NCAA Basketball - Favorites Iowa St To Overpower Iowa In Rivalry Game

Iowa  State players basketball

Willie Bee

Thursday, December 8, 2016 1:09 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 1:09 PM GMT

The Big 12 and Big Ten collide on the hardwood tonight when rivals Iowa State and Iowa meet, and we've got a free NCAA basketball pick for the battle in Hawkeye country.

Season: 13-11 (0.90)

Another interconference, in-state rivalry is in store for college basketball bettors and fans on Thursday, and this one takes place in the frozen America heartland as the Iowa Hawkeyes entertain the Iowa State Cyclones.

Iowa State will make the 130-mile jaunt east from Ames for the annual get-together, arriving in Iowa City as 4½ point chalk after that spread opened a point higher at Bookmaker. The wind chill outside Carver-Hawkeye Arena when ESPN2 begins its 8 PM (ET) broadcast should be single digits; inside, the total has been set at 156.

 

Both Sides Coming Off Monday Victories

Iowa State fell a few rungs in the latest rankings after back-to-back losses by a combined three points. The first came to Gonzaga in the AdvoCare Invitational Championship tilt over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Cyclones still managing to cover the 73-71 final thanks to getting 4½ points. They followed that up with a 55-54 setback at home to Cincinnati, a game that went to overtime and still never threatened a 141 point total.

Steve Prohm's crew stopped that skid a few days ago with a 91-47 throttling of Nebraska-Omaha, Iowa State backers laying 18½ on the NCAA basketball odds. That contest also failed to reach the total, the 5th-straight Cyclones game to stay 'under.'

Iowa also snapped a losing streak that had swelled to four games on Monday, routing Stetson by a 95-68 count. The first three games in the skid can be excused given the opposition (Virginia, Memphis, Notre Dame), though the defeat to the Cavaliers was particularly ugly. Fran McCaffery's squad had no excuses for the fourth loss in the string, however, dropping a 98-89 decision at home to Nebraska-Omaha as 11 point chalk.

 

'Over' On 8-Game Run In Series

Iowa might lead the all-time series by a comfortable 43-26 margin, but it's Iowa State that has won the last three meetings. Last year's confrontation in Ames was a thriller, the Hawkeyes building a huge 20-point lead only to see the Cyclones rally for an 83-82 decision as 7½ point home favorites. Iowa State trailed by eight in that one with just 2:39 on the clock before scoring the game's final nine points. The Cyclones have posted dubyas in two of their last three visits to Iowa City, the only time visitors have prevailed in the last 10 clashes, and each of the last eight matchups went 'over' the totals.

As hot and cold as these two teams have run at times, coming up with a free college basketball pick ain't so easy. They sport contradicting trends in the totals column, with recent series history pointing to the high side, but I'm more confident in the Cyclones grabbing a 6-7 point win here tonight than in the total.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Iowa State -4½ Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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