College Basketball Preview: Iowa State Cyclones vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Brian SpaenContributor IIJanuary 19, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Diante Garrett #10 of the Iowa State Cyclones moves the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the first round game of the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 10, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Iowa State Cyclones (14-4, 1-2 Big 12) @ Oklahoma State Cowboys (13-4, 1-2 Big 12)
Date: Wednesday, Jan 19, 2011
Time: 8pm CT
Line: OSU (-5)
O/U: 134.5

Players to Watch:

G (10) Diante Garrett (17.6 ppg, 6.1 apg)
G (5) Darion ‘Jake’ Anderson (8 rpg)

F (33) Marshall Moses (57.4% fg, 8.1 rpg)
F (31) Matthew Pilgrim (10 blk)

Iowa State is coming off of an impressive win against Baylor at home last Saturday. The most impressive part of the victory is the Cyclones pulling away at the end and holding the Bears to only 57 total points. The win may have been devalued by Kansas throttling them, but giving Nebraska a chance in Allen Fieldhouse makes the Cyclones look better in the close loss to Nebraska in the previous Saturday.

It’s really hard to judge exactly where the teams are at, but this is such a huge week for the Big 12 that we should be able to get some answers or at least indicators of what to expect for the rest of the season.

For ISU, it’s time to take the show on the road. This team struggles defensively on the road. The offense looks a bit shaky too and until their game at Nebraska, low-scoring. Sitting at 2-2 overall, this will be a big week to see if their key players can bring it.

Diante Garrett will be the obvious player to watch unless he is out with the flu, but what this team matches up well with is three-point shooting. Cyclone guard Scott Christopherson is shooting 50% from the arc (54/108) this season, and the team is 31st in the nation at 39 percent. Teams that face the Cowboys usually put up about 33 percent. Some teams such as the Kansas State Wildcats put them up early but were unable to continue doing so throughout the game.

Oklahoma State didn’t play well against Colorado, and right now it's very hard to figure out where they are at. The stats are very poor in a lot of categories except defensive field goal percentage, but the Cyclones also play that well and at the three-point line. The Cowboys are a bit deeper and haven’t been hit by ineligibility like the Cyclones have gotten last month. However, outside of Marshall Moses and recent star JP Olukemi, this team doesn’t have much.

The biggest match-up to watch is when the Cowboys’ offense clashes with the Cyclones’ defense. The Cowboys will try to pound it inside as they don’t shoot the three-point shot well, and Moses will be a tough matchup for the Cyclones to defend along with Olukemi. Cyclones guard Darion Anderson and forward Melvin Ejim will really be the X-factors in this game and not let them score inside. If they can clean up the defensive boards and get some steals, this will help out the Cyclones tremendously, especially if Garrett is out.

For the Cowboys, they really have to get the Colorado game out of their head and think about Kansas State. They need to be clutch on the perimeter to not let the Cyclones shoot a lot of three-point shots like they did against the Wildcats. They also have a deeper bench to rest their star players more, if needed, and they have a slight edge on free throw shooting. Life hasn’t been fun on the road for the Cyclones, and they will need to make their three-point shots. If Garrett has to sit out, then life could be even worse.

Prediction: Oklahoma State wins, but take the points if betting.