Iowa State Cyclones vs. Oklahoma Sooners Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 28th 2024

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Iowa State’s start to the Big 12 schedule was shaky.

The Cyclones began with a loss at Oklahoma, falling 71-63 on Jan. 6.

Iowa State has regained its footing since, entering the final two weeks of the regular season in contention for the Big 12 title. They’ll hope to show off that growth Wednesday night when they take on Oklahoma again, this time in Ames, Iowa.

With four games remaining before the Big 12 tournament, the No. 8 Cyclones (21-6, 10-4) are just behind No. 1-ranked Houston for the conference lead.

Iowa State has done it with defense, allowing an average of just 66.5 points per game in conference play and forcing a league-best 16.6 turnovers per game.

“We hang our hat on our defensive identity,” Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger said.

Iowa State offers a unique defensive challenge schematically.

“Every time you drive into the paint, they’re flooding everybody,” Oklahoma guard Milos Uzan said of the Cyclones.

That’s how the Cyclones operate.

“When it’s time to get stops, and when it’s time to separate, they’re able to focus and dig in,” Otzelberger said. “Speaks volumes for our guys.”

Iowa State’s Tamin Lipsey has been a strong contributor toward the Cyclones’ success. Against West Virginia on Saturday — a 71-64 home win for the Cyclones — Lipsey was 4-of-9 from the field and 2-of-2 from 3-point range and scored a team-high 14 points. His two steals increased his season total to 73, placing him in a tie for third place for the single-season record in school history.

“It’s a long season,” Lipsey said. “Especially when you’re in the Big 12. Every game is going to be a fight, no matter what the other team’s record is. We know that.”

The Cyclones are 16-0 at home this season. Iowa State will wrap up its home schedule March 6 against BYU.

The Sooners (19-8, 7-7) are coming off an 84-82 overtime win at Oklahoma State on Saturday.

They were without John Hugley IV, who is recovering from knee surgery, but they were boosted by the return of Rivaldo Soares from an ankle injury.

While Soares scored just five points in Oklahoma’s win over Iowa State earlier in the season, he’s come on strong lately.

Soares is averaging 13.9 points and is shooting 68.1 percent from the floor and 61.1 percent from beyond the arc over his past seven games.

The Sooners figure to need Soares to continue to perform during this stretch, where they’ll play back-to-back games against top-10 teams. The Sooners will host Houston on Saturday.

The leading scorer for Oklahoma is Javian McCollum, a guard averaging 14 points per game. He hit the game winner against Oklahoma State, a three-pointer as time expired.

“Javian made a great shot,” Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said. “He’s an elite free-throw shooter; he’s our best shot-maker. You know, in practices and all year, he has that ability to make tough shots, and I mean, that was a very tough shot. It was a great play by Javian to cap off an amazing game.”

–Field Level Media

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