Despite three losses in the last four games, Iowa State is the surprise team in the Big 12 this season under first-year head coach TJ Otzelberger after wins over Xavier, Memphis, and Iowa during non-conference play and a victory over surging Texas Tech.
And those losses certainly aren’t a sign that the Cyclones were overrated heading into the Big 12 schedule — Iowa State took Baylor and Kansas to the wire and lost to Oklahoma on the road.
The Cyclones have found that success with a defense-first mindset, ranking No. 5 nationally in KenPom.com’s adjusted efficiency metric by turning opponents over on 26.0 percent of their possessions and limiting them to 26.5-percent shooting from three-point range.
Led by Penn State transfer guard Izaiah Brockington, who averages 17.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, Iowa State is much more limited offensively — they struggle with turnovers and don’t do anything particularly well other than secure offensive rebounds. Freshman guard Tyrese Hunter leads the team with 4.8 assists per game, but struggles to shoot from beyond the arc. Junior guard Caleb Grill is the team’s sharpshooter, hitting 40.6 percent of his three-point attempts.
Texas enters Saturday’s game with a history of recent success against Iowa State, winning four of the last five and eight of the last 10 games in the head-to-head series. KenPom.com predicts a close contest, however, giving the Longhorns a 50-percent win probability with a projected final score of 60-59 in favor of Texas.
How to Watch:
TV: Big 12 Now/ESPN+
Time: 1:00 p.m. Central
Radio: Texassports.com affiliates
Odds: The Longhorns are 2.5-point favorites over the Cyclones, according to DraftKings.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.