Texas has survived some scares recently, overcoming big deficits against TCU and Texas Tech. Do the Longhorns have another big performance in them? Iowa State is off to a 4-1 start in Big 12 play with a narrow loss to Kansas as the only setback. Can the Cyclones’ impressive defense contain a talented and experienced Texas team?
Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for Tuesday’s matchup in Ames.
Texas vs. Iowa State Odds
Iowa State enters as a 2.5-point home favorite, sitting at -150 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 131.5 points.
Oddsmakers are showing some faith in an Iowa State team that isn’t nearly as flashy as Texas, but it’s justified by the way the Cyclones have looked in Big 12 play. The Longhorns have had to overcome big deficits in recent games, but will their offense overpower a tough Iowa State defense?
Texas vs. Iowa State Prediction & Pick
Iowa State is in good position to take advantage of this Texas team. With a top-tier defense and a Texas offense increasingly searching for answers outside of Marcus Carr, the Cyclones should be able to keep this a low-scoring game and win playing their style of basketball.
Texas has been winning since Chris Beard’s exit, but the wins haven’t always been convincing largely due to some offensive troubles. The Longhorns got away with poor starts against TCU and Texas Tech – Iowa State’s defense won’t allow Texas to bail itself out the same way. It’s too good and too experienced. At home, Iowa State -2.5 feels like the better way to go.
Texas vs. Iowa State Key Matchups
Texas has had some defensive highlights in recent weeks, including a 56-46 win over Oklahoma State, but this is still a Longhorns team that can thrive on its offense. Texas is 22nd in the nation with 81.5 points per game and 23rd nationally at 48.4% from the field.
What Texas doesn’t do well is shoot the three-pointer. Marcus Carr is the only major piece of the rotation shooting better than 32% from beyond the arc, so it’ll be critical for Iowa State to focus on him. The fifth-year guard is averaging 17.5 points and shooting a career-best 45.1% overall.
Part of the reason Texas has had to battle back in so many of these games is Tyrese Hunter’s struggles. When he was at his best early in the season, the Longhorns looked like one of the nation’s elite teams. Hunter has scored in the single-digits in 8 of his last 10 games and is shooting 3/20 over his last three games.
Hunter is an Iowa State transfer, so the Cyclones should know how to defend him well.
If Texas wants to avoid all of the responsibility falling on Carr’s shoulders, Timmy Allen has to continue to step up. The forward is coming off two big games and will be needed in the paint against an Iowa State team that defends the three well.
Iowa State’s defense was outstanding last season and hasn’t missed a beat. The Cyclones are 7th in the nation with just 57.9 points allowed per game, and opponents are shooting 30% from beyond the arc against them.
Iowa State also forces just under 20 turnovers in the game and has five players who average more than 1.2 steals per game. It’s a pesky defense that makes life difficult for 40 minutes.
The story every game is whether T.J. Otzelberger’s team will have enough offense to win. Iowa State has four capable three-point shooters but no reliable No. 1 scorer. When the Cyclones have had some of their best offensive displays, though, Gabe Kalscheur has been the biggest reason. The fifth-year player is capable of 25-point outbursts and comes into this game off of back-to-back 20+ point games. If he’s not hitting shots, it could be tough sledding on this end of the floor.
Texas has a middle-of-the-road three-point defense, but it won’t necessarily be an easy obstacle for this offensively challenged Iowa State team to beat up.