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Texas Longhorns vs. Iowa State Cyclones Pick-Odds-Prediciton 1/18/14

Iowa State Cyclones (14-2) at Texas Longhorns (13-4)

College Basketball: Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm (Frank Erwin Center)

The Line: Texas Longhorns +1 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN3.com

Storyline: The 8th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones try to avoid a three-game skid when they take to the road Saturday to face a Texas Longhorn team on a two-game winning streak.

The Breakdown: Iowa State sailed through its non-conference schedule with barely a scare, a three-point victory over then #23 Iowa its closest contest. And after starting Big 12 play with a decisive win over Texas Tech and an 87-72 upset rout over then #7 Baylor, the Cyclones appeared well on their way to the top 5. But a stumble against unranked Oklahoma, followed by a 77-70 loss to Kansas in its last outing and Iowa State is in danger of free-falling towards the last quarter of the top 25 rankings with a loss against Texas Saturday. Granted, senior G DeAndre Kane may not be at 100 percent after injuring his ankle against Oklahoma a week ago, but shooting—specifically from outside the arc—is at the crux of the Cyclones’ issues. In its two losses, Iowa State has hit just 10 of 51 from distance, dangerous business for an undersized team without a true inside presence. For now though, the 14-2 Cyclones rank 8th nationally with 85.6 ppg on 48 percent shooting and senior F Melvin Ejim leads the team with 17.8 ppg, followed by Kane at 16.8 ppg.

Texas Longhorns vs. Iowa State Cyclones Pick-Odds-Prediciton 1/18/14

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Texas split its first four conference games, following two consecutive losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State with back to back wins over Texas tech and West Virginia. A win here over a desperate Iowa State side would afford the Horns some breathing room after having picked up two must-wins in their last two with K-State, Baylor and Kansas upcoming. Among the advantages Texas will have in this game is size. The Cyclones have some on the perimeter with Kane (6-5) and Ejim (6-6), but down low Iowa State’s tallest players, juniors Percy Gibson (6-9) and Daniel Edozie (6-8) aren’t contributing a whole lot, with the two combining to average 3.9 pg and 4.6 rpg. Home court is obviously another advantage, but second chance opportunities will be huge and the Horns will need to capitalize on their superior length, specifically more minutes out of 6-10 sophomore Prince Ibeh and 6-9 sophomore Conner Lambert. On the season, Texas is averaging 77.9 ppg on 44 percent shooting and junior F Jonathan Holmes leads the team with 12.8 ppg.

Rick’s Pick: The line in this matchup is currently set at -1 for Iowa State and this is more of a must-win for the Cyclones with a murderous stretch—K-State, Kansas, OU and Ok State—to follow this one. Look for Iowa State to avoid the freefall and cover. 

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