Feb 4, 2019; Norman, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Marial Shayok (3) shoots the ball over Oklahoma Sooners guard Jamal Bieniemy (24) during the second half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Hilton Coliseum
KenPom Prediction: 76-68, Iowa State
1 – Make or Miss
I know it will seem like an oversimplification, but whether or not this Iowa State men’s basketball team makes or misses shots does really seem to be what all of it boils down to anymore. In the win over Kansas State a week and a half ago, the Cyclones shot 52.7 percent from the floor, including a 14-of-24 performance from behind the 3-point line.
In the loss to TCU on Saturday, the Cyclones were 44.9 percent from the field with an abysmal 2-of-20 performance from deep. Obviously, there are more factors at play such as rebounding, on-ball defense, etc., but everything with this Iowa State team truly boils down to how well they are shooting the basketball on a particular day.
2 – James Gang
The Sooners go as leading-scorer Christian James goes. When the senior from Houston is at his best, Oklahoma has a chance to win every game. When he’s at his worst, they generally do not have a chance to win.
He takes 26 percent of the team’s shots, is used on 24.4 percent of the team’s possessions and plays 82.3 percent of the team’s minutes, according to KenPom. In Oklahoma’s win over Texas on Saturday, the good Christian James showed up as he scored 19 points and knocked down four 3-pointers.
3 – Not Your Father’s Sooner Hoops
We mentioned it before Iowa State’s first game against the Sooners — a 75-74 win in Norman — but this year’s Oklahoma team isn’t like some of the others Lon Kruger has coached. They are no longer built off the explosive offense that marked the Buddy Hield era in Norman and now play stingy defense to the tune of No. 19 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Iowa State has faced plenty of tests of late and this one will be no different. Will the shots fall against another good defense? That will be the biggest deciding factor to whether or not Iowa State’s losing streak extends to three.