NCAA Basketball Picks: Baylor vs. Oklahoma State

David Lawrence

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 4:00 PM GMT

The Baylor Bears must make the final round of the 2013 Big 12 Conference Tournament to have any remote shot at an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

College Basketball Betting – Baylor vs. Oklahoma State Picks

They're living on the edge. Here’s a look at their matchup with Oklahoma State as well as a prediction on the college basketball betting odds.

Baylor can win because…

It will be playing with a considerable degree of urgency. The Bears have a lot more to play for than Oklahoma State. Such is the dynamic of conference tournaments.

Oklahoma State is playing for seeding in the NCAA tournament but Baylor is playing for its NCAA tournament life. The Bears lost a lot of games down the stretch, falling to the likes of Texas, Iowa State, and Oklahoma to fall to sixth place in the Big 12. Baylor has been swept by both Iowa State and Oklahoma this season, which is a big reason why Baylor is clearly the Big 12 bubble team that has no margin for error at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The absence of any cushion or security will give Baylor the motivational push it needs to beat Oklahoma State.

Moreover, it's not as though this is a bad matchup for the Bears. They won by 10 at home and lost by only two points on the road in overtime. The quickness of Baylor point guard Pierre Jackson gives Oklahoma State fits. One can easily see the Bears taking command of this contest; their talent level was evident in Saturday's 81-58 win over league co-champion Kansas. Like many underachieving regular season teams in college basketball, Baylor gets a fresh start in its conference tournament and could very well make the most of it.

Oklahoma State can win because…

The Cowboys have been a clutch team this season. They are a team of playmakers that has compiled one of the best seasons in the country when measured against expectations. College basketball pundits were not anticipating a huge season from the Cowboys but Coach Travis Ford, who was under fire at the start of the campaign, put the pieces together this season.

Oklahoma State is a tough team to beat - and play, and defend - because it has three versatile and agile scorers: Marcus Smart, Markel Brown, and Le'Bryan Nash. Having multiple dependable options late in games enables OSU to attack defenses in different ways. Smart has developed a knack for being a crunch-time closer, something any upper-tier team needs in the cauldron of March Madness pressure.

Baylor is likely to play this game close but Oklahoma State is likely to win it because it has the better, more consistent players on the floor. Baylor is quite gifted, but losses to the likes of Texas and - earlier in the season - Northwestern and the College of Charleston underscore the Bears' erratic identity. The Cowboys are the team one should trust in the heat of battle.

[gameodds]14/224352/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & College Basketball Betting Prediction:

This feels like a toss-up but Oklahoma State has been making winning plays all season long whereas Baylor shows up once in a while, normally on its home floor. Take Oklahoma State for your basketball picks in a neutral environment in Kansas City.

College Basketball Pick: Oklahoma State -2.5 at Bookmaker.eu