Before Iowa State (15-4, 3-4) faced Oklahoma (17-4, 6-2) three weeks ago, the Cyclones were on cloud nine. Undefeated at 14-0, the team was just a game away from taking on the hated Kansas Jayhawks.
Fast forward to now, and Iowa State has a 1-4 record since, and two losses against Bill Self’s squad. It all started going downhill with a loss against the Sooners, and the Cyclones would love to turn things around against them on Saturday.
(23)Oklahoma Sooners vs (16)Iowa State Cyclones
James H. Hilton Coliseum | Ames, Iowa
Date: Saturday, February 1, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM CT | TV: Big 12 Network (affiliate list)
Public enemy number one in Ames will be Ryan Spangler. His dominance hasn’t slowed down since a breakout performance against Iowa State with 16 points and 15 rebounds. He destroyed Oklahoma State with a career-high 17 rebounds, sparking an impressive Oklahoma victory.
The Sooners put up 88 points on the Cowboys, a shade over their 84 points per game (10th nationally). Unfortunately, they give up 76.9 points per game (315th nationally). Heading into the first meeting, Oklahoma gave up 85 or more points against five of the last six opponents. Since their win over Iowa State, they haven’t given up more than 76 points in a game.
[Also see: Why ISU's loss to Kansas isn't disappointing]
What to watch for
Spangler averages a double-double with 11.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. If Dustin Hogue can’t handle the matchup, expect Melvin Ejim to be much more aggressive this time around. His rebounding was key to preserve a win over Kansas State last Saturday.
Oklahoma starting guards Buddy Hield and Cameron Clark both lead the team with 16.5 points per game. Iowa State can tend to leave shooters wide open, and Hield was 6-of-12 from the perimeter while Clark struggled with his shooting in their last meeting.
One of the keys to Oklahoma’s success has been their defense. Since the previous meeting, the Sooners have held opponents to 43.1 percent or worse and they’ve also not shot well from the free throw line – the last four opponents were 52-of-83 combined.
[Also see: OU-ISU 3 players to watch]
Oklahoma has been red hot and are a legitimate contender in the Big 12 with Baylor and Iowa State continuing to fall off. But this is a chance for the Cyclones to get back on track with a struggling Oklahoma State coming up two days later and a conference slate filled with more teams in the bottom half of the league.
Iowa State knows how big of a game this is for them. If they want to stay in the mix of the Big 12’s greatest teams, they have to win this game. Lucky for them, Hilton Coliseum is on their side.
On paper, and with how both teams are trending, Oklahoma should be favored to win the game. However, Iowa State is 9-1 at home this season, and the Sooners haven’t been able to put any teams away on the road. In general, OU tends to play at their opponents’ level, resulting in big victories over teams like Oklahoma State but things were way too close against TCU and Texas Tech.
It will be a struggle inside, but if Iowa State can reverse the fortune of 3-point shooting from their last meeting, they’ll get the edge needed to win.
IAST 84, OKLA 81 (Odds: OKLA +8.5)