NCAA Basketball Picks: Can Wichita State Cover Double Digits?

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 3:26 PM GMT

Wichita State has raised its level of play in conference action, but it may find it hard to cover once again as double-digit road favorites against Missouri State Wednesday.

Impressive Numbers
Wichita returns to the scene of last year’s closest regular season call when it travels to JQH Arena, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks, as it earned a 72-69 overtime victory over Missouri State as 9.5-point road favorites.

The Shockers own the longest conference win streak in modern Missouri Valley history at 24 games, while they’ve also produced 12 consecutive victories on the road in that situation.

It’s important to point out that the program’s 43-9 SU road record since 2010-11 leads all teams nationally. Over the last two-plus seasons, the team is 21-2 SU and 15-8 ATS in January.

 

Missing Piece
Missouri State has failed to break the 56-point barrier in dropping its last four contests, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college basketball odds, especially since it prepares to play its third game without the services of suspended star Marcus Marshall.

The Bears leading scorer was dismissed from the team for detrimental conduct—a significant loss due to the face he was averaging 19.5 points at the time. Wichita native Gavin Thurman will need to provide a scoring lift off the bench, as he’s scored 39 points in his last three games in this Missouri Valley rivalry.

Sports bettors will find that the squad is 20-26 SU and 30-15-1 ATS versus conference foes since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

 

Slow Play
The Shockers rank 311th out of 351 Division I teams in terms of averaging just 62.2 offensive possessions, but their ability to rebound and take care of the basketball allow them to outscore opponents by an average of 13.9 points.

Wichita State has yet to turn the ball over more than the opposition through 18 games, with each of its three starting guards collecting more steals than turnovers.

Check out Joe Gavazzi's Top Offensive Rankings here.

Matching Up
With two of the top three crowds in the history of this venue occurring with the Shockers in town, the Bears will enjoy some sort of home-court advantage, as they look to avoid dropping three consecutive games at this venue for the first time since 2008-09.

Missouri State comes into this matchup ranked eighth nationally in averaging just 9.9 turnovers, which is important due to Wichita State forcing opponents into making mistakes on 22 percent of its offensive possessions.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bears as one of their top NCAA basketball picks, as the home team has covered the number in six of the last seven meetings in this series.

Wichita State has also gone 0-3 ATS as road favorites of 12.5 or more points this season.

Free College Basketball Pick:  Missouri State Bears +13.5 at 5Dimes