IOWA STATE CYCLONES (16-4)
at OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (16-5)
Gallagher-Iba Arena - Stillwater, OK
Tip-off: Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma State -7, Total: 157
No. 19 Oklahoma State looks to get its season back on track as it plays host to No. 16 Iowa State on Monday night in Stillwater.
The Cyclones (8-9-1 ATS overall, 2-6 ATS in Big 12 play) are coming off an 81-75 home victory over Oklahoma on Saturday in which their starting frontcourt dominated the game. PF Melvin Ejim had 22 points and 16 boards, while SF Georges Niang poured in a team-high 27 points in 27 minutes before fouling out. This duo should have a huge advantage against an Oklahoma State team that lacks true size in the paint and has been outrebounded seven times in eight games since Jan. 1. The ability to score has the Cyclones in every game, but they will have to play better on the defensive end to win in Stillwater against a desperate Cowboys team. Oklahoma State (8-9 ATS overall, 3-5 ATS in Big 12 play) enters Monday with a 1-3 record (SU and ATS) in its previous four games, including a 76-70 home loss to 11-point underdog Baylor on Saturday. The short bench of the Cowboys could take a hit as freshman PG Stevie Clark (5.3 PPG, 2.7 APG) was arrested early Sunday morning for the second time in a month, and was kicked off the team. These schools split their two meetings last season, with both teams prevailing at home. The Cowboys were able to escape with a 78-76 victory at home thanks to PG Marcus Smart scoring 21 points and hitting the game-winning shot with 3.1 seconds left in the game. That was part of his team's 14-5 SU (9-10 ATS) advantage in this series since 2001, but Iowa State returned the favor five weeks later with an 87-76 home win, giving it three straight ATS wins over the Cowboys.
Which high-powered offense will pick up the crucial win on Monday night? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 60% ATS (188-127-5) mark, including a stellar 63% ATS (156-93-3) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 65% ATS (41-22-2) in Best Bets for the season and 69% ATS (34-15-1) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 62% ATS (39-24-1) for the season and 71% ATS (22-9) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Scott is a hefty 59% ATS (38-26-1) for the season and 62% ATS (28-17-1) since Dec. 2. StatFox Zach is a strong 58% ATS (36-26-2) on Best Bets this season, including 61% ATS (30-19-1) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Gary is 54% ATS (34-29-2) for the season, and 58% ATS (28-20) since Nov. 29.
Iowa State (2-3 ATS on road) does a great job of sharing the ball to find the open man on offense, ranking second in the country in assists (18.2 APG), sixth in scoring (84.5 PPG) and 35th in shooting (47.6% FG). This is also a strong rebounding team at 38.8 RPG (32nd in Div. I). Although the Cyclones allow 71.9 PPG (225th in nation), they don't give up many easy shots, holding opponents to 40.7% FG and 32.5% threes. This is a very deep team with many key pieces to their success. Senior PF Melvin Ejim (18.1 PPG, 51% FG, 7.8 RPG) has the ability to make plays all over the court, and can guard both big men and ball-handlers. Ejim has averaged 19.3 PPG and 10.8 RPG over his past four games, including 22 points and 16 boards in Saturday's win. But the engine to this offense is PG DeAndre Kane (16.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 5.8 APG) who has a great physique for a point guard (6-foot-4, 200 pounds), and takes advantage of his size in many different ways. If he has a smaller point guard on him, he has the ability to take him in the post and dominate. His 2.0 Ast/TO ratio for the season is nothing special, but he has done a much better job taking care of the basketball in his past three games with 17 assists and just five turnovers. Iowa State has two other terrific scorers in SF Georges Niang (16.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.7 APG) and PF Dustin Hogue (11.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG). Hogue is the junkyard dog of the team, doing everything necessary to get the victory, but he has just 4.5 PPG and 5.0 RPG in the past two games. He'll need to be more aggressive on Monday because for the Cyclones, the battle on the boards will be very important. If they are able to dominate the glass, they will have a great chance to win the game. However, if the Cowboys are able to get out in transition, it could be a long night for Iowa State.
Oklahoma State (5-2 ATS at home) is propelled by a backcourt as talented as anybody in the country, and has the ability to score with any team. The Cowboys rank 12th in the nation in offense (83.2 PPG), making 47.6% FG (33rd in Div. I) and 37.0% threes. They also work hard on defense, allowing 67.5 PPG (100th in nation) with 5.5 BPG (28th in Div. I) and 8.0 SPG (33rd in nation). OSU ranks 87th in the country in rebounding (37.0 RPG), and may not have enough size to match up against the Cyclones. PG Marcus Smart (17.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.5 APG) has improved his numbers this season for the Cowboys, but has really struggled from the field in his past four games where he has made just 13-of-53 FG (25%). He has been even worse from the three-point line, making just 3-of-28 (11%) from deep. While he has struggled from the field, he still has the ability to control of the game with his passing and defense (2.5 SPG). SG Markel Brown (16.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.7 APG) has emerged as a big-time star. Early in his career he was known as just a dunker, but has morphed into one of the most complete guards in the Big 12. He is coming off a huge performance in Saturday's loss, scoring 24 points on 9-of-12 FG (6-of-8 threes) with four steals. The wild card for the Cowboys is junior swingman Le'Bryan Nash (14.0 PPG, 54% FG, 5.9 RPG) who is an undersized power forward at 6-foot-7, but is nearly impossible for his opponents to slow down. He has also learned to play to his strengths, not staying on the perimeter and shoot 3-pointers which is why his FG Pct. has jumped each season from 39.4% FG as a freshman to 46.2% FG as a sophomore to 54.1% FG this season. Sophomore SG Phil Forte, III (12.4 PPG, 48% from threes) is the knockdown shooter for Oklahoma State, providing the team with big-time scoring from the bench. Although he was held scoreless in Saturday's loss (0-for-4 FG), Forte had scored 18.7 PPG (14-of-25 threes) in his previous three contests.