Oklahoma State Cowboys (16-13) at Iowa State Cyclones (13-15)
Last night was a rough one. We backed the Duke Blue Devils on the road at Virginia Tech. This game went very much as I had anticipated for the first thirty-five minutes. The Blue Devils jumped out to a big 15-point lead and were up double digits most of the game.
It looked like we were going to cruise to an easy road victory and cover. Even with under four minutes to go, the Duke win seemed inevitable, as they held a 60-53 lead with just three and a half minutes left in the game. Then things got weird. It was senior night, and the Hokies would not be denied.
Not only did they storm back and steal our cover away, they managed to take the game outright! Chris Clarke followed up a Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed a jumper with a tip-in with just four seconds left in the game, to give the Hokies the lead, and they held on for a shocking 64-63 victory.
This win cements the Hokies status as an NCAA tournament team and should go a long way into improving their seed in the Big Dance. Next, up for Duke, they will play their hated rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels, looking to avenge an earlier season loss to the Heels in Chapel Hill.
Today I will shift focus from the ACC to the Big 12 as the Oklahoma State Cowboys play the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys will travel to Ames, Iowa Tuesday night to face the Cyclones of Iowa State in a Big 12 matchup. For OK State this is a must win as they are currently on the wrong side of the cut line for the NCAA tournament. This wouldn’t be a big resume-building win for the Cowboys, but they can ill afford to drop a very winnable game on the road, this late in the season if they want to see themselves dancing in March.
For Iowa State, this game is less about Selection Sunday and more about pride as this is the final home game of the year and senior day for the Cyclones. The Cowboys are -1.5-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 152.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa State isn’t a great basketball team this year. But they aren’t nearly as bad as their 13-15 record might suggest. This is a solid team, but the Big 12 is absolutely stacked with talent, and the Cyclones just couldn’t hang with the upper echelon of the league this season. The one place they have remained competitive though has been on their home floor.
Iowa State has home wins against Baylor, Texas Tech, West Virginia, and Oklahoma this season. All of those teams should be playing in the NCAA tournament this year. So, it’s not like the Cyclones can’t beat good teams, they just can’t seem to do it away from home.
They will need a huge effort tonight if they want to beat an OK State team that beat them in overtime in Stillwater earlier this season.
Oklahoma State has the wins to get themselves into the NCAA tournament this year. They beat West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas Tech. But they also have lots of bad losses that are holding them back. The Cowboys are just 3-7 in their last ten games and are stumbling to the end of the season.
Realistically the Cowboys would need a win tonight, a win at home on Saturday against the Kansas Jayhawks, and probably would have to win at least two games in the Big 12 tournament if they want serious consideration for an at-large bid. And nothing about how they are playing over the last month or so tells me they are capable of going on a run like that.
This is a decent team, and the Big 12 is tough, but they all can’t make the tournament, and I see the Cowboys as the odd man out on Selection Sunday.
Home underdogs in league play. If you read my daily picks, you will know that this is one of my favorite spots to bet. These two teams played to a stalemate in Stillwater on January 6th. It took a last-second jumper for the Cowboys to even send that one into overtime before they eventually pulled away in the extra time for a 96-87 victory. Now the script is flipped, and the Cyclones get their chance at revenge at home, on senior night no less.
We saw what happened last night on senior night in the Virginia Tech game, weird things happen when teams get desperate. I expect another classic of a game tonight. These teams are evenly matched, and neither is playing all that well at the moment.
The Cowboys have lost three of their last four games, and Iowa State has lost six of their last seven. With all things looking pretty even I am going to take the points and back the home team. Give me the Iowa State Cyclones at home on senior night getting +1.5-points!