Iowa State To Hold Their Own Against West Virginia In Big 12 Championship Game

Jay Pryce

Saturday, March 11, 2017 2:16 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 11, 2017 2:16 PM UTC

West Virginia is favorite to win its first conference tournament since taking the 2010 Big East crown. Today, they square off against Iowa State in the Big 12 title game, and our capper has an underdog pick that will make this a profitable Saturday.

 Iowa State vs West Virginia

Iowa State walloped TCU 84-63 on Friday to reach its third Big 12 title game in the last four years. The fourth-seeded Cyclones, ranked No. 23 in the country, are red hot offensively. In the betting market, they have scored more than their projected team total in nine straight games. What’s the catalyst?  Iowa State is on fire from behind the arc.

Head coach Steve Prohm’s group has hit 12 3-pointers in each game of the tournament, averaging 11.9 per contest since February 1—a stretch of 11 games. What is even more remarkable is the fact it is draining them at a 47.2 percent rate in this span.

The best news for Iowa State fans, considering its matchup with Press Virginia, is the fact it has turned the ball over 15 times in two games this tournament. Prohm’s squad is one of the best at protecting the ball, gifting only 10.1 turnovers per game, seventh nationally. West Virginia, which is tops in the country with 20.7 takeaways per game, averaged 14 in a pair of meetings with the Cyclones earlier this year.

West Virginia won and covered in both matchups. In January, it trounced Iowa State 85-72 in Ames as 2-point chalk. The Mountaineers, tipping off 8-point favorites, then closed out the regular season at WVU Coliseum with a 87-76 victory just eight days ago. Bob Huggins’ press wore down the Cyclones late in each, limiting them to 32 and 34 points in the second half.

In order for West Virginia to sweep the trio of games, it will have to shoot much better than in its 51-50 semifinal victory over Kansas State. A gutsy performance, Huggins’ group scored just 16 first half points, shooting an anemic 26.7 percent (16-for-60) from the floor overall. Per ESPN, it marked the lowest field goal percentage in a victory for any team in a major conference all season.

Still, West Virginia’s defense is strong enough to win any game on its own. The unit ranks fourth in efficiency nationally according to Kenpom. In the semifinals, it held the Wildcats to just four field goals over the final 13 minutes to help overcome a double-digit deficit.

Oddsmakers have yet to set a line as of publication (editor's note: at press time only two books had posted lines), but look for West Virginia to open around a 3 or 4-point favorite with a game total in the high 140s. The Cyclones present value at these numbers. They are 9-2 SU in the Big 12 tourney over the past four seasons, and have never lost in three title game appearances. Ames is barely 200 miles from Kansas City, and the fans travel well. Couple that with the Cyclones’ underdog status, and they will enjoy a homecourt edge in a close matchup.  Iowa State on the money line is the NCAAB pick.

Free NCAAB Pick: Iowa State +270*Best Line Offered: at WagerWeb

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*Editor's note: most sportsbooks have not yet released lines for this game. Above Widget will populate as soon as lines become available. Please chec back to compare for the best available odds.

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