The post season is here, and with it, the Iowa State Cyclones. This will be the Cyclones first appearance in the draft, and we couldn’t think of a better time to choose them than for the Big 12 tournament!
First off, for those who haven’t seen the MVP Draft before, here are the rules: Each participant will pick ONE PLAYER from EACH TEAM they think will perform the best. They will then pick a third player from either team as their wild card pick. Each correct pick is worth one point. We will tally the points throughout the season.
Before we get to ISU, let’s tally up the points from last week’s draft.
OSU: Jawun Evans | KU: Frank Mason III | Wild Card:
Phil Forte (OSU)
Leyton Hammonds | KU: Frank Mason III | Wild Card: Devonte Graham (Kansas)
Jeffrey Carroll | KU: Frank Mason III | Wild Card: Mitchell Solomon (OSU)
Opponent: Jake Ellenbogen
Phil Forte III | KU: Frank Mason III | Wild Card: LeGerald Vick (Kansas)
Oklahoma State: I really want to pick Jeffrey Carroll here, not just because I picked him, but because he led the team in scoring with 27 points on 9-17 shooting. However, you can’t NOT pick a guy who scores 22 points and dishes out 15 assists(!). He’s just the sixth Division I player in the last five seasons to record a 20-point, 15-assist game. That earns the point every time!
Kansas: On the one hand, we all picked him. On the other hand, the Big 12 Player of the Year showed just how special he is, scoring 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting and adding nine assists and eight rebounds. That’s nearly a triple-double... for a point guard in college. That’s ridiculous.
Wild Card: This came down to Forte vs Graham, and while I think Forte played a better game, when it’s as close as it was, I have to go with the player on the winning team. Graham had 13 on 4-12 shooting, but all four makes were from beyond the arc (4-of-8). He also added three rebounds and four assists.
Sam - 19
Sumer/Phillip - 17
Tyler - 16
Opponent - 14
Sam continues to build his lead. With only two drafts left, is it enough for him to feel comfortable about a victory?
For the first time this season, we welcome the Iowa State Cyclones to the Draft. It’s surprising that it took this long, but what better time than now?
These two teams met just 10 days ago in Ames, where the Cyclone were victorious 86-83. The Cyclones swept the regular season series, but I’m not going to count the earlier game, as this is a completely different Oklahoma State team than the one that faced ISU on January 11th.
Now that we’re playing at a neutral site and not Hilton
Magic Coliseum, I think things are going to go differently.
Let’s get to the picks!
Let me preface this by saying I'm down three with two drafts left. Time to start making some riskier picks in hopes of overtaking the leaders. This will either be a genius move or I am going to crash and burn (probably the latter).
OSU: Leyton Hammonds | ISU: Nazareth Mitrou-Long | Wild Card: Mitchell Solomon (OSU)
Oklahoma State: As of late, Leyton Hammonds has been much better on the road than he is at home. In the last three road games, Hammonds is averaging 19.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.3 turnovers per game while playing an average of nearly 35 minutes per game. I think this game is no different. If the Cowboys want to win, road Hammonds needs to show up and make the most of his final season.
Iowa State: It’s hard not to pick Monte Morris here. But the old Latin proverb says, “Fortune favors the bold.” Hopefully Phillip rewards me for my bold decisions. They don’t call Nazareth Mitrou-Long “3sus” for nothing. The super senior is averaging 16.0 points per game for the Cyclones and 17.0 against the Cowboys. However, he hasn’t shot the three well against the Cowboys. As is the same thing with my next pick, I have a sinking feeling NML is going to show the Cowboys how he got his nickname, as Brad Underwood will likely leave him open in favor of covering other Cyclones like Morris and Matt Thomas.
Wild Card: I don’t know why. There’s no good logical reason for me to pick Solomon here. Something inside me says he is due for a breakout game, and against Iowa State in the Big 12 Tourney might just be the one. I haven’t hidden my criticism of Solomon. Ask any of my friends. If I’m right, I’ll look like a genius. If I’m wrong....
