Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Morning News: Oklahoma Routs Iowa State, Oklahoma State Continues To Roll, And Justin Anderson's Surgery

Phil Cofer! (Jahlil Okafor got the last laugh last night, though)

Oklahoma Routs Iowa State Iowa State actually led this game for most of the first half, though it was mostly due to hot shooting (9-for-14 behind the arc in the first half). But Oklahoma's offense went off after that. From the 1:30 mark in the first half through to the end of the game, Oklahoma had a 68.1 eFG%. The 1.29 PPP the Sooners scored were their second most of the entire season.

With this rout, Oklahoma is now tied with Kansas for the best efficiency margin in Big 12 play. Both Sagarin and Pomeroy actually rate Oklahoma as the best team in the Big 12. The Sooners aren't likely to win the regular season Big 12 title, but there's a pretty strong case to be made that they're one of the ten best teams in the nation and a strong contender for a Final Four run.

This loss probably ends Iowa State's chances of a Big 12 regular season title. They're two games back in the loss column with a tough remaining schedule. But they're still in good shape for a strong seed on Selection Sunday. If the season ended now they'd be a 4 or a 5 seed, and they'll get plenty of chances down the stretch to collect more quality scalps.

Oklahoma State Continues To Roll Few teams have been playing better basketball the past few weeks than Baylor. They had actually moved into the Pomeroy Top 10 before this one tipped off. But Oklahoma State has now won three straight over ranked teams themselves. Baylor's offense leads the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and they also rely heavily on threes. The Cowboys didn't totally take away the rebounds (Baylor's 38.7 OR% was only slightly below their average) but they prevented easy put-backs (they actually led Baylor in second chance points 12-to-11). Meanwhile, Baylor's threes didn't drop (just 3-for-15).

Baylor's offense has been great this season, but when it hasn't looked good they've lost. In Big 12 play they are 6-0 when cracking 1.1 PPP, but 1-5 when failing to crack 1.1 PPP, with the one win coming over TCU. That's going to be a concern in the NCAA Tournament if they run into a team that can limit their easy baskets.

Oklahoma State was a bubble team two weeks ago, but three straight wins over Top 25 opponents have put that to bed. They are now 7-5 in Big 12 play and 6-5 against the RPI Top 50. Just two wins in their final six regular season games should be enough to safely keep them in the Field of 68.

Justin Anderson Surgery The timeline is a little vague on Virginia's Justin Anderson after his surgery on his fractured finger, but for now they're saying 4-6 weeks. Virginia's position atop the ACC is strong enough that they still should be able to hang onto the ACC regular season title without him, but their odds of a 1 seed are decreased significantly due to this injury. And the real concern is this injury causing him to miss some time in the NCAA Tournament. Andereson is putting together a First Team All-ACC quality season (though he probably won't actually earn a spot now), so his loss is significant for the Hoos.

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