too perfect a counterpunch to the Sooner offense, and the Cyclone offense is able to do just enough to escape Norman with a win. If outside shots start going in for Iowa State, then they have a chance to win this by double digits.

Iowa State - 58

Oklahoma - 53