High/Low Picks For Wednesday, February 15

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 9:44 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017 9:44 PM UTC

The biggest spread on the opening NCAA basketball board for Wednesday is No. 19 SMU as one of the largest favorites in weeks against a bad Tulane side, while the smallest number is between Oklahoma State and TCU. Here are my picks.

Tulane At No. 19 SMU (-26)

An American Athletic Conference matchup, and I won’t bury the lead: this screams potential letdown game for the No. 19 Mustangs in my opinion. Why? SMU (22-4, 12-1) comes off easily its biggest win of the season, 60-51 over then-No. 11 Cincinnati on Sunday to end the Bearcats’ 15-game winning streak and extend the Mustangs’ own winning streak to eight in a row – their only loss in the past 19 games was at Cincinnati on Jan. 12.  They also have won 19 straight at home. Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye had 18 points to lead SMU on Sunday, while Ben Emelogu hit two 3-pointers and made the tiebreaking free throw in the game-deciding 15-0 run. SMU is one of the nation’s top defensive teams and has held 19 consecutive opponents to 66 points or less. For the season, SMU ranks third in the nation in scoring defense (58.0), 12th in field goal defense (38.4) and third in rebound margin (+10.9). Ojeleye has been a revelation, averaging 18.2 points and connecting on 42.3 percent of his 3-point attempts on the year. The junior was named the AAC Player of the Week on Monday.

Tulane (4-20, 1-11) is simply terrible. The Green Wave’s wins this year are over SE Louisiana, Southern, U, Southern Miss and South Florida. Tulane enters on an eight-game skid following a 91-62 home loss to Houston last Wednesday – so at least the players will be well-rested. Tulane was outscored 36-16 in the paint and 27-9 off turnovers. Green Wave junior Cameron Reynolds ranks fifth in The American in scoring (15.9) and eighth in three-point field goals made (52). Tulane has lost four straight and six of the past seven vs. SMU. It was 80-64 on Jan. 15 in New Orleans. The Mustangs only led by two at halftime.

The Green Wave are 4-1 ATS in their past five road games. I think SMU takes this one lightly.

NCAAB Free Pick: Tulane +26Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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 Oklahoma State At TCU (+1)

Big 12 matchup and a big one for TCU as it’s on the NCAA Tournament bubble at 17-8 overall and 6-6 in the conference. ESPN’s projections do have the Frogs in the Dance currently as a No. 10 seed. Former Pitt coach Jamie Dixon has done a fine job at his alma mater. Dixon has coached as many conference wins (6) as TCU had in the last three years combined.  Among major conference teams, TCU has the third-longest NCAA Tournament drought in not making it since 1998. Only Northwestern (never) and Rutgers (1991) have gone longer. Going from 12-21 last season to 17-8 this season, TCU is the 12th most-improved team in the nation. The loss differential is four shy of the nation's most-improved team, Minnesota (13). TCU did have a three-game winning streak snapped last time out in losing 70-52 at No. 6 Baylor on Saturday. But the Frogs are 13-3 at home, three wins shy of school single-season record set in the 1997-98 season.

Oklahoma State (16-9, 5-7) has an excellent RPI if 28 so ESPN projects the Pokes in the NCAA Tournament despite the losing record in conference. OSU lost its first six Big 12 games. But the Cowboys have won five of their past six in league play and six of their past seven overall after also defeating Arkansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Cowboys are led Juwan Evans (18.0 ppg) and Jeffrey Carroll (17.5 ppg), who rank second and third, respectively, in the conference in scoring.  OSU beat TCU 89-76 on Jan. 23 and never trailed. Evans had 27 points and eight assists and Carroll 19 points and 10 rebounds. Up 67-63 with 5:53 remaining, the Cowboys went on a 12-2 run over the next two and a half minutes.

The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings and I like that trend to continue.

NCAAB Free Pick: TCU +1Best Line Offered: Heritage

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