2014 NCAA Tournament East Region: (3) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (14) N.C. Central Eagles
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
Iowa State enters the tournament on a roll. It defeated Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas and Baylor to close it season and earn the No. 3 seed in the East region. The Cyclones finished the season 26-7 with an 11-7 record in the Big-12.
Prior to beginning conference play, the Cyclones had impressive victories over Michigan, BYU, Auburn and Iowa. The Cyclones were 12-6 this season against NCAA tournament teams and the team is very strong offensively. The Cyclones are 8.5 point favorites in second round play against N.C. Central.
Iowa State averaged 82.9 points per game this season while averaging 18.5 assists per game. The Cyclones shot 47.1 percent from the floor as a team and 35.1 percent from three-point range. Melvin Ejim led the team in scoring (18.1 points per game) and was one of two Cyclones to average over eight rebounds per game (Dustin Hogue). The Cyclones utilize a seven-man rotation and get big scoring contributions from Ejim, DeAndre Kane (17 points per game) and Georges Niang (16.5).
The Cyclones will push the pace against N.C. Central and look to run up the score, and the potential is there for Iowa State to win big. Ejim wasn’t overly involved in the win over Baylor, but prior to that had scored 19 against Kansas and 24 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Kansas State.
NC Central is 28-5 this season with a 15-1 record in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). The Eagles haven’t lost since Jan 11 to FAMU, and have won its last 20 contests. The team hasn’t been tested by many programs this season, though did score an 82-72 overtime victory over NC State on Nov 20. Cincinnati defeated NC Central 74-61; Maryland won 70-56.
The Eagles rely heavily on 6’3″ senior guard Jeremy Ingram, who leads the team in scoring with 20.6 points per game. Over his past five contests, he’s scored 17, 19, 30, 14 and 29. Last game against Morgan, he hit 9-of-15 from the floor including 4-of-6 from three-point range en route to 29 points, four rebounds and two assists.
NC Central Trends: 2-6-1 ATS in 9 games overall.
IOWA ST Trends: OVER 12-5-1 in last 18 non-conference games; OVER 40-18-1 in last 59 overall; OVER 21-10 in last 31 neutral site games.