Evenly matched groups clash in Round 2
Oklahoma State finished the regular season by winning 10 of its last 13 games. But can Brad Underwood’s program subdue Iowa State’s ultra-balanced attack in the Big 12 Championship?
The two squads kick off the second round of the festivities this afternoon, with a 12:30 p.m. ET tip at the Sprint Center. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Cyclones odds of -115 to emerge victorious. Conversely, the Cowboys represent -105 underdogs.
Underwood’s initial year in Stillwater began ignominiously. The Pokes (20-11) dropped each of their first six league contests, getting trounced by West Virginia, Kansas and Kansas State along the way. Gradually, though, sophomore guard Juwan Evans & Co. made marked strides on the offensive end. Oklahoma State actually wound up leading the conference in scoring at 85.6 points per tilt.
Steve Prohm’s team, however, figures to cause fits for the Cowboys’ D. ISU (20-10) boasts four players – Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long, Deonte Burton and Matt Thomas – averaging in double digits. Ames’ finest also came on strong down the stretch, capturing six in a row before a loss at No. 7 WVU on March 3.
While Oklahoma State deserves a ton of credit for pulling things together, we keep returning to the Cyclones’ multifaceted nature. There are simply too many threats for Underwood’s gang to handle. What’s more, Prohm’s prior tourney experience in Kansas City could pay great dividends as the score inevitably tightens up.
THURSDAY NCAA FREE PICK: IOWA STATE -1