No. 5 Iowa State vs No. 12 Nevada Preview
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
When: Thursday, March 16, 2017, 9:57 PM ET
TV Broadcast: truTV
Writer’s Prediction: Iowa State Cyclones (-6.5)
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Betting on the Iowa State Cyclones (-6.5)
It took some time, but the dangerous storm that is the Iowa Cyclones has hit big-time. After an uneven start to the season which saw them 15-9 (6-5 in Big 12 play) in early February, the Cyclones were finally able to collect themselves and go on a terrific six-game winning streak at the end of conference play.
They lost their season finale at West Virginia, but they got their revenge on the Mountaineers by beating them in the Big 12 title game. Iowa State has gone an impressive 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 games, while the total has gone over in nine straight games.
Star point guard Monte Morris has been absolutely terrific during their 10-game run. The senior is averaging 16.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and just 1.1 turnovers per game. He should be the best player by a wide margin in this game.
When Morris is at his best and finding all those shooters spacing the floor, the Cyclones’ 13th-ranked offense is scary good. Iowa State in the top-15 in the country in both 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage.
They are also among the leaders in fewest turnovers and fouls committed, so they’re not going to beat themselves. If the 3s keep falling, they will be tough to stop.
Betting on the Nevada Wolfpack (+6.5)
Like Iowa State, Nevada is one of the very best in the country at utilizing the 3-pointer. The Wolf Pack are within the top-40 in the nation in 3-pointers made and attempted, as well as 3-point percentage. They rode that terrific 3-point proficiency all the way to both the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles.
And like the Cyclones, they boast a similarly impressive end-of-season win streak. They’ve gone a perfect 9-0 (SU and ATS) in their last nine games.
Since both teams play so similarly, this first-round matchup against the Cyclones will likely come down to who can execute better and flat-out make their shots. The Wolf Pack certainly have the weapons to keep things close against the Cyclones. They’re averaging 80 points per game (38th in the country).
Meanwhile, rebounding could be the crucial advantage Nevada uses to get the edge on the Cyclones. Although the Wolf Pack don’t have a ton of size, they are 69th in terms of rebounding rate, significantly better than Iowa State at 298th.
Morris plays another terrific game as Iowa State (-6.5) wins and covers its first round matchup.
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