Clones Carry On

Clones Carry On

We preview Iowa State's third conference game at Oklahoma against an efficient Sooners bunch with only three losses

Iowa State has no apparent weakness. The Cyclones (14-0) don't turn the ball over, are deadly in transition and shoot lights-out from anywhere (only one team has a better percentage on two-point shots, per advanced stats site kenpom.com).

Maybe last weekend the only negative you could say about the Cyclones was their lack of size, not starting anyone over 6-foot-7 with a short bench. That theory was debunked Tuesday against matter; lack of size didn't matter against Baylor and 7-foot-1 center Isaiah Austin. If anything, Iowa State used its speed as an advantage against Austin, blitzing defenders at him from every direction and turning him over five times.

 

In bullish point guard DeAndre Kane — a triple-double threat every game — Iowa State has perhaps the conference's best player. But conference road games are very difficult, so while the Cyclones might be 10 or more points better than Oklahoma on a neutral court, Saturday's contest (ESPNU) should be close throughout, as the Sooners have a very efficient offense themselves (No. 12 in offensive adjusted efficiency).

They can definitely score the basketball, so I think we'll have to become a better defensive team and get them off the glass," ISU junior forward Dustin Hogue said. "We'll have to limit second chance points and stop them from getting in a rhythm."

Vegas tabs the Cyclones as 3.5-point favorites and kenpom thinks the Cyclones have a 65 percent chance of winning, predicting a high-scoring game, 91-86.

OU coach Lon Kruger has made the Sooners better each season, from 15-16 in 2012 to 20-12 with an NCAA tourney big in 2013 and now to 12-3, losing only to Michigan State, Louisiana Tech in overtime and to Kansas.

The Sooners are one of the quickest teams in college basketball, with the 10th-fastest adjusted tempo and an average possession length of 14.5 seconds, slower than just five other teams.

It's a team that does nothing truly great but everything very well and, with leading scorer Cameron Clark (18.7 ppg) bringing his best in the big games — 32 points against Kansas, 28 against Michigan State, 19 against Mercer and 26 against Louisiana Tech — is capable of beating anyone.

Let's compare the two teams' most frequent lineups over the past five games, per kenpom.

Oklahoma (PPG, RPG, FG %)

PG: Jordan Woodard (12.1, 4.6*, 35.5).

SG: Isaiah Cousins (10.5, 4.3, 45.3).

SF: Buddy Hield (16.4, 4.5, 44.6).

PF: Cameron Clark (18.7, 6, 48.5).

C: Ryan Spangler (10.5, 8.8, 65.5).

  • *assists per game

    Iowa State

    PG: DeAndre Kane (16.1, 7.1, 6.3*, 52.1).

    SG: Matt Thomas (7.3, 2.8, 38.6).

    SF: Georges Niang (15.4, 3.9, 49.1).

    PF: Melvin Ejim (17.8, 7.2, 52.1).

    C: Dustin Hogue (12.3, 9.6, 57.7).

  • *assists per game

    Note: While this looks really weird, as Niang and Hogue should be flipped per conventional wisdom, but here's kenpom's note on that. It's not perfect so click here.

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