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Big 12 Tournament Preview: No. 12 Iowa State Vs. No. 5 Colorado - Can the Cyclones keep the Buffs out of the NCAA Tournament?

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The second game of Wednesday's Big 12 tournament will be the rubber match between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Colorado Buffaloes. The Buffs beat Iowa State back on February 1st by a score of 95-69 but the Cyclones got revenge last Wednesday as they shot lights out to beat CU at home by a score of 95-90.

Colorado will enter this game with the most pressure on them as they are possibly needing to get another victory to show the NCAA tournament committee they are worthy of being selected as an at-large team.

CU comes in with an overall 19-12 record while going 8-8 in conference play. If they find themselves on the outside looking in come selection Sunday they will have themselves and maybe the Cyclones to blame.

Meanwhile, Iowa State should come in with zero pressure as they are the #12 seed and very little is expected of them. That could be a mistake as Iowa State has won two of their last three games in conference play and were a few breaks away from a much improved conference record. Two times this conference season the Cyclones lost by a single point and twice more they lost in overtime.

As is the case in most college basketball games the guard play in this game will be the determining factor. Both teams feature strong scoring guards in Diante Garrett & Scott Christopherson for Iowa State and Cory Higgins & Alec Burks for CU.

If Garrett & Christopherson can find their three point stroke again along with forward Jamie Vanderbeken they could once again beat the higher seeded Buffs. In their last game against K-State the Cyclones combined to go a dreadful 4-23 from behind the arc.

.A key player in this game for Iowa State will be freshman Calvin Godfrey who easily had his best game of the entire season the last time out against Colorado as he scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

As for the Colorado side there shouldn't be any surprises for Fred Hoiberg when he sits down to his scouting for this game. The key players to try and stop for Colorado are Burks & Higgins as well as three point specialist Levi Knutson who at times this year has simply been white hot from deep.

As is the case with Godfrey for Iowa State a potential X factor in this game for CU could be the play of forward Marcus Relphorde. In the last two games of the season Relphorde has stepped up his game to average 20 points and 6 rebounds in those contests.

Neither team has much size or depth on the interior so it's crucial for these teams to find a contributor in the post if the outside shots aren't falling.

In the end, you would have to expect the Colorado to get the win and keep Iowa State from getting their first Big 12 tournament win since 2005.

Tip Time is set for 2:00 P.M. Central.