It may not be tournament time yet, but the Cowboys are feeling the March Madness heat.
The No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowboys will break out the road uniforms for the last time this season as they travel to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State.
OSU (22-6, 12-4) continues to show no remission from its heart-breaking loss to Kansas in double overtime on February 20. The Pokes have won 10 of their last 11 games and remain a game behind KU and KSU in the Big 12 standings.
Guard Markel Brown is the leading man for OSU at 15.7 points a game. He is one of four players on OSU’s squad averaging double figures in points, the others being Le’Bryan Nash, Marcus Smart and Phil Forte. The Cowboys average 72.6 points per contest this season, but it’s the defense that will make the difference.
The Cowboys hold opposing teams to just 61.2 points a game and less than 39 percent shooting from the field. Iowa State scores nearly 80 points per game, good for fourth in the country. The Cyclones are a perimeter-oriented team that averages nearly 10 3-pointers made per contest. ISU made 13 shots from beyond the arc in the two teams’ last meeting in Stillwater.
“We did leave them open a lot, but they made some shots,” OSU coach Travis Ford said. “They are a very difficult team to guard.”
One player primed for this type of game is Brian Williams. Williams made his season debut against the Cyclones and has proved as his role on this team has expanded. Williams’ biggest asset to this team is his defense. Ford touts Williams as a player who can guard all five positions on the floor.
Given the strengths of this ISU team, Williams expects to guard every player in the Cyclones rotation to bring its offense to a screeching halt.
“It’s a pride thing,” Williams said. “I don’t like getting scored on.”
Scouting Report: Iowa State.
Record: 19-10, 9-7
Overview: ISU is a team everybody respects and somewhat fears. It doesn’t intimidate teams like Kansas and Kansas State but is regarded as just as dangerous. As with any team that relies on the three-pointer, the Cyclones have days where it is hard to beat and days when they play like a mediocre Big 12 team. ISU tends to play its best basketball against top opponents, the prime example being its two overtime losses to Kansas.
Best Player: Will Clyburn. Clyburn is one of six seniors on the squad. He is ISU’s leading scorer and also averages just more than seven rebounds a game. In Stillwater, Clyburn played to his averages, scoring 14 points and grabbing four rebounds.
X-Factor: Korie Lucious. Although a senior, Lucious is in his first season with the Cyclones. Lucious transferred from Michigan State after having a falling out with coach Tom Izzo. In addition to the 10 points and almost six assists a game, Lucious brings a winning attitude to ISU after having been in 2 Final Fours with MSU.
Last Meeting: Marcus Smart delivered one of his better performances for OSU in a 78-76 nail-biting win. Smart grabbed six rebounds, had seven assists, four steals and scored 21 points, including a runner in the lane to give the Cowboys the lead with 3.1 seconds left. It was OSU’s second win in a row. The streak would eventually reach seven wins.
UP NEXT: OSU at Iowa State
Where: Ames, Iowa
When: Tonight (Wednesday)
Time: 6 p.m.