#Betting101: Are the Iowa State Cyclones All That?

Jason Lake

Monday, December 18, 2017 3:13 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 3:13 PM UTC

The Big 12 has ruled college basketball for a while now, but it might be time to fade that conference for your NCAAB picks – especially when it comes to the Iowa State Cyclones.

When you think of college basketball, you probably think about the Atlantic Coast Conference. It’s only natural; the ACC features the Duke Blue Devils and the reigning champion North Carolina Tar Heels. But according to the Simple Rating System numbers at Sports Reference, the Big 12 has been the best conference in Division I since 2013, and it is doing it again this year at plus-17.56 SRS, well ahead of the second-place ACC at plus-14.05.

In theory, this gap between perception and reality can help us with our college basketball picks while we’re still in the non-conference portion of the schedule. But the Big 12 isn’t keeping up with the market; only three of the conference’s 10 teams have profitable ATS records at press time, while nine of the ACC’s 15 teams are in the black – including Duke and North Carolina. Maybe it’s time to “sell high” on the Big 12 instead. It had it too good for too long.

Cyclonic Rift

We’re not talking about the Kansas Jayhawks (8-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) in this case. Kansas has already shed some of its public luster, losing back-to-back games to Washington (+21.5 on neutral ground) and Arizona State (+12 away) to fall to No. 13 on the Week 6 AP poll. That’s a fair bit below KU's No. 9 spot on Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency charts at press time. The Jayhawks have also been a tad unfortunate thus far, according to their minus-0.19 Luck Factor.

Instead, let’s consider the luckiest team in the Big 12: the Iowa State Cyclones. The Cyclones are sailing along at 8-2 SU and 3-5-1 ATS, winning eight straight games after a slow start. But they’re the worst team in the Big 12 according to their plus-9.0 SRS, and their plus-0.133 Luck Factor ranks No. 24 overall in Division I. Seems like there’s room for some regression here.

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Iowa State 8-2 with a bunch of transfers and freshmen? This experiment has never worked in Iowa City

— Fake Fred Hoiberg (@fauxHoiberg) December 16, 2017

The next game for Iowa State is Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET) at home vs. the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks of the MEAC. This is one of the very worst teams in Division I, ranking No. 344 out of the 351 teams in efficiency. Sadly, the Hawks also rank No. 36 in Luck Factor at plus-0.109, despite dropping two of their three games on the NCAAB odds board. But they’ve also played one of the toughest schedules around, far more difficult than what the Cyclones (No. 59 in efficiency) have faced. Consider Maryland-Eastern Shore for a possible bet here in ISU’s last non-con game before hitting the Big 12 part of the schedule.

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