OSU-Iowa State: Big 12 Tourney Preview

If Oklahoma State hopes to keep its Big 12 Tournament championship streak alive it starts Thursday evening with the Iowa State Cyclones. The Cowboys have won the last two Big 12 tourney titles, and they know that the only way they will be returning to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth year in a row is by winning the conference title again. But that takes winning four games in four days, and it all begins when the seventh-seeded Cowboys meet the 10th-seeded Cyclones in a first-round game.

Oklahoma State (16-14, 6-10) vs. Iowa State (16-13, 6-10)
American Airlines Center (20,467), Dallas, Texas
Thursday, 6:07 p.m., ESPN Plus
ESPN Plus: Dave Armstrong, Chris Piper
Cowboy Radio Network: Dave Hunziker and Tom Dirato

Oklahoma State was coming off a 21-point win over then No. 6 Texas, but looked anything like the team that rolled over the Longhorns. The Cowboys turned the ball over 24 times and shot poorly – going nearly nine minutes in the first half without scoring – as the Cyclones broke a four-game losing streak with a 68-52 victory in Ames, Iowa. OSU led 22-14 on Byron Eaton's driving basket with 9:29 left in the first half, but the Cowboys didn't score again until 35 seconds remained in the first half. During that nine-minute stretch the Cowboys missed seven shots and turned it over seven times.

Oklahoma State leads the series with Iowa State, 55-51, including a 1-0 mark in games played in Dallas. The Cyclones victory earlier this season broke a six-game winning streak by the Cowboys in the series. The two teams met in the Big 12 Tournament two years ago in Dallas with OSU winning 83-75.

Get It To Super Mario Mario Boggan may have something to prove after earlier this week being overlooked for the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award. The 6-foot-7 junior college transfer leads the team in scoring (14.6 points) and rebounding (5.6). He also is first on the team in field-goal percentage (58.5 percent) and free-throw percentage (80 percent), and will become only the seventh player in school history to lead in those two categories during the same season if he can hold on. Boggan was one of the Cowboys' few bright spots in the earlier loss to Iowa State, scoring 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds.

Guard the Ball Oklahoma State's guards must play better than they did against Iowa State earlier this season. JamesOn Curry, Byron Eaton and Jamaal Brown turned the ball over 13 times and shot a combined 9-of-33 from the field (including 5 for 23 from behind the three-point line). In the last six games of the regular season, the Cowboys won the three games (Baylor-6, Texas Tech-8 and Texas-3) in which Curry, Eaton and Brown committed fewer than 10 turnovers and lost the three (Oklahoma-12, Iowa State-13 and Kansas-14) when they were careless with the ball.

Go With Stinson & Blalock
Iowa State guards Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock form one of the best backcourts in the nation. Stinson (19.3 points per game) and Blalock (15.4) combine to account for 44.7 percent of the Cyclones scoring, 70.8 percent of the team's assists and 47.5 percent of the steals. Against OSU on Feb. 22 at Hilton Coliseum, Stinson and Blalock combined for 27 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals.

Make the Last Possession Count Both Iowa State and Oklahoma State have had their share of close calls this season. In five of their 10 losses in Big 12 play, the Cyclones have had the final shot to either win or tie the game with no shot clock remaining. They've lost close games to Texas Tech (76-73), Texas A&M in overtime (86-81), Kansas State (66-63), Oklahoma (83-82) and Colorado (84-82). OSU is 2-6 this season (including 2-5 in Big 12 play) in games that came down to the last possession. The Cowboys have had four games decided in the last three seconds this season.

OSU's projected starters:
F: 4 Mario Boggan (6-7, 235, Jr., 14.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg)
C: 40 Kenny Cooper (6-10, 260, Fr., 2.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
G: 00 Byron Eaton (5-11, 215, Fr., 7.7 ppg, 3.1 apg)
G: 10 Jamaal Brown (5-10, 200, Jr., 5.5 ppg, 3.1 apg)
G: 24 JamesOn Curry (6-3, 190, So., 13.5 ppg, 4.1 apg)

OSU's key reserves:
F: 55 Torre Johnson (6-6, 215, Jr., 10.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
F: 32 David Monds (6-8, 232, Jr., 8.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
F: 5 Marcus Dove (6-9, 215, So., 4.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
G: 1 Terrel Harris (6-5, 190, Fr., 4.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg)

ISU's projected starters:
F: 13 Rahshon Clark (6-6, 190, So., 13.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
F: 0 Shawn Taggart (6-10, 220, Fr., 5.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg)
C: 40 Ross Marsden (6-10, 210, Fr., 2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
G: 11 Will Blalock (6-0, 200, Jr., 15.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
G: 1 Curtis Stinson (6-3, 215, Jr., 19.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg)

ISU's key reserves:
C: 33 Jiri Hubalek (6-11, 225, So., 8.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
G: 10 Tasheed Carr (6-4, 205, So., 5.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg)

GoPokes Top Stories