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ISU and Nevada Should Set Brisk Pace

Updated: .March 16, 2017

By Charles Jay

Well, there is no question that the Iowa State Cyclones have better credentials than the Nevada Wolf Pack coming into their opening-round game of the NCAA Tournament. But that has not always been the final determinant of a winner. Does Nevada have the ability to keep pace with Iowa State, and does Iowa State at a game plan that will compensate for its lack of size? These questions will be answered starting at 9:57 PM ET at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, and with tru TV televising the game live, America’s Bookie customers will have the opportunity to place wagers even after the opening tip off using either of two “Live Betting” options in their sportsbook interface.

Nevada had a 28-6 straight-up record, and they were impressive in winning the Mountain West Conference tournament, beating Colorado State in the final. There were also sizzling against the number, going 23-9 ATS overall, with a 15-3 spread mark against teams with a winning record. So in a sense, they were one of the ATS leaders in the country.

Iowa State was a conference champion as well, winning the Big 12 tournament for the third time in four years. The Cyclones got to the Sweet 16 last season, before losing to Virginia, which was able to slow down the pace of play. That’s not going to be a concern here, as Nevada, like Iowa State, scores 80 points per game.

In the NCAA Tournament betting odds posted on this contest, Iowa State is the favorite:

Iowa State Cyclones -6
Nevada Wolf Pack +6

Over 155.5 points -110
Under 155.5 points -110

You can expect that Nevada will have something of an edge when it comes to rebounding. Iowa State does not do a particularly good job on either the offensive or defensive glass, and no wonder – they basically start four guards, with no key contributor taller than 6-8. Of course, they make up for it in a lot of different ways, one of which is with virtually turnover-free basketball. The Cyclones have turned it over less frequently than all but two of the 351 teams in Division I college basketball. Of course, the efforts of point guard Monte Morris are very important here, as he has the best assist-turnover ratio in the country, at 5.71. This team also hits its three-pointers, converting 40.2% of them, which ranks them 11th in the nation.

Nevada is also a team that likes to go deep, successful on 38.5% of its triples. But we should caution you that “deep” does not mean the bench, as only one team in the entire nation has given fewer minutes to its reserves than the Wolf Pack. What they have in the starting lineup, however, is pretty good. There is some nice balance here, with Marcus Marshall the leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, but Cameron Oliver as probably the most dangerous offensive player in this particular game, as he is a 6-8 forward averaging 16.2 points who not only gets inside to score but also is a factor on defense, with both rebounding and shot-blocking. He’ll get some support up front from 6-7 Jordan Caroline, a transfer from Southern Illinois who won the MVP of the Mountain West tourney.

This is Nevada’s first tournament appearance in 10 years, and Eric Musselman’s squad aims to make the most of it. They can hang in there, especially as they know this is an opponent that isn’t necessarily looking to slow them down. Nevada has played six of its last seven games over the total, while Iowa State has played eight straight overs, and we feel comfortable going in that direction as well, as the Charles Jay/America’s Bookie Challenge continues on Thursday.

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