With OU firmly entrenched in its Big 12 conference play, SoonersIllustrated.com is going to preview each of the Sooners conference games.
No. 23 Oklahoma (17-4, 6-2) at No. 16 Iowa State (15-4, 3-4)
When: 3 p.m. CST
Last game: The Sooners have run off four consecutive wins to take grasp of second place in the confidence. The signature win was Monday with an 88-76 Bedlam victory against Oklahoma State. The Cyclones lost to Kansas for the second this season, going down 91-82 in Lawrence on Wednesday night.
What to watch for: The bench. For whatever reason, it’s just true bench players perform better at home than on the road. The Sooners got 30 points from their bench Monday, including a season-high 15 points from senior Tyler Neal. OU is going to need that type of production again to have a chance in Ames.
Whose turn is it? It feels like OU players decide before the game whose turn it is to step up and have the big game. Each night it feels like it could come from a variety of guys as all five starters average at least 10 points per game.
Been waiting for the emotional letdown game. With the Cyclones needing a win and OU coming off its best game of the season, is Saturday the time it happens? Lon Kruger has done an incredible job of having his guys prepared, but it’s only natural to have one off night, especially against a desperate team like ISU.
Scouting the Cyclones: Lucky for all involved the injury to DeAndre Kane was not serious that he suffered in the final minute of ISU’s loss at OU three weeks ago. He has been up to his usual bag of tricks and remains one of the best players in the conference.
Iowa State has dropped four of its last five but that includes two losses to Kansas, and the Jayhawks might be playing the best basketball in the country since conference play started. This is still a very dangerous team that will no doubt come ready to play.
The Cyclones are known for their outside shooting but it was dormant at Lloyd Noble Center. If ISU gets the same looks it had three weeks ago, strong chance more of those are going to connect.