Iowa State has the same conference record as Baylor and the best ATS mark in the conference. So why does it feel like Iowa State would have to "upset" Baylor tonight in Ames?
There are a ton of enormous games on the schedule today and a lot of viewing options to choose from. If you want sheer brilliance, you can’t beat the UCLA at Arizona rematch in one of the few games this season to pit Top Five teams head-to-head. UCLA was beaten handily at home by Arizona three weeks ago, so this one has a little revenge flavor as the Wildcats try to seal up the Pac 12 title.
Florida heading to Kentucky isn’t bad either with the SEC regular season crown on the line. Kentucky wil similarly have some revenge on their minds, though their beating came on the road and will have the comfort of Rupp Arena tonight.
And if bubble drama is more your speed, Northwestern at Indiana, VCU at Rhode Island or Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State might be more your speed. And if you like history in the making, enjoy the Zags tonight at 10:15 on ESPN as they attempt to close out their first perfect regular season with a two-years-in the making revenge win over BYU (The Cougs upset them in Spokane the last two years. They will, um, NOT, tonight)
But my game of the day is focused one of the better under-the-radar games on the schedule today, Baylor’s tricky trip to Ames to face the Iowa State Cyclones.
Today’s College Basketball Pick:
Baylor Bears at Iowa State Cyclones -2
I’ve been tough on Baylor early in the year, and again, it isn’t because I don’t think they are a good team. It was just because I didn’t think they were a GREAT team, or even a Top Four team. But they are certainly VERY good – top ten to twelve, and a legitimate threat in the NCAA Tournament.
Today’s pick isn’t a “fade” on Baylor. It is a recognition of the danger of Iowa State. Sure, this is a team with some losses, but also some really good wins like the one at Kansas (NO ONE wins at Phog!) They also have wins at Kansas State and AT Texas Tech in their last three games and enter tonight 5-1 in their last six.
These teams, despite wildly different perceptions, are BOTH 10-5 in Big Twelve play and have pretty similar talent levels. Iowa State is actually stronger at the point with Monte Morris and while Baylor has the edge with Jonathon Motley, is isn’t like Nitrou-Lang or Deonte Burton are a scrubs. Iowa State is a veteran team and one of my early sleep favorites for March. I’m a big fan of WHO did you beat and WHERE, and not many teams can boast a better hit list than the Cyclones.
Meanwhile, Baylor is just 3-4 SU in their last seven games, and while the loss to Kansas was a fluky/gut-wrenching choke-job, they still also have losses at home to Kansas State, a road loss at Texas Tech and a pair of squeakers against Oklahoma and at Okie State.
Iowa State is Big Twelve best 10-5 ATS. Baylor is second-worst at 6-9 ATS.
It’s hard to go against Iowa State at home with a pretty flat line, despite the PERCEPTION advantage for Baylor. At first glance, and because of the rankings, people will call this Iowa State win an “upset.” But Vegas knows, and I think this line would be a truer -3.5 or -4 if not for the perception factor of Baylor being the dramatically better team.
Today’s Pick: Iowa State Cyclones -2