The No. 2 Houston Cougars are about to get their first major road test tonight when they visit Iowa State. The Cougars have had just one true road game this season. Houston defeated Xavier 66-60 in that one. Although the Cougars have beaten some decent teams, they’ve been at home or neutral court games. The Cyclones are solid, but have lost the two toughest NCAAB games on the schedule. They’ve yet to beat anybody rated in Ken Pomeroy’s top 50 teams. The Houston vs Iowa State odds show the Cougars are favored by 3 points on the road and the total on the game is 131.5.
Houston Last of the Unbeatens
The college basketball scores show the Cougars are the last team to have suffered a loss this season. Houston hasn’t always won pretty, but it’s won every game and that’s all that matters. Unless you’re more interested in college basketball betting, where the Cougars are a respectable 8-5-1 against the spread. Houston is just 4-10 in totals due to a slow pace and a tenacious defense.
The Cougars average 76.9 points per game. But their offense is better than it gets credit for. Pomeroy has Houston ranked No. 10 in offensive efficiency. The Cougars aren’t a particularly great shooting team. But Houston crashes the boards and gives itself plenty of second chances to score. The Cougars are No. 4 in offensive rebounding percentage. You don’t have to shoot that well when you’re getting two or three shots on a possession.
It’s Houston’s defense that the Cougars are known for. And it’s one of the best in the country. The Cougars allow 49.8 points per game and hold teams to 34.3% shooting. Teams are hitting 40.2% of field goals and 26.4% on 3-pointers. The Cougars also are No. 1 in forcing turnovers in the nation. So teams have to get off a shot first. That’s what makes Houston so tough to play against.
Iowa State Needs Marquee Win
The Cyclones are a good team. There isn’t any question about that. Iowa State is No. 18 in the Pomeroy rankings, but have been left out of the AP Top 25 poll. But any team that is 9-5 against the spread should get the benefit of the doubt. The Cyclones are also 9-5 in totals.
Iowa State is averaging 84.6 points per game and shoots 49.9% from the field. The Cyclones are hitting 55.9% of their 2-point attempts and 36.7% of their 3-point shots. Iowa State doesn’t make a lot of turnovers and is pretty solid at grabbing offensive rebounds.
If you want to knock Iowa State’s offense is it hasn’t been as good against the better teams on the schedule. The Cyclones’ five highest-scoring games have come against the likes of Lindenwood, Grambling, Florida A&M, Prairie View A&M and DePaul. The Blue Devils are the only team in Pomeroy’s top 300.
But the Cyclones can play defense themselves. Iowa State is No. 5 in Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency ratings. The Cyclones have held NCAAB teams to 38.6% shooting. Iowa State is better defending the 2-pointer than the 3-point shot. The Cyclones trail only Houston in turnovers forced and are No. 17 in offensive rebounds allowed.
What to Expect
Houston is going to come out and do what it does best. The Cougars are well-coached enough to not get out of their style of play. Houston will slow it down and let its athleticism go to work. The Cougars best chance of taking the crowd out of the game will be a slow, deliberate style to keep Iowa State from getting fast breaks.
Iowa State will try to get the tempo up a little bit. The Cyclones don’t run up-and-down the court. But they also don’t want to play Houston’s game. Iowa State will need to get the Cougars out of their comfort zone, if possible.
Who to Bet On?
The Houston vs Iowa State odds might be a little bit cheap. But a lot of people are wondering just how good the Cougars really are. If Houston can win a few on the road that could elevate the team in some people’s opinion. The Cougars have won every game by at least four points, with 12 of their 14 wins coming by double-digits.
The Cyclones don’t get blown out. All three losses have been by nine points or less, so Iowa State comes to battle. Iowa State is 9-0 at home this season, but Iowa is really the only decent team its played at Hilton Coliseum.
The Houston vs Iowa State oddson the total are about right. You have two solid defenses that can force turnovers. But you also have teams that can score on a lot of possessions. The key to the total is going to be turnovers. If both teams force some turnovers or make some steals, that could help run time of the clock without shot attempts. Take the under 131.5 for one of your NCAAB picks for Tuesday.