IOWA STATE CYCLONES (24-10)
vs. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS (26-7)
Second Round – BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
Tip-off: Saturday, 9:40 pm ET
Line: Purdue -1, Total: 152
Expect a contrast of styles in a Saturday matchup that ISU’s Deonte Burton called “David and Goliath.”
The Iowa State Cyclones took care of business in their first-round matchup on Thursday with little trouble, dispatching Nevada 84-73 (ISU -6) in one of the final games of Day 1 of March Madness. It was the fourth straight win for Iowa State, which is also fresh off winning a Big 10 conference title last week. The 5-seed Cyclones shot 55.6% from the field—63% from two-point range—and held the Wolfpack to 40.0% shooting to overcome turning the ball over 13 times, six more than Nevada did. Now 24-10 on the season (19-12 ATS), ISU advances to the second round of the tournament’s Midwest Region for what projects to be one of the weekend’s best games, a tilt with 26-7 Purdue (18-10-2 ATS). The 4-seed Boilermakers let a scrappy Vermont team hang around on Thursday, but ultimately covered an eight-point spread in an 80-70 victory. A one-point halftime lead surely had Purdue fans worried that they would lose yet another first-round game, but a 43-34 second-half victory propelled the Boilermakers to their first tournament win in five years. Over the last five seasons, neutral site tournament games with totals between 150 and 159.5 are 308-178 Over. This season, Purdue is 10-3 ATS against teams that attempt at least 21 three-pointers per game and Iowa State is 8-2 Over when playing against teams with winning percentages between .600 and .800.
With only one starter over 6-foot-5, the Cyclones have used ball movement and sharp shooting to achieve the nation’s 11th-best opponent-adjusted offensive rating at 119.7 points scored per 100 possessions. (Their adjusted defensive rating isn’t bad, either, at 43rd in the country.) Iowa State’s best player all season has been G Monte Morris (16.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.5 SPG), and that didn’t change in the first round. The First Team All-Big 12 selection flirted with a triple-double against Nevada, putting up 19 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Between his 39.0% mark from three-point range and his impressive rebounding ability for a 6-foot-3 guard, Morris can truly do it all. He leads the conference with a 5.3 assist-to-turnover ratio, so his uncharacteristic four-turnover performance against Nevada gives him room to improve in the tournament. Morris isn’t the only do-everything player on the team, however: F Deonte Burton (14.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 1.4 BPG) is one of the most versatile players in the country. He ranks in the top 10 in the Big 12 in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks. He had 14 points against Nevada, his seventh straight game with at least that many. He has a propensity for exploding against top competition, having scored exactly 29 points against both Kansas and Gonzaga this season. G Nazareth Mitrou-Long (15.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG) is one of the nation’s most prolific three-point shooters, as he leads the conference with 97 three-pointers made, three of which came on Thursday. Despite the volume, he maintains a 39.0 percentage from long range. G Matt Thomas (12.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG) and F Solomon Young (4.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG) round out the starting lineup, while G Donovan Jackson (6.5 PPG) and F Darrell Bowie (5.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG) play key minutes off the bench.
In a contrast to Iowa State’s guard-heavy lineup, Purdue could rightly be called one of the biggest teams in the country, at least on the interior. They’re well-rounded in terms of offensive and defensive performance, ranking 23rd in the country in adjusted offensive rating (117.2) and 15th in adjusted defensive rating (93.1). Their star and anchor is Big Ten Player of the Year F Caleb Swanigan (18.4 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.9 APG). He is second in the conference in scoring and second in the entire country in rebounding. He can put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the court, as he is one of college basketball’s most polished low-post players while also shooting 42.7% from three on the season. He’s not much of a shot-blocker, but he had three blocks to go with 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists on Thursday. The Boilermakers’ other big man is 7-2 C Isaac Haas (12.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG), who is second on the team in scoring and rebounding despite playing under 20 minutes per game. His nearly 300-pound presence is an automatic deterrent to would-be rim attackers, and he had eight points and six rebounds in only 16 minutes against Vermont. F Vince Edwards (12.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.2 APG) starts alongside Swanigan in the frontcourt, and he has the ability to score in bunches. He led all scorers with 21 points in the first round and had 25 three games ago in the Big Ten Tournament against Northwestern. Guards Dakota Mathias (10.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.6 APG), P.J. Thompson (7.3 PPG, 3.0 APG) and Ryan Cline (5.4 PPG) start in the backcourt—Mathias was one of five players named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team this year. Freshman G Carsen Edwards (10.5 PPG) often contributes buckets off the bench, and one-time Michigan spark plug Spike Albrecht (1.8 PPG) has a (distant) history of making big plays in March.