Coming off a huge home win over 14th-ranked West Virginia, Oklahoma basketball is seeking to make it two in a row with another home victory Wednesday against the visiting Iowa State Cyclones.
A win at the Lloyd Noble Center on Wednesday would mark the first time since early January when the Sooners defeated Kansas State and Texas in back-to-back games to open up the Big 12 season 2-0.
Iowa State comes to Norman with a 10-13 season record and is 3-7 against Big 12 opponents. One of the Cyclones’ three conference wins was against Oklahoma, an 81-68 victory in Ames in early January. That was one of three conference games (out of 10) in which the Sooners’ Big Three of Brady Manek, Kristian Doolittle and Austin Reaves all scored in double figures, but it still wasn’t enough. Manek led Oklahoma in that game with 17 points.
Oklahoma leads the all-time series with Iowa State 116-91. That advantage improves dramatically in the games played in Norman, where the Sooners have prevailed 65 times to 24 by the Cyclones. Iowa State, however, has won six of the last seven games between the two teams, including two of the last three played at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Both teams are coming of home weekend wins. Iowa State defeated Kansas State by 10 points, and OU picked up the big win against West Virginia.
The game will be broadcast on ESPN2, beginning at 8 p.m. CT
What to watch for from Iowa State
Iowa State will be without its second leading scorer, Tyrese Haliburton, who will out the rest of the season after breaking his wrist in the win over Kansas State. Haliburton was averaging 15.0 points per game. In three games against the Sooners, he has averaged 11.3 points, including 8 of 16 from three-point range.
The Cyclones still have sophomore shooting guard Rasir Bolton, who is averaging 15.5 a game, fifth best in the Big 12, and will take over the point guard duties directing the Cyclones’ offense. Over the last five games, Bolton has averaged 17.4 points a game.
No other Iowa State players average in double figures, although two other starters (Solomon Young and Prentiss Nixon) score at least eight points a game.
The Cyclones are the second-best offensive team in the Big 12, averaging 74.3 points a game. The problem is, they also are last on the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents 71.4 points a contest. That’s just two points worse than Oklahoma, which is giving up 68.0 points a game.
Iowa State is the second best free throw-shooting team in the conference behind OU. In their last game, the Cyclones made 19 of 20 from the charity stripe. The good news here for Sooner fans is Oklahoma commits the fewest personal fouls in the conference.
What Oklahoma has to do to win
Playing at home has been a huge advantage for Oklahoma this season. The Sooners are 9-1 playing at Lloyd Noble Center and have won 13 of their last 14 games playing at home.
In the last three homes game, OU has averaged 78 points and game with a shooting percentage right at 50 percent.
The Oklahoma offense run through the Big Three (Manek, Doolittle and Reaves), all averaging better than 14 points a game. And lately, true freshman De’Vion Harmon and junior-college transfer Alondes Williams have picked up the scoring void when one or two of the Big Three have experienced an off game.
Several important stats to keep in mind for the second meeting this season between the Sooners and the Cyclones:
- Oklahoma is 13-1 when its shoots a higher field-goal percentage than its opponent.
- The Sooners are 9-1 when they outrebound their opponent, and are 14-5 when they hold their opponent under 80 points.
- OU commits only 13.2 fouls per game, the second fewest in the country. That means opponents don’t get that many trips to the foul line.
- Iowa State is 0-7 on the road this season.
OU is nearly a 10-point favorite in this game. That may seem high, but with the Cyclones’ second leading scorer out of action — and with how well the Sooners are playing at home this season coupled with ISU’s winless record on the road — I believe they will cover and pick up win number 16 on the season and another important conference win.
Oklahoma 78, Iowa State 67.