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Iowa State



March Madness

College Basketball Pick


To close out Saturday night is one of the more interesting matchups of the day with Purdue against Iowa State. Both were easily better than their first-round opponents, but still had a couple scares before the end of the game. With little to fully separate these teams, the Boilermakers opened as -1 point favorites at 5 Dimes Sportsbook for the game in Milwaukee.

This is an interesting matchup because both of these teams present such different types of basketball. Purdue builds its offense around two bigs in Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas while Iowa State plays a version of small ball with Monte Morris at the helm. Yet at the end of the day, both are extremely efficient as two of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. But one difference is in the turnover department with Iowa State rarely turning it over, while Purdue is about average in that area. With close games, turnovers can usually determine a lot.

The Boilermakers are going to have the obvious size advantage, but that doesn't mean everything. Purdue often had a size edge this season, yet fell to smaller teams like Villanova and Michigan. Haas could be close to unstoppable, but the Cyclones are athletic at every spot on the floor and if you get him away from the hoop defensively, a lot of easy baskets can be had. The same can be said for Deonte Burton and Swanigan. Burton is a bit smaller, yet may have the quickness offensively to match whatever Swanigan does on the other end.

While Purdue runs through its bigs, this game could fall on what the rest of the team does. Vincent Edwards has played really well as of late and could end up being a problem for an Iowa State team already lacking frontcourt height. As for the guards, Carsen Edwards, PJ Thompson and Dakota Mathias simply have to hit open shots and play good defense. If they can do that, the Boilers will have enough to advance to the next round.

But stopping this Iowa State team coming off a Big 12 tournament title is not going to be easy. Outside of rare production from bigs in Solomon Young and Darrell Bowie, everyone else on the team can shoot and create shots on his own. Morris runs the show, but Nazareth Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas and Burton can all do plenty of things. Even Donovan Jackson off the bench can prove to be useful at times scoring 12 points against Nevada. But even if all of those guys can find some kind of success, it's going to depend on how Burton, Young and Bowie play the towers on the other end.

Both teams are good at shooting, but the Cyclones have to depend on that more with their spread-it-out type of basketball. When it gets to the under-four timeout, will they be able to stop either Swanigan or Haas or the post? The Cyclones may not foul a ton and that could change in this game. And if Purdue has that success, it'll mean that Morris and company have to hit shots, which makes the Boilers the easier team to trust.

Our Pick - Iowa State +1

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