(11) Ohio State vs. (6) Iowa State
Time: FRI, 8:50 PM CT (TBS)
Spread: IOW -5.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Iowa State finished 23-11 with a 5th place regular season in the Big 12 after faring 9-9 in conference play. It won its final three games of the season over Baylor, Kansas State, and Kansas, to emerge as the conference champs and earn the at-large bid. Iowa State will square off against #11 seeded Ohio State as 5.5-point favorites according to NCAA basketball oddsmakers at 5dimes. The over/under is set at 140 points, and the game will tip off Friday night at 8:50 CST on TBS.
Iowa State possessed an average defense this year that allowed 68.3 points per game (No. 89), while Iowa State scored 77.4 itself. It held all three of its final opponents under 70 points, and it has not surrendered more than 80 since its 75-90 loss to West Virginia as the regular season wound down. The Cyclones are a strong team on the glass, averaging 35.2 rebounds per game this season. All four of Iowa State’s top rotation players average four rebounds or better per game, with Michael Jackson leading the way at six boards per night.
Marial Shayok leads the Cyclones in scoring at 18.6 points per game. He added another five rebounds and two assists per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range. Lindell Wigginton was the No. 2 scorer at 13.5 points per game, starting alongside Shayok and also ranking No. 3 in team assists (2.2 per game). Nick Weiler-Babb led the team in assists per game (4.0) while also grabbing five boards a night and scoring nine points per game. The Cyclones shot 36.5 percent from three as a team on the season while attempting 789—a rather high figure. It also limited its turnovers to just 11.1 per game, while coming up with 11.6 blocks/steals per night itself.
Adept at forcing turnovers, Iowa State can get out and run if Ohio State allows them to dictate the pace. Tyler Halliburton and Babb average almost three steals a game between them, and Haliburton also leads the team in three marksmanship at a 44.1 percent clip. The Cyclones use a six-to-seven man rotation and do not dip into the end of its bench much, with six players averaging 25 minutes or more per game.
Ohio State went 19-14 this season with an 8-12 record in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes concluded its season by losing four of its final five games, including a 70-77 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Quarterfinals. In that loss, the Buckeyes got 30 points from the tandem of Keyshawn Woods and Andre Wesson. They combined to shoot 10 of 16 from the field, but Ohio State hit just 14 of 36 outside of that pairing, finishing 46.2 percent from the field overall. What hurt OSU so badly was its 15 turnovers and negative-3 differential on the boards. Ohio State does struggle with turnovers, averaging 12.5 per game while scoring 69.6 points per contest.
Kaleb Wesson and CJ Jackson lead the Buckeyes with 14.4 and 12.2 points per game, respectively. Kaleb Wesson also leads the club in rebounding (6.8) per game, and Jackson leads the team in assists (3.5 per). Andre Wesson only averages 8.8 points per game on the season, but over his last two games, the 6’6” forward has scored 13.5 points per game. He shot 60 percent or better in both those games, but he is just a 43.8 percent shooter on the season. If the trend is meaningful, OSU has three double-figure scorers, but Wesson played a small role in his first two seasons at OSU and shot under 38 percent as a freshman and sophomore.
Kaleb Wesson is averaging 16.2 points per game over his last five appearances, though he struggled in the loss to MSU. In the 79-75 win over Indiana on Mar. 14, Kaleb Wesson had 17 points and 13 rebounds to go with three assists and three blocked shots. At 6’9” he has the length and athleticism to protect the rim. Ohio State has fared 1-1 in the two games this season that Wesson had three blocks or more. He averages just 0.7 blocks per game, but that figure is deceiving because he aims to stay out of foul trouble often opting to change shots instead of reach and pick up the personal foul.