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

Trip to Stillwater always proves to be a tough one

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

Last Time Out

Needless to say, this game was maybe the single most anticipated game of the entire schedule for a number of reasons.

The start of the game was owned by Texas, led by Tyrese “Benedict Arnold” Hunter hitting a couple of threes and free throws to lead the Longhorns to a ten-point lead halfway through the opening period. The Cyclones seemed to be preoccupied with trying to slow down Hunter, and gave up some easy buckets down low.

However, as always, these Cyclones refused to roll over, and fought their way back via the efforts of Jaren Holmes and a couple of threes from Gabe Kalscheur and Caleb Grill. For the remainder of the half, Iowa State used stifling defense and some timely buckets to crawl all the way back and take a 36-35 lead into halftime.

The start to the second half saw a continuation of the Cyclones solid play, flirting with a double-digit lead just a few minutes into the half, but Texas climbed back through some lackluster offensive possessions for Iowa State and some soft foul calls in the Horns’ favor.

Then the Cyclones came alive.

The defense came out for blood, forcing turnovers, bad shots, and shot clock violations like they were going out of style. Then, Caleb Grill delivered maybe the coldest piece of trash talk in history.

Guy canned a three to give Iowa State a nine-point lead and immediately turned around and told to Texas to call a timeout. Elite.

The rest of the way, Jaren Holmes and Caleb Grill kept making bucket after bucket, powering the Cyclones to a 78-67 that had to have been absolutely miserable for Texas fans for the last half hour or so. And, since you asked, Tyrese Hunter never scored again after making his free throws with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half.

Jaren Holmes led Iowa State in scoring with 21, while Caleb Grill and Gabe Kalschuer trailed closely behind with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Osun Osunniyi had himself another good game, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor.

About Oklahoma State

The Cowboys currently sit in 8th in the Big 12 with a 2-4 conference record that is a tad bit deceiving considering how well they have played in games up till now. Oklahoma State’s two Big 12 wins have come at home against Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Currently, the Cowboys are the 34th-ranked team in the country according to KenPom. So much for an off day in the Big 12! The Cowboys bring the 141st-ranked offense in the country but they back it with the 8th-ranked defense. Similar fashion to Iowa State last season. This certainly is setting up to be a defensive slugfest this afternoon in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State turns the ball over at a very high rate and they shoot the ball well below the average in the country. One thing they do good offensively is getting to the offensive glass more than average. It gives them extra possessions and another crack offensively when they have struggled this season. The Cowboys are averaging around 68 points a game as a team which is 299th in the country.

Opponent Player to Watch

Iowa State will have to slow down Bryce Thompson. While the Cowboys don’t wow you offensively, Thompson is coming off one of his best games of the season against Oklahoma. The junior guard put up 19 points on 58% shooting from the field. He also managed to pull down 9 rebounds on the afternoon. If Iowa State can limit Thompson and make life tougher offensively for the Cowboys, they may manage to steal another game on the road.

Pick 3.

  1. Bob Jones chills out and has a solid game. Don’t let Bob get hot.
  2. Gabe Hits 5 threes. Caleb hits 0
  3. Osun leads the team in scoring with 18 points

What Will Happen

Vegas has put this game as a toss-up and KenPom basically sits there as well predicting Oklahoma State to come away with a one-point victory. Iowa State has proven they can play with anyone in the country to date and may have cemented itself as one of the top teams in the Big 12. That said if they want to continue to be recognized as one of those teams. In these toss-up games against the “lower” end of the Big 12 they have to find ways to win.

Oklahoma State struggles to score the ball and Iowa State has started to rise up the offensive rankings since the Big 12 slate started. Though this appears it is going to be a defensive slugfest in Stillwater. I am feeling good enough on this Saturday morning to believe Iowa State can squeak one out here. Doesn’t have to be pretty just get the win.

Iowa State - 67

Oklahoma State - 65