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The last time your Cyclones won a game in Stillwater, I was four-years old. A good chunk of the folks reading this weren’t even born yet.
Oklahoma State’s Gallagher-Iba Arena truly is Iowa State’s kryptonite. However during every trip to Stillwater during the Fred Hoiberg era, the Cyclones have been right there in the end, only to lose some heartbreakers along the way (Keiton BLEEPING Page anyone?).
“We’ve been in all of those games,” Melvin Ejim said on Saturday. “In my four years here, I think there have been three buzzer beaters that I have been a part of. We definitely owe them. We definitely are exited to go down there and try to get one.”
And depending on how you look at it, Iowa State might be starring at a pretty decent opportunity to knock off this Cowboy team that half of the league’s coaches picked to win the league back in October.
There are two ways to analyze tonight’s game (Oklahoma State is a six-point favorite if you’re into that sort of thing) that will tip at 8 o’clock and be televised on ESPN.
The majority of friends whom I took in the Super Bowl with last night view this game fairly pessimistically, and I can’t say that I blame them. After all, this is a trip to Stillwater that we’re all talking about. Their point is that after losing to Baylor (wait, what?) on Saturday, there is no way that a good team like Oklahoma State will drop two home games in a row, especially with the Big Monday lights shining bright. I get that. The logic makes a ton of sense and after all, that Marcus Smart guy is pretty good.
But ponder this scenario too. Based off of everything that I’ve been reading out of OSU for the last two days, the Cowboys are a fairly fractured basketball team. The fan base has lots its cool, that’s for sure. Do you really trust Travis Ford to pick up the pieces in just one day?
I don’t know the answer to that question but scenario one would be more relevant to me if this was Kansas (more importantly, Bill Self) that we were talking about here.
Listen, I still like Oklahoma State a lot. This clearly isn’t the potential one-seed that many thought it might be, but it’s still a damn good basketball team with an elite point guard that could be a tip five pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. He also has a hell of a supporting cast. For that reason alone, the whole ‘it’s Travis Ford’ argument has some major flaws within it.
But OSU has now lost three of four. The Baylor game was a dagger to that team and I fully anticipate a confident Iowa State squad to bring its best game to Stillwater tonight.
I don’t know who will win (although I picked Iowa State to win this game two weeks ago), but I do know that Hoiberg has never won a game in Stillwater as a player or coach. The Cyclones are due.
Kane’s big day: After going 2-for-8 from the field in Saturday’s win over Oklahoma, something tells me that Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane will be in prime form this evening. Why? Because with a strong outing vs. Marcus Smart, No. 50 has an opportunity to make himself some money in this one and potentially work his way onto NBA draft boards.
Of course, this scenario can work both ways. It can be a major positive due to the fact that Kane should be incredibly motivated. In a situation like Kane will see tonight, a guy can also press and try to do too much.
It’s important to note too that Smart went 3-for-14 from the field in the loss to Baylor. He’ll be jacked up for tonight too.
Regardless, this is a match-up that every fan of Big 12 basketball has had circled for a few months now.
Great tweet: This tweet by John Walters late last week made me chuckle: “As Johnny Orr might say, “Melvin’s the leading scorer in the nation’s best conference… just in case you want to put that in the paper.”
After this weekend, Melvin Ejim, who is now averaging 18.1 points per game, is still on pace to win the Big 12’s scoring title this season. The last Cyclone to do so was Marcus Fizer (1999, 2000).
Tonight: As we do during every weeknight Iowa State game, CycloneFanatic.com will host a game watch at the Keg Stand in West Des Moines this evening. Should be a hoot.
Also, follow @CycloneFanatic on Twitter for game updates all evening long.