Last Updated Mar 18, 2022, 7:25 PM

Iowa State Cyclones vs. LSU Tigers Picks, Predictions, Odds

From the Big XII at-large team Iowa State will face SEC at-large team LSU in the 6/11 pairing Friday evening in the Midwest Region. This game will take place at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, scheduled to start at 7:20 PM ET

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Score Prediction

LSU 63, Iowa State 60

Best Bet

Under 127.5 (-110)

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IOWA STATE CYCLONES vs. LSU TIGERS PREDICTIONS

With Wisconsin set to play after this game, this game could feature a late-arriving crowd that will likely be pulling for neighboring Iowa State for a minor upset in this game. Iowa State delivered a remarkable turnaround this season after finishing 2-22 last season and failing to win a single Big XII game. After two seasons at UNLV and previously at South Dakota State, T.J. Otzelberger landed several transfers to join the Cyclones and delivered one of the great early season storylines as Iowa State started the season 12-0. That included notable wins over Xavier, Memphis, Creighton, and Iowa before Iowa State closed the season with a 7-11 Big XII mark and an early exit in the Big XII tournament that left the Cyclones on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

LSU will head into the NCAA Tournament without head coach Will Wade who was recently fired after violations were reported. Associate Head Coach Bill Armstrong was also fired and Assistant Kevin Nickleberry will be leading the Tigers this week. He previously coached at Howard and Hampton as a head coach as well as in women’s basketball. This will be a unique situation for the team with LSU’s season following a similar arc to Iowa State’s. LSU started 12-0 this season but wound up 9-9 in SEC play even after beating Kentucky and Tennessee in early January. 

LSU won its Round of 64 game last season over St. Bonaventure 76-61 in an 8/9 pairing before losing 86-78 to #1 seed Michigan. LSU made the Sweet 16 under Wade in 2019. Iowa State was last in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 losing in the Round of 64. The Cyclones have two recent Sweet 16 appearances in 2014 and 2016.

IOWA STATE CYCLONES vs. LSU TIGERS BETTING ODDS

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IOWA STATE CYCLONES vs. LSU TIGERS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Friday, March 18, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 11 vs. No. 6
  • Region: Midwest
  • Venue: Fiserv Forum
  • Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • TV-Time: TBS - 7:20 p.m. ET

IOWA STATE CYCLONES BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 20-12
  • ATS: 18-11-3
  • O/U: 15-17

Given the incredible turnaround from last season it is a surprise that Iowa State landed with only a modest 17-15 ATS record on the season, including going 4-7 ATS since February 1. Iowa State was a solid underdog this season going 11-6 ATS including 6-2 ATS as an underdog of 7 or fewer points. Iowa State was 8-5 ATS in road and neutral site opportunities as well. 

The Cyclones are led by a collection of transfers with Izaiah Brockington (Penn State), Gabe Kalscheur (Minnesota), Caleb Grill (UNLV), and Aljaz Kunc (Washington State), joining star freshman Tyrese Hunter in the starting five. This was not a balanced group as Iowa State has a top 10 defense nationally but an offense ranking outside the nation’s top 150. The Cyclones have an elite turnover rate on defense but one of the worst turnover rates on offense of any major conference team. This was a 30 percent 3-point shooting team in Big XII play with the worst free throw rate in the conference at below 66 percent.

Iowa State’s defense did not hold up over the course of the Big XII season, finishing last in the conference in 2-point field goal percentage allowed and if not for being the best team in the conference at creating turnovers, the record would have been worse. Five of seven Big XII wins came by slim margins of four or fewer points and Iowa State went 1-6 vs. the top three teams in the Big XII with the lone big win coming in early January hosting Texas Tech.

LSU TIGERS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 22-11
  • ATS: 19-14
  • O/U: 14-19

LSU is 19-15 ATS this season but with a 12-5 ATS record at home and a 7-9 ATS mark away from home. The Tigers did go 12-10 ATS vs. winning teams, illustrating how difficult the schedule was this season, with a top 30 strength of schedule rating. The non-conference schedule did not bring LSU any prominent wins as none of the 12 teams LSU defeated in the perfect start to the season made the NCAA Tournament. In the Big XII/SEC event in January LSU lost 77-68 to TCU on the road. LSU only picked up three wins vs. teams that made the NCAA Tournament but two of those wins were vs. top tier SEC teams Kentucky and Tennessee. LSU wound up facing the #1 rated SEC schedule having to face many of the top teams twice as the 9-9 finish was stronger than it appears. 

Like Iowa State, LSU has a terrific defense with a top five efficiency rating nationally. LSU creates turnovers at one of the highest rates in the nation and allows only 28 percent on 3-point shots. The offense for LSU has struggled at times as a below 32 percent 3-point shooting team and LSU committed turnovers on offense at the highest rate in the SEC as there are a lot of similarities between these teams in the statistics. 

Tari Eason was one of the nation’s most productive players as a sophomore transfer from Cincinnati that averaged nearly 17 points per game. Darius Days and Eric Gaines were significant contributors on last season’s squad as well while Brandon Murray was a strong freshman contributor. LSU does not have a great 3-point shooting option outside of Mwani Wilkinson who hit at a nearly 44 percent rate but had only 57 attempts. Days and Murray were higher volume 3-point shooters, but both had below average results. Missouri transfer Xavier Pinson is also a contributor off the bench for the Tigers and he has played a bigger role down the stretch after missing several games in January.

LSU has won eight straight games when facing a non-AP-ranked school on a neutral court. (AP)

INSIDE THE STATS - IOWA STATE CYCLONES

  • Record: 20-12
  • PS/G: 66.5 (294th)
  • PA/G: 63 (25th)

INSIDE THE STATS - LSU TIGERS

  • Record: 22-11
  • PS/G: 73.1 (123rd)
  • PA/G: 63.5 (33rd)

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • IWST: Izaiah Brockington - G (17.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg)
  • IWST: Tyrese Hunter - G (10.8 ppg, 4.9 apg)
  • LSU: Tari Eason - F (16.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
  • LSU: Darius Days - F (13.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg)

IOWA STATE CYCLONES vs. LSU TIGERS BETTING CONCLUSION

It is hard not to envision a defensive grind in this pairing as one of the lower totals of the Round of 64 suggests. Turnovers and missed shots should be common between these struggling offenses and elite defenses known for generating takeaways. LSU does play at a relatively fast pace of play but Iowa State is a slower than average team. The Cyclones failed to reach 70 points in 13 of 18 Big XII games while LSU did not top 70 in 11 of 18 SEC games in the regular season. The Big XII/SEC pairings in late January featured 145 points for LSU’s loss to TCU and 117 points for Iowa State’s win over Missouri, averaging those totals lands right near the number on this game. 

Expect Iowa State to have good support playing about 350 miles away from home even if the ticket prices have been high for this session with the nearby Badgers set to play in the late game in this group. That could lead to the slower-paced Cyclones controlling the pace, a factor likely boosted by the coaching upheaval for LSU as well. Both teams leaned ‘under’ on the season numbers and even at a low price, the ‘under’ should have some promise Friday night as well. 

MARCH MADNESS PICK RESOURCES

IOWA STATE CYCLONES vs. LSU TIGERS BETTING TRENDS

  • Iowa State has covered the spread in three straight games after failing to cover the spread the game prior.
  • Iowa State has lost three straight games.
  • Iowa State has gone OVER the point total in four of its last six games.
  • LSU has won four of its last five NCAA Tournament opening round games.
  • LSU has failed to cover the spread in three straight games.
  • LSU has gone OVER the point total in six of its last eight games.
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