The road hasn't been especially good to Oklahoma's men's basketball team this season. The Sooners are 0-8 away from Lloyd Noble this season but there's a chance of seeing that change tonight when they take on Iowa State in Ames.
|Oklahoma Off vs Iowa St. Def|
67.1 Points For
65.0 Points Against
|Iowa St. Off vs Oklahoma Def|
76.3 Points For
66.2 Points Against
The Cyclones began the season by going 13-2 but have struggled since conference play began. They currently sit in last place in the Big 12 Conference at 1-5 and are coming off a home loss to Texas Tech last Wednesday night which was their third loss in a row. Meanwhile the Sooners are looking for their third win in a row and are hoping to get their first road victory of the season.
The keys, once again, for the Sooners is going to be perimeter defense, rebounding and not allowing the Cylones to get to the charity stripe. Iowa State is a bad shooting team and when they struggle from three-point range it really throws their offense off, much like Oklahoma. The Sooners must make Iowa State work for shots and not allow any open looks from beyond the arch. Against Texas Tech last week the Cyclones made only 4 of 21 three point shots. For the season they're hitting 34% from three-point range (9th in the Big 12) but they're also shooting 40% from the floor which is last in the conference.
Scott Christopherson is the third best three-point shooter in the Big 12 and when he's on this is a totally different Iowa State basketball team. Senior point guard Diante Garrett is the leading scorer for the Cyclones and has scored 25 plus points three times in conference play. He's averaging 17.8 points per game for the season.
Iowa State excels at rebounding. The Sooners are last in the conference in rebounding and Iowa State is third. This is a big mismatch for Oklahoma and one that they must not let the Cyclones exploit. Hustle and technique can lead to second chance points for OU or a lack of it could be a game changer in favor of the Cyclones.
Things haven't come easy for Oklahoma on the road this season and they won't again tonight either. However, this Cyclone team may be OU's best chance to gain a road win. The Cyclones are giving up 79.8 points a game in the Big 12 (11th in the conference) and opponents are shooting 45% from the floor against them. This is a winnable game for Oklahoma and here's why. Confidence! OU has built confidence over the last week and the Cyclones are losing it. Keep in mind that almost a month ago we were thinking that the Sooners wouldn't win a Big 12 Conference game at all. We were also thinking at that time that the Cyclones were a lock for the NCAA Tournament. My what a big difference a month makes! That also makes a huge difference in the two teams psyche and it will make a difference on the floor tonight as well.
What Oklahoma must not do it put Iowa State at the free throw line. The Cyclones are shooting a conference best 84% from the free throw line. You're just giving points away when you put these guys at the charity stripe.