Alabama, Oklahoma State to Keep Momentum Going in Tuesday Tilts

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

Alabama and Oklahoma State are coming off huge road wins against ranked opponents (Florida, Kansas) as they head into action Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide take on Mississippi State, while the Cowboys host Baylor. Will the momentum carry over? You bet.

Tuesday College Basketball: Alabama vs. Mississippi StateFree NCAAB Pick: Alabama +3Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Alabama (15-8 SU, 12-9 ATS) heads into Starkville on the heels of arguably their best half of basketball all year. Down by six points at the break against No. 23 Florida on Saturday, the Crimson Tide outscored the Gators 41-17 to close out. Alabama won 68-50, its fourth straight victory over a ranked opponent. The Tide played with intense concentration, urgency and focus late, committing just five turnovers and generating easy bucket after easy bucket. They finished 29-of-52 from the field, hitting 64 percent of their 2-pointers. Look for momentum and confidence to carry over.

Mississippi State (17-6 SU, 7-11 ATS), meanwhile, thumped Georgia 72-57 last time out at Humphrey Coliseum, easily topping a 3-point spread. The Bulldogs are 16-7 ATS all-time against SEC foes in the building behind Coach Ben Howland.

These two teams are near identical in makeup and scheme. Both sport a top-20 D-I defense (Alabama No. 12 and Mississippi State No. 14) in adjusted efficiency per KenPom. Each also favors a pro-style offense that tends to be aggressors rather than reactors down the court.

Both units do much of their damage in the paint. The Bulldogs hit 70.0 percent of their field goals at the rim, the Crimson Tide 68.5 percent. This ranks ninth and 19th highest in the country. Where Alabama has a slight edge is from deep. The Bulldogs are atrocious from behind the arc, ranking 344 out of 351 teams in 3-point percentage (29.4).

Mississippi State is a 3-point home favorite on the college basketball odds board, but this is a coin-flip encounter with Alabama’s defense the difference-maker. Since Avery Johnson assumed coaching duties in 2015, the unit yields a 38.7-percent opponent shooting rate in SEC road contests. Head-to-head against Howland’s Bulldogs, Johnson’s squad is 5-1 SU and ATS, covering a -2.1 line by 4.8 points per game. Mississippi State averages a paltry 61.8 points per game in regulation time in this stretch. For your NCAAB picks take the 3 points with ‘Bama and put a little down on a straight-up win for an added bonus.

Tuesday College Basketball: Baylor vs. Oklahoma StateFree NCAAB Pick: Oklahoma State -2Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Oklahoma State (14-9 SU, 9-11 ATS) joined a small, yet elite list of teams to beat Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse last time out. With a 84-79 victory, the Cowboys, 12-point underdogs at tip-off, joined 12 others to top the Jayhawks on their home hardwood in the last decade. Kansas sports a 93.7 winning percentage in the building since 2007.

Confidence is soaring in Stillwater. Oklahoma State has covered four of their last five games, bettering a 6.3 line by 3.9 points a contest. Improved defense is the key. Coach Mike Boynton’s men are yielding a 42.7-percent opponent field-goal rate in this span, and against stern competition. Four of the five opponents -- Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas, and TCU -- have been ranked at some point in the season. Arkansas, the fifth opponent, is no pushover either, scoring 83.2 points per game. The Rowdy is thriving:

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It's time to bring the Rowdy. #letswork #okstate

🆚 Baylor
⏰ 7 p.m. Tuesday

— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) February 6, 2018

Baylor (13-10 SU, 9-7 ATS), meanwhile, is searching for consistency, and perhaps an identity. Cellar dwellers in the Big 12 for the first time since 2006, the Bears are 3-7 SU in conference play. The once-intimidating Scott Drew defense is not so fearsome this year. It has allowed half of conference opponents to score 75 points or more, including 90 and 98 in two of the last three against Kansas State and Oklahoma. The Bears' biggest issue is guarding the perimeter. Big 12 opponents are hitting 39.4 from behind the arc against Drew’s team.

Baylor will struggle offensively against a sneaky-good Cowboys D. Oklahoma State is yielding just 39.4 percent from the floor at Gallagher-Iba Arena in games listed on the NCAAB odds board this year. Lay the bucket with Oklahoma State in your NCAAB picks. The Cowboys will have a huge night from deep and squeak out a 76-73 win.

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