West Virginia vs. Kansas State Pick NCAA – Jan 27th

Like many of you, I went to bed thinking I’d won/pushed on the Iowa State game (depending upon whether you had them at 4.5 or 5). ESPN closed the telecast with 89-84 displayed on the graphic and headed off to interviews. It wasn’t until this morning that I saw that Myles Turner was credited with a meaningless last-second tip in to make the score 89-86 – giving Texas the cover and leading to one of the more deflating beats of the season. Iowa State had a 22-point lead in the second half only to allow a staggering SIXTY ONE points to be scored in the second half and squander and EASY win and cover. Very frustrating, but to wax poetic, sometimes that’s the way love goes…

And I no longer love you Cyclones. No more. Just kidding. We remain objective and level-headed here as always… but bitter. Very bitter…

Let’s move on to happier thoughts – and to a happy hopeful Tuesday winner.

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Today’s Free Pick:

West Virginia Mountaineers at Kansas State Wildcats -1.5

I know. On the surface, it is tough to lay points, even at home when a team with five more losses is hosting a 15-3 ballclub that is 4-2 in one of the toughest and deepest conferences in the country. But K-State is no average 12-8 team with an RPI in the 70’s. They are 5-2 in league play and have been tenacious at home. Frank Martin’s withering stare in gone, but the same intensity resides in Manhattan.

I’ve learned it is dangerous dangerous dangerous to wager against Big 12 teams at home (except for Iowa State… dammit). So I am not going to do so tonight. I think West Virginia is a better team overall, but tonight is not on a neutral floor. Kansas State is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games and is a perfect 4-0 at home in conference play. Meanwhile, West Virginia is 1-3 ATS in their last four games and got blasted by 27 in their only true road game against a legit tourney opponent (Texas) just a week ago.

The biggest difference emerging is the efficiency of the respective offenses. WVU’s shooting woes are coming to light, shooting just 38.7% over their last five games. K-State is shooting close to 47%. That’s a big difference. Yes, WVU makes up for it by holding teams to a similarly lousy number, but KSU isn’t far behind at 40.1% allowed.

This one comes down to two fairly similar and familiar teams playing each other in a tough gym to win for road teams. I think that’s the difference tonight for the Wildcats.

Free Pick: Kansas State Wildcats -1.5

Chris Scheeren / Author