Baylor returns to the court for the first time in three weeks with a tough three-day stretch. First up is one of the three teams to come within 11 points of them this season—Iowa State. Let’s see their NCAAB odds.
Iowa State Cyclones vs. Baylor Bears
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 – 8:00 PM ET at Ferrell Center
After a three-week hiatus due to COVID testing and tracing, Baylor will return to the court on Tuesday night.
The Bears won’t be easing back into their schedule. They will put its undefeated record and No. 2 ranking up against a pair of Big Twelve foes in a 48-hour span. Thursday, No. 10 West Virginia comes to Waco, but before that showdown, the Bears must get past one of the three teams to come within a dozen points of them this season.
Kansas and Oklahoma State, both nationally ranked, lost by eight to Baylor in back-to-back January games, but before that, lowly Iowa State lost a 76-65 game against the Bears in their first meeting this season. Now Iowa State returns for a rematch.
Baylor is running away with the Big Twelve. At 17-0, 9-0, the Bears are off to the best start in program history and have a four-game lead in the loss column over the rest of the conference.
Iowa State, meanwhile, is having a historically bad season. The Cyclones are 2-16 and winless in 13 Big Twelve games. They have yet to win in the 2021 calendar year and are riding an 11-game losing streak.
The Cyclones have lost big—with four losses this season by 25 points or more, including a 97-64 beat down at Kansas—and they’ve lost heartbreakers. Six league losses have come by single digits, including a three-game stretch against West Virginia and at Oklahoma and TCU, which were decided by a total of 14 points.
Strong Showing in Ames
In the first game with Baylor, Iowa State kept things much closer than expected, leading 55-53 in the second half and playing Baylor closer than anyone had up until that point this season. In the final three minutes, Iowa State was down just five points before the margin increased as Baylor made free throws.
How did the Cyclones do it? And can they use the same script in the rematch? Iowa State slowed things down against Baylor. The Cyclones were the first opponent this season to hold Baylor below 82 points and still held the Bears to their third-lowest scoring output this year.
Iowa State also harassed Baylor on defense, with the Bears posting their worst shooting night of the year, including a 4-of-19 performance from three.
Coming back from a three-week COVID break, the Bears’ conditioning will be a question mark, and rust could impact their shooting accuracy. So the blueprint should be even more effective in the rematch.
Baylor has missed its last six games as the Bears coped with testing and tracing issues in the program. In the meantime, the players have tried to avoid rust while feeling grounded.
“Seeing everybody else play, I kind of feel like I’ve been missing out,” junior guard Jared Butler said. “What do you call it when your parents punish you and you can’t go outside and play with your friends? That’s what it’s been feeling like.”
With players serving quarantines, Baylor hasn’t just lost the opportunity to play games. For much of the three weeks, there wasn’t a full team available for practice.
“I’m not even sure how much they’ve practiced,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “Have they practiced all week or has it just been two or three days? From that standpoint, hopefully it gives us an opportunity to get off to a good start. We know how good they are.”
Iowa State couldn’t ask for a better situation. The Bears will be fighting through the perfect storm—rusty from three weeks off and looking ahead to No. 10 West Virginia.
Unfortunately for Baylor, this isn’t the first time the Bears have had to deal with this. As coach Scott Drew said, “We’ve had a couple restarts, so we’ve gotten used to that part.”
With the end of the regular season in sight and the chance to enter the postseason undefeated, look in your NCAAB picks for Baylor to focus on a team that put a scare into them last month and ride the emotion from its return to the floor.
Iowa State just doesn’t have the personnel to match up with one of the best teams in the nation.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.