OSU-Iowa State: Five Keys
By John Helsley
follow on Twitter @jjhelsley
The overriding theme for the Cowboys last week centered on finding a way to steal a Big 12 road win.
Losses at Texas A&M and Colorado leaves OSU at 1-2 in conference play, about what we might have expected after three games, or, back to even, despite the early win over K-State.
That brings us to tonight’s clash with Iowa State. A must-win clash, because holding court at home in the Big 12 is vital in this team’s quest to get to the NCAA Tournament. Mandatory if the opponent is Iowa State, even if the Cyclones are among the surprises of the Big 12.
Still, that doesn’t mean tonight won’t offer challenges. Nothing comes easy for these Cowboys.
Five keys against ISU:
1. Guard the Perimeter. The Cyclones lead the Big 12 in 3-point attempts, makes and percentage, averaging 9.1 long balls a game. It’s a major part of their attack. And the 3s don’t come just from the guards, with 6-11 forward Jamie Vanderbeken firing in 47 so far, including seven in Saturday’s win over Baylor. Vanderbeken will be a matchup problem for the Pokes.
2. Press the Issue. OSU may not opt for all-out, full-court pressure, but the Cowboys would like to make the Cyclones work. ISU is dealing with depth issues, forcing its starters to play heavy minutes – all five starters average 30-plus minutes in Big 12 play and four are at 34 or more. Point guard Diante Garrett, playing 37.7 minutes in league play and the team’s leading scorer, arrives after starting the week sick. If the deeper Cowboys can wear down the Cyclones, it could pay off down the stretch.
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