2014 NCAA Tournament East Region Preview: (3) Iowa St. Cyclones vs. (7) Connecticut Huskies

Shabazz-Napier-connecticut-12-3(3) Iowa State vs. (7) Connecticut
Time: 7:30 PM ET, Mar 28, 2014
Spread: IOW -2
Total: 149

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Iowa State Cyclones won its opening gams against N.C. Central and North Carolina to advance to its sweet 16 matchup against No. 7 seeded UConn. Connecticut defeated St. Joe’s and Villanova but finds itself two-point underdogs according to college basketball oddsmakers in NCAA Tournament action Friday night.

Iowa State will look for a way to slow UConn’s Shabazz Napier. Napier scored 25 in the win over Villanova, hitting 9-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-8 from three-point range. Napier is averaging 17.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this season. DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright each contributed 11 points but shot a combined 7-of-22. The Huskies held Nova to 35 percent shootilng and forced 16 turnovers in the win.

The Huskies may be hurt by its lack of depth in this matchup. The team essentially uses a six-man rotation and really is reliant on Napier, Daniels and Boatright for most of its offense. Napier was big in the St. Joe’s win, too, but he hit just 7-of-22 from the floor (31.8 percent) in that game and had shot under 50 percent from the floor in the three games prior, too. Still, the senior is the undisputed leader of the Huskies and the team would rather have Napier taking the shots than passing on them, in most cases.

Iowa State got 24 points from DeAndre Kane and 19 points from Melvin Ejim as it defeated UNC. Both shot 50 percent from the floor and Kane also grabbed 10 rebounds, though Iowa State lost the battle of the boards 37-38. The Cyclones made up for some glaring inefficiencies (see: 14 Turnovers) by hitting 12-of-26 (46 percent) from behind the arc. Naz Long hit 4-of-8 from three-point range off the bench and six Cyclones connected on a three in the game. That’s a big wildcard for this team, though, if it’s missing its threes the game will be wide open for the Huskies to pull a narrow upset.

CON Trends: OVER 8-0 in last 8 vs Big 12; UNDER 13-3 in last 16 overall; 6-21 ATS in last 27 Friday games.

IOW Trends: OVER 13-3 in last 16 Friday games; OVER 14-5-1 in last 20 non-conference games; OVER 42-18-1 in last 61 overall.

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