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Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Baylor Again

The regular season finale in Waco should be a doozy

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

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Cyclones’ Last Time Out

Iowa State got absolutely throttled at home by Oklahoma State, falling by a final score of 53-36. The Cyclones trailed by two at the break, but struggled to score in the second half, especially in the last 13 minuts.

Izaiah Brockington led the Cyclones in scoring once again with 13 points on a paltry 5/17 shooting effort. Tyrese Hunter put in 12 points but struggled from the floor as well. No one else had more than 4 points on the night.

Baylor’s Last Time Out

The Bears won a crucial matchup with the Texas Longhorns in Austin by a final score of 68-61. Texas led at the break, but Baylor came roaring back, guided by James Akinjo’s 19 points. Adam Flagler also put in 19 for the Bears, who had an excellent shooting night overall.

Player To Watch

Who isn’t there to watch on Baylor’s squad? James Akinjo has become an NBA darling, Flo Thamba is a versatile forward on the inside, and Adam Flagler is an excellent three-point shooter.

James Akinjo is probably the main player to watch, however. The 6’1” senior guard is dynamic and makes all the right plays for this dangerous Bears squad.

Pick 3

1 – Brockington is the leading scorer with a 20+ point performance

2 – Bobby Jones scores 8 points and gets 5 rebounds

3 - Iowa State records 10 fouls in the first 8 minutes of the first half

What Will Happen

An early January matchup between these two teams was a banger, with Baylor taking a 77-72 victory in Hilton Coliseum. Baylor led at break, but Iowa State put together a great second half to make the game close at the end. Iowa State had a chance to make it a 1 possession game with two minutes left but could not convert.

The Cyclones had looked much better of late, rattling off four straight wins to put them squarely in the NCAA tournament regardless of how the season ends. It does seem, however, that the effort to win those four games in a showed in their disappointing home loss to Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

Stagnant offense, coupled with turnovers, returned to plague the Cyclones on Wednesday, which was the recipe for the losses they have experienced at home all season. When Iowa State plays well, as they often have on the road, they have been more deliberate with the ball, and have made big shots when they needed to. If they can continue to capture road magic, it is possible that they stand a chance against juggernaut Baylor.

However, Iowa State will likely face a Baylor team motivated by a chance to win the Big 12 regular season title, despite being banged up and short on players. My prediction is that Iowa Stat rebounds and plays well enough to keep the score close, something that would certainly help their metrics.

Baylor - 70

Iowa State - 62