The Oklahoma Sooners will take to road against a tough Iowa St. Cyclones team. After losing star Royce White, the 16th overall pick in the draft suffering from an anxiety disorder that forces him to sit at home while his Houston Rockets travel, Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has him team back on track for an NCAA berth.
Home court has come to the forefront for all teams in the Big 12 as must win games. This season alone, the Cyclones are a perfect 12-0 at home while winning conference home games by an average margin of 9 points. Sitting at 15-6 overall and 5-3 in conference, what makes this Iowa St. team do tough?
Let's start with freshman sensation, forward Georges Niang. This season has affectionately been dubbed as "The Year of the Freshmen" in the Big 12 with the likes of Niang, Ben McLemore, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Austin, and Buddy Hield. However, it is Niang that is leading the league in shooting percentage at 53.5% while contributing 11.6 points per game to go along side 5 rebounds.
Iowa St. remains one of the nations best rebounding squads at a clip of 40.4 per contest to rank them #14 nationally. The biggest factor in the rebounding margin will be none other than league leader, Melvin Ejim who averages 9.4 rebounds per game. While his biggest contribution will be on the offensive and defensive glass, Ejim needs to be accounted for in the scoring output as well with his 10.1 points.
Leading this Cyclones squad will be Will Clyburn, a senior guard coming off a 28-point performance. Clyburn nets 15.5 points per game and 7.6 rebounds. Needless to say, rebounded is a fundamental at every position that Coach Hoiberg preaches and it has stuck with his team.
Rounding out this Iowa St. attack is Tyrus McGee, a senior reserve who will stretch the floor with his ability to shoot from beyond the arc. McGee is jacking up nearly six 3-pointers per contest and connects on 44.4% of those attempts. This sharpshooter is currently the second leading scorer for the Cyclones at 12.3 points per game.
These four player are a major reason why Iowa St. ranks 12th in the nation in scoring at 78.5 points per game. If Oklahoma finds themselves in a slump like they did against the Kansas St. Wildcats, this game will get out of hand in a hurry. Tip off is at 6:00 PM CST on ESPNU and will be crucial in decided the third place team in conference.