College Basketball Betting
The loser of the game between the Iowa State Cyclones and Oklahoma Sooners could be sweating on Selection Sunday, when the NCAA tournament field is announced. Both need to make an impression in the Big 12 Tournament to put their minds at ease.
Iowa State can win because…
The Cyclones' offense can outflank Oklahoma's defense. This is going to be a game in which the offenses will be expected to dominate the defenses. Iowa State's offense knows how to generate production. The Cyclones are willing to shoot the three-point shot on a frequent basis and make an appreciable percentage. ISU hit 17 of 41 triples - a conversion rate of over 41 percent, which is excellent for long-distance shooting - in a Feb. 25 loss against Kansas, one of the best teams in the country. The Cyclones weren't tissue-soft in that game, either. They also outmaneuvered Kansas' defense, getting to the foul line 34 times and making 29 shots.
The other thing to consider from an Iowa State perspective in this contest is that when Oklahoma beat ISU a few weeks ago, the Sooners hit 34 of 34 free throws. That kind of performance is just not something that gets replicated on any scope or scale, especially not a few weeks later. Modest output by Oklahoma at the free throw line - 15 to 18 points - would represent a decline of almost 20 points for the Sooners, and that would give Iowa State a clear path to victory. As an added reason to pick ISU, one could point out that Oklahoma lost to the Big 12's worst team, TCU, this past Saturday, an indication of a deficient mindset on the part of the Sooners. Oklahoma also blew a 22-point lead against Texas within the past three weeks, something a more mature team just doesn't do.
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Oklahoma can win because…
The Sooners will be able to win a track meet. Oklahoma State struggles against aggressive on-ball pressure, especially full-court presses and halfcourt traps. However, Iowa State's defense isn't rugged or resilient enough to make OU cough up the ball.
The Cyclones allowed Kansas to shoot 54.4 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range in a 108-96 overtime loss on Feb. 25. Iowa State's fragility at the defensive end of the floor is a source of genuine worry for head coach Fred Hoiberg. It's true that Hoiberg has done a great job this season with the Cyclones, but will he be able to win a chess match against Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, who is attempting to become the first coach in college basketball history to lead five Division I-A programs to the NCAA tournament, having reached the Big Dance at Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, and UNLV. Kruger has the full attention of his Oklahoma team after the Sooners got complacent and lost to lowly TCU this past Saturday. That loss to TCU put Oklahoma at least slightly on the NCAA tournament bubble, meaning that the Sooners might have to win this game to feel fully safe in terms of making the field of 68. OU should play this game with a level of concentration that's been lacking for parts of the season.
Outlook & College Basketball Betting Prediction:
This should be a shootout with the key being the ball handling of Oklahoma's guards. If the Sooners don't commit many turnovers, their power inside should be able to get easier baskets and a few more foul shots in the final minutes of regulation. Take the Sooners on the college basketball betting odds as they should earn a slight win. Take Oklahoma for your College Basketball Picks here.
College Basketball Pick: Oklahoma -1 at BetOnline