Iowa State Cyclones vs. Nevada Wolfpack NCAA Tournament Prediction from Larry Ness: March 16th 2017

| March 16, 2017

Iowa State vs. Nevada
NCAA Tournament Prediction: Nevada +7 (March 16th 2017)

Iowa State enters the Big Dance off winning the Big 12 tourney for the third time in four years. The Cyclones are 23-10 and were given a No. 5 seed. They take on the 12th-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack, won both the MWC regular and postseason titles. Iowa State enters having won nine of 10 and Nevada comes in on a nine-game winning streak.

Both teams are high scoring, with Iowa State averaging 80.9 PPG and Nevada 80.0. The Wolf Pack will be ‘dancing’ for the first time in 10 years, something head coach Eric Musselman addressed in the Reno Gazette-Journal. “It’s been our year-long goal, so obviously everybody feels great about seeing our name up there. It’s great exposure for the university, and now we have to put some work in and figure out a way to compete with Iowa State.” In contrast, this marks Iowa State’s sixth straight NCAA appearance.

Both teams are perimeter-oriented. Nevada is led by Missouri State transfer Marcus Marshall, who leads the team at 19.8 PPG (3.6 APG).  Fenner (14.1) and PG Drew (5.9-5.0-4.8)  are traditional backcourt players but while the 6-7 Caroline (14.8 & 9.2) is listed as a guard, he’s more of a swingman (he leads the team in rebounding). Nevada’s top true frontcourt player is the 6-8 Oliver  (15.8-8.7)
Iowa St is led by PG Monte Morris (16.3-6.1 APG), who is joined by three more double digit scorers in the backcourt. Long is averaging 15.5 points and Thomas 12.0 PPG. The 6-5 Burton is not a traditional guard as he weighs about 250 pounds, averaging 14.8 PPG (he can score inside and out) plus leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 per game. Two 6-8 forwards cip in 5.8 & 4.1 (Bowie) and 5.1 & 4.1 (Young).

This type of tourney experience is all on the Iowa St side, with Morris having played in two Sweet 16s and has seven NCAA games on his resume. However, the last time Iowa St won the Big 12 tourney (2015), the Cyclones were upset by 13th-seeded UAB in their first game. Deja vu? Just maybe and I’ll take the points with Nevada.

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