The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 14, 2013

It will be important for Sooners to get off to a good start against Cyclones

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two games between Oklahoma and Iowa State produced nearly identical outcomes. The home team imposed its will and rolled to convincing victories each time.

So, what does that mean for today’s Big 12 tournament quarterfinal meeting between the fourth-seeded Sooners and the fifth-seeded Cyclones?

“I would imagine a neutral site with two pretty even teams would turn into a pretty even battle,” OU coach Lon Kruger said.

That could be the case when they meet at 11:30 a.m. today at Sprint Center. If other tendencies from the regular season carry over. It should not take long to figure which team is primed to advance.

What epitomized the outcome of the previous OU-Iowa State games were the opening minutes. The games weren’t decided in the first 10 minutes, but the aggressor was easily identified.

The Cyclones (21-10) connected on their first four 3-point attempts when OU (20-10) traveled to Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, Feb. 4, and held a double-digit lead throughout the final 30 minutes. OU never came close to catching up in the 83-64 loss.

There was a lesson OU learned from that game: slow starts are a recipe for disaster. The Cyclones’ deep roster of 3-point shooters can rack up points too quickly for large deficits to be made up. Iowa State has made 309 3-pointers this season — twice OU’s total of 151.

“If we don’t come out and play hard from the jump ball we could be looking at being down 19-2 at the first TV timeout because Iowa State is that type of team,” OU point guard Sam Grooms said. “We have to go out and play as hard as we can and understand that we cannot give up easy shots. We have to take every possession as serious as we can. If we do all those things, I think we’ll be successful at the end of the day.”

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