DON’T LET ME DOWN BIG MITCH!
OSU: Jeffrey Carroll | ISU: Monte Morris | Wild Card: Phil Forte (OSU)
Oklahoma State: Carroll has been a little inconsistent towards the end of the year offensively, but I believe he is one of the keys to OSU’s success in March. The last time these two teams met, Carroll only had seven points; but he followed that up with a 27 point game against No. 1 KU. Carroll is a big-time player, and we all know the saying: “big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games”.
Iowa State: Morris is coming into the Big 12 Tournament with plenty of momentum, he is scoring at a high rate, and is probably licking his lips at the opportunity to play OSU for a third time this season. Morris and the Cyclone’s have had plenty of success this season against the Cowboys; winning in both meetings. Morris is also averaging 21.0 points in the two regular season meetings, with a 30-point outing in Stillwater. I’m interested to see what Coach Underwood does to try and slow down Morris offensively, as he definitely is the biggest offensive threat for the Cyclones. Morris is averaging a little over 16 points per game this season.
Wild Card: March Madness is a 3-point shooter’s dream. Big time games, with the opportunity to win games with big shots. Just ask Kris Jenkins of Villanova. We can all agree that Evans and Carroll are the go-to guys on offense for the Cowboys. This may not be a popular opinion, but i wouldn’t want anyone taking a late-game 3-pointer other than Phil Forte. Look for his confidence late in this game, and let’s all hope there is some ice flowing in those veins.
OSU: Jawun Evans | ISU: Matt Thomas | Wild Card: Leyton Hammonds (OSU)
Oklahoma State: I’ve been debating who Oklahoma State’s most important player is going to be this post season. Carroll and Forte haven’t been great on the road recently, and while these are neutral site games, the crowds aren’t likely to be heavily in OSU’s favor either. That’s why I’m going with Mr. Consistency. Evans finds ways to contribute early in games even if his shots are not falling. We all now how big he is in second halves of games. That makes him the pick here.
Iowa State: I’m going with Thomas here, because in the two games this season, he went a combined 11-20 from three. Iowa State usually performs well in the Big 12 tournament. Considering how poor OSU’s defense has been against good 3-point shooters of high scoring teams, I have a sneaky feeling Thomas is going to hit some open shots.
Wild Card: Leyton Hammonds; Road Warrior. I intended to write a piece on this last week, but ran out of time. Seriously though, go look at Hammonds’ last 6 games of the regular season. Go ahead, I’ll wait... The dude was “meh” at home, and KILLER on the road. The stats were insane. I’m hoping his late season resurgence, and ability to show up away from GIA make him the X-Factor in the tournament for Oklahoma State.
Opponent: Kevin Fitzpatrick
OSU: Jawun Evans | ISU: Monte Morris | Wild Card: Nazareth Mitrou-Long (ISU)
Oklahoma State: Evans almost single-handedly brought Oklahoma State back to win the last meeting between these two teams in Hilton Coliseum. He didn't play as well against Iowa State in Stillwater, but he's riding a 12-game streak of scoring in double digits and should stay hot heading into the postseason. Selfishly, I hope he declares for the draft this off-season, but another year in college working on his outside game might help raise his stock enough to knock on the door of the lottery.
Iowa State: Simply put, Morris has dominated in both games between the Cowboys and Cyclones this year. Whether it was scoring 30 points back in January or nearly notching a triple-double in Ames, the senior guard has picked apart Oklahoma State's defense and shown why he's one of the best players in the nation. I'll be interested to see how OSU tries to defend Morris on Thursday... Will they change it up or stick with the methods they've used in the prior two games? Either way, I expect Morris to be the same rock-solid presence he's been at ISU for four years now.
Wild Card: You guys know the story with the buzzer-beaters by now, but Mitrou-Long scored 17 points in both outings against Oklahoma State this season. He could have been even better when you consider he only shot 3-12 combined from 3-point range in those games. “3sus” has a flair for hitting big shots against the Cowboys and I wouldn't put it past him to hit one or two more in what should be the final time he plays against the orange and black.