Oklahoma basketball: Sooner men tip off Big 12 schedule vs. Iowa State

Oklahoma men's basketball hosts Iowa State on Saturday to tip off the Sooners' final season in the Big 12 Conference.

BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY
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The 12th-ranked Sooners (12-1) and Cyclones (11-2) will play at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, beginning at 5 p.m. CT. The game will be available on ESPN+.

The two teams are longtime conference foes with Oklahoma owning a 122-93 record in the all-time series. The Sooners are 68-25 in the series in games played in Norman.

Oklahoma's 12-1 nonconference record is its best to open a season since the 2015-16 Final Four Sooner team that finished the season 29-7. It is also OU's best start under head coach Porter Moser, who is in his third Oklahoma season.

This year's Sooner team was picked to finish 12th out of 14 teams in the Preseason Big 12 Poll conducted by the league coaches. Iowa State, which finished tied for fifth in the Big 12 a year ago, was picked to finish 7th this season in the preseason poll.

The two teams split the two games last season with Oklahoma winning on the road at Iowa State 61-50 and the Cyclones defeating the Sooners 63-60 in Norman.

Oklahoma ranks fourth in the Big 12 in scoring (82.5) scoring defense (63.2) and field goal percentage (50.1), eighth in the three-point percentage (35.5), fifth in rebounding margin (+8.8) and 10th in turnover margin (+1.08).

By comparison, the Sooners will be facing an Iowa State team that ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring (86.2), second in scoring defense (59.1), third in field goal percentage (51.1), third in three-point percentage (37.8), eighth in rebounding margin (+6.9) and second in turnover margin (+8.8). Notably, Iowa State leads the Big 12, averaging 12 steals per game.

What this tell us is that the Cyclones are a well-rounded team that can score the ball and creates offense from its defense. A key factor in this game could be OU's ball security on the offensive end going against the ball thievery skills of Iowa State on defense.

Notable numbers

  • Iowa State is 41-9 under head coach T.J. Otzelberger when leading at the half but just 8-20 when trailing at intermission.
  • The Cyclones are 42-5 under Otzelberger when they shoot a higher field goal percentage than their opponent.
  • Oklahoma is 30-13 at home in the Porter Moser era.

Key players for both teams

Oklahoma

Otega Oweh: 15.5 ppg, 64.7 shooting %, 72.2 3-pt %, 4.0 rpg, 2.1 steals per game.

Javian McCollum: 14.7 ppg, 45.8 shooting %, 90.9 free-throw %,

Jalon Moore: 9.7 ppg, 56.8 shooting %, 42.9 3-pt %, 5.3 rpg.

John Hugely IV: 9.5 ppg, 58.3 shooting %, 5.0 rpg

Iowa State

Iowa State has four players averaging double digits in scoring and six averaging at least nine points per game.

Tamin Lipsey: 15.3 ppg, 49.7 shooting %, 42.9 3-pt %, 5.9 rpg, 3.6 steals per game.

Keshon Gilbert: 14.4 ppg, 47.2 shooting percentage, 4.7 rpg.

Milon Momcilovic: 13.6 ppg, 50.4 shooting %, 44.4 3-pt %, 90.0 free-throw %, 3.5 rpg.

Tre King: 10.6 ppg, 59.3 shooting %, 5.5 rpg.

Prediction

If you look at the two teams statistically, it would appear that Iowa State should be favored. That might be true if the game were being played at Iowa State. Las Vegas handicappers have the Sooners as a 2.5-point favorite and they are playing at home, where OU is 9-0 this season. Oklahoma wins a close one to extend its win total to 13.