The Iowa State Cyclones, now ranked No. 11 in the latest Associated Press poll, hit the road tonight in Big 12 college basketball action when they take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPNu. Currently the odds for the game have Iowa State favored by a bucket on the road.
Iowa State is pretty solid this season. They have gotten through some nagging injuries and playing in a touch conference, but the Cyclones have gotten back on the brink of the Top 10 and tonight they're a small favorite over West Virginia. Taking road favorite in conference play isn't a great way to rack up the wins, but West Virginia is just not having a great season.
The Mountaineers are replacing several players from last year and can't seem to get things going here in 2014. They'll look to slow down Cyclone star Melvin Ejim tonight, who scored 48 points and pulled in 18 rebounds in the team's last win over TCU. Sure, the Cyclones are a lot better than TCU is, but that's a monster game. The Mountaineers will look to keep him off balanced tonight.
Leading West Virginia in scoring this season is Juwan Staten, who pours in better than 18 points per game. With the monster game Ejim is now leading the Cyclones and the Big 12 conference in scoring at almost 20 points per contest, but they have several guys that go in double figures each game including Georges Niang, DeAndre Kane and Dustin Hogue. They roll up 85 points per game this season and lead the country in assists per game at 18.7 while shooting almost 47 percent from the floor.
Iowa State would get a fourth straight win tonight with a victory. West Virginia is shooting just 39.8 percent from the floor in its last five games, but they have gone 3-2 in those five games. Overall on the road this season the Cyclones have won just three of their six contests away from home. West Virginia has struggled at home, however, going just 8-4. The Cyclones won both meetings in the Mountaineers' first season in the Big 12, the first meetings between the programs.
In this game tonight, we like rebounding to be a big deal. Iowa State ranks in the Top 25 nationally in rebounding, but only averages three more than the Mountaineers do. The team that gets the extra possession on an offensive rebound in this one will propel themselves to a win. We like the Cyclones to shoot well, play tough and get the win on the road.
Free Pick: Iowa State 71, West Virginia 66
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