If Iowa State and Mississippi want to be looked at as true competitors in their respective conferences, they’ll need to start winning big Games. The Cyclones had a chance to knock off Kansas again on Monday and while they stayed close, ultimately didn’t have enough to win. It was a little different for the Rebels as they were blown out at Alabama on Tuesday and have lost two of their last three in the SEC with an upcoming trip to Florida.
Most of the underlying numbers point to Iowa State and that’s why the spread is almost even. The Cyclones rank better offensively and defensively, though not many of their numbers stand out. They’re a solid all-around team on both ends of the cOurt and that’s not something the Rebs can say as they lack a bit defensively and they already gave up 83 points at home to LSU so home cOurt may not be as important if they play like that again.
ACCording to the matchups, these teams are fairly similar in terms of height and how they play. They both like to shoot the three ball, but also don’t rely on it, while also running a version of small-ball offense. The main difference may be that Iowa State has a little more variety scoring with Four guys averaging double digits. Ole Miss has had some huge offensive showings, but the consistency isn’t there and that’s why it scored 53 points in the loss to Alabama.
Breein Tyree (17.0 ppg) and Terence Davis (15.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) lead the Rebels and if one guy doesn’t play well, it’s trouble for the team (they combined for 19 points at Alabama). Third-leading scorer Devontae Shuler (9.4 ppg) has fallen off and has just 11 points in the last three Games. No one else can be relied on for consistent production and that includes big man Dominik Olejniczak, who averages 19 minutes per Game. He may have a size advantage at 7 feet, but he’s not a big enough factor for that to matter. The question is if Tyree and Davis can get their buckets and if so, Ole Miss will be in business.
On the other end, Iowa State is simply a safer team to back because while Marial Shayok (19.8 ppg) has been awesome this season making more than 50 percent of his shots, there are Four other guys that can get a bucket when needed. Big man Michael Jacobson (13.1 ppg) has oddly played better on the road and has a double-double in each of the last two road trips. Talen Horton-Tucker has seen his production dip in recent Games because of Lindell Wigginton, but he showed he could still be a factor with 16 points at Kansas. Then there’s Wigginton, who missed the first 10 Games of the season and has NBA talent, and Nick Babb, who has hit double digits in each of the last Four Games.
Olejniczak haas a size advantage, but he’ll have to defend Jacobson on the perimeter, while ISU could have a size advantage at every other position. Finding someone to guard Shayok will be important because Davis, Shuler and Tyree are all two inches shorter. That’ll mix up Mississippi’s defense and could lead to problems against the bulkier Horton-Tucker, though that may mean more time for Blake Hinson.
The Cyclones have played well on the road this season and that’s the main reason to take them in this situation. But outside of the dud against LSU, the Rebels have already blown out decent teams at home from Auburn to Arkansas, and they also took down Baylor on a neutral cOurt, who already beat ISU. The Rebs may be less consistent, but sometimes that doesn’t matter when playing at home.
Our Pick – Iowa St pk