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MBB | Two Of The Big XII's Best Collide As The Oklahoma Sooners Host The Iowa State Cyclones

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Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

After a week off the Oklahoma Sooners return home to open the conference slate as one of three remaining undefeated D-I teams. With a tough opening draw, Buddy Hield and the No. 3 ranked Sooners play host to Georges Niang and the No. 11 Iowa State Cyclones. Under the direction of first year head coach, Steve Prohm, the Cyclones look to score their first win over a top five opponent this season.

Tip: Saturday, January 2nd | 6:00 PM CST
Location: Norman, Oklahoma | Lloyd Noble Center
TV: ESPN

Niang ranks second in the conference in scoring behind Hield with 18.8 points per outing as the two go head-to-head making an early case for conference player of the year. Behind Niang, the Cyclones have a slew of players who can score to the tune of 50.9% shooting from the field on the year. There's no doubt that Jameel McKay sets the tone physically and energetically but it'll be Monte Morris facilitating play. Dishing out a conference leading 7.9 assists each night, Morris continues to cement himself on this roster as a vital piece of the puzzle.

Defensively, the Cyclones struggle to shut down perimeter shooters, a strength of the Sooners. Ranking dead last in perimeter defense in the Big XII, Coach Prohm must find a way to slow down the shooters of Oklahoma who currently hit 46.2% of their shots from beyond the arc. In the final contest before starting conference play against Coppin State, the Cyclones surrendered a season high 17 three pointers. If ISU gives up a similar number to the Sooners, the chances of winning significantly decrease.

Oklahoma fans should look for Ryan Spangler to spread the floor as a stretch four to exploit the weakness. However, OU will also use transition opportunities to build a lead. This match-up appears headed toward a high scoring affair as both teams push the pace. Ranking No. 1 and No. 2 in scoring offense in the conference, whoever plays better defense should come out ahead this go around.