West Virginia vs. Iowa State Prediction, Game Preview

    West Virginia vs. Iowa State prediction and game preview. The Mountaineers can avoid back-to-back defeats by snapping the Cyclones' six-game winning streak Friday night.

    March 3, 2017

    West Virginia vs. Iowa State prediction and game preview. The Mountaineers can avoid back-to-back defeats by snapping the Cyclones’ six-game winning streak Friday night.

    West Virginia vs. Iowa State Game Preview

    When: Friday, March 3 – 7 p.m. ET
    Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown, WV
    TV Broadcast: ESPN2

    The Big 12 tournament is less than a week away, and No. 10 West Virginia and No. 24 Iowa State are heading in opposite directions coming into each team’s regular-season finale. The Mountaineers (23-7, 11-6) suddenly are in a shooting slump after hitting a season-low 36.9 percent from the field while surviving a 61-60 thriller at TCU, then shooting just 37.3 percent in Monday’s 71-62 loss at Baylor.

    The Cyclones, meanwhile, are on a roll. They’ve won six in a row to improve to 20-9 and 12-5 in the Big 12, taking themselves off the bubble and locking up an NCAA Tournament bid in the process. They’re shooting 49.7 percent from the floor, including 48.5 percent from 3-point range, during their winning streak and have committed only 12 turnovers in their last two games combined.

    Monte Morris committed just one while dishing out 11 assists in Tuesday’s 86-83 victory over Oklahoma State as Matt Thomas finished with 25 points and Deonte Burton added 20. Burton especially has been on fire lately, hitting 16 of 28 from the field over his last two games.

    If they’re able to continue that hot shooting, it might be a long night for the Moutaineers on their home floor, especially if West Virginia continues struggling with its shot. Nathan Adrian finished with a career-high 23 points in the first meeting with the Cyclones – an 85-72 road victory Jan. 31 – but he’s averaging 6.0 points and shooting 28.1 percent over his last four games.

    West Virginia Wins If …

    … it controls the boards. Iowa State is the worst rebounding team in the Big 12 in terms of differential at minus-3.4 per game. What’s more is that West Virginia is the best offensive rebounding team in the conference with 14.4 per game, while the Cyclones are allowing the most offensive boards per game with opponents grabbing an average of 11.8. If there’s such a thing as a good time to be in a shooting slump, this would be it for the Mountaineers.

    Iowa State Wins If …

    … Morris is the best player on the floor. That wasn’t the case in the first meeting, when he finished with eight points and two assists while going 4 of 14 from the field. Morris is averaging 15.4 points – still below his season average of 16.1 – and 8.0 assists over his last seven games, but he went only 5 of 14 from the floor against Oklahoma State. His increased distribution numbers are great, he’s also the Cyclones’ leading scorer, and he might need to take a more selfish approach Friday.

    A big performance from Nazareth Mitrou-Long, who is averaging 17.8 points during Iowa State’s winning streak, also would go a long way.

    Matchup To Watch

    Adrian vs. Iowa State’s small lineup

    Adrian is 6-foot-9 and is taller than any of Iowa State’s rotation players in its four-guard lineup, which is part of the reason for his 23-point, 11-rebound effort in the first meeting. Cyclones 6-foot-8 forward Merrill Holden was held out against Oklahoma State because of a concussion-like symptoms after taking a hit in practice, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to go. That would put more pressure on guys like Solomon Young to contain Adrian.

    West Virginia vs. Iowa State Betting Odds

    Spread: West Virginia -8
    Over/Under: 150.5

    West Virginia vs. Iowa State Prediction

    This is going to be a very tight game, especially considering how well the Cyclones protect the ball. But West Virginia won’t fold on Senior Night, and Jevon Carter has a solid performance in his last game in Morgantown as the Mountaineers hold on for the win.

    West Virginia vs. Iowa State final score prediction: West Virginia 73, Iowa State 70

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