NCAA Basketball Picks: Lay The Points When West Virginia Meets Iowa St. In Big 12 Matchup

Willie Bee

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 1:43 PM GMT

Ranked Big 12 teams coming off losses square off Tuesday night in the heartland, and SBR is here with a preview and free NCAA basketball picks for the West Virginia-Iowa State battle.

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

 

We all knew before last Saturday's Big 12/SEC Challenge that the former was a better conference overall than the latter. A 7-3 mark for the Big 12 in the games a few days ago presents at least some evidence in favor of that statement.

Two of the three losses, however, were by a couple of the Big 12's best, the West Virginia Mountaineers and Iowa State Cyclones, giving us an interesting dynamic when the teams meet Tuesday evening in Ames. ESPN2 will begin its broadcast at 9 PM (ET) and the Cyclones are giving up 4½ on the morning line with 157 the total at Bookmaker.

It's the first of two meetings for the schools, the Cyclones making their visit to Morgantown in about three weeks. As you would expect with this being just the fourth Big 12 season for West Virginia, there isn't a lot of history between the two teams. All there is has come in the last three seasons, Iowa State winning five of the six matchups including a sweep in 2015.

The game that took place in Ames a year ago was on Valentine's Day, and the Cyclones heated up in the second half for a 79-59 victory, plenty enough of a margin to cover a -7 line on the NCAA basketball odds. That game fell short of the total, as did the other two at Hilton Coliseum, and the spread win was Iowa State's fourth in six clashes with WVU.

 

Mountaineers Off Sloppy Performance Against Gators
As inept as West Virginia (17-4 straight up, 11-7 against the spread) looked against Iowa State on this floor last February, multiply that by about five and you have an idea how poorly the Mountaