The tight race in the Big 12 finds a couple of teams going head-to-head on Wednesday when Iowa State and Oklahoma State collide on the college basketball betting slate.
You know you have a good conference race going when a team that's 6-6 in the league standings is one of six nationally ranked teams. That's what we have going in the Big 12 right now, West Virginia's upset of Kansas a couple of days ago at least prying open the door for someone to halt the Jayhawks' strong of conference titles.
The team most likely to do that is Iowa State. A chance to pull within a game behind Kansas in the Big 12 ranks is at stake when the Cyclones travel to meet the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday. Tip-off in Stillwater is a little past 9 PM (ET), ESPNU providing the broadcast.
SBR's live NCAA Basketball odds had the Cowboys at -1½ to open, but that spread has moved up half a point in overnight trading. The total is not yet available.
ISU Aims At Season Sweep Of OSU
These two clubs opened their Big 12 schedules against one another, then-No. 17 Iowa State scratching out a 63-60 win at home over Okie State. The Cyclones had to withstand a late charge by the Cowboys to just score the outright win, and never really came close to covering the spread in the end after holding an 11-point lead early in the second half.
Both teams denied each other second chances on offense in that matchup, Iowa State's win its 4th-straight in the series and cutting into OSU's 63-57 lead dating to their former Big 8 days. The Cowboys have been very good protecting their home corral over the years, winning 18 in a row before ISU's trip to Stillwater last year.
That one went to triple-overtime, the Cyclones prevailing, 98-97, as 7 point 'dogs. Four of the last five on OSU's floor have jumped the totals.
Can Cyclones Catch Kansas For Big 12 Title?
Iowa State (18-6 straight up, 11-10 against the spread) was not the team most likely to unseat the Jayhawks in the Big 12 this year. That honor belonged to the Texas Longhorns, at least according to the college basketball futures odds back in October. With Kansas prohibitive 1/4 chalk to win the conference then, Texas checked in at 5/2 with the Cyclones 5/1.
The Cyclones are playing their third consecutive ranked opponent, the second time this season the schedule has presented such a hurdle For Fred Hoiberg's club. They were solid in Saturday's win at home vs. West Virginia, but the road has been an entirely different story for Iowa State. The loss at Texas Tech can never be explained, that one coming as 10 point road chalk on the NCAA basketball odds, and starting a 3-game away slide for Iowa State as it heads into this one.
Cowboys Should Be Mad After Losing To Frogs
Granted, Oklahoma State (17-8 SU, 13-9 ATS) was only 3 point chalk on the road in Ft. Worth against the TCU Horned Frogs. Still, it was a big upset as the Cowboys failed to show up in a 70-55 decision to a team that has lost 29 of its last 31 Big 12 clashes.
That put the squash on a 3-game run both straight up and against the spread, but continued a recent 'over' trend for Oklahoma State with three of the last four scooting above the totals. The 'over' winners are despite the Cowboys leading the Big 12 in giving up only 61.5 PPG on the league fixture.
I like Hoiberg's team, but they cannot be trusted on the road right now which is why I'll be backing the home side with my free NCAA Basketball pick in this Big 12 battle.
My free NCAA Basketball pick: Oklahoma State -2
Season: 48-41-1 (+2.9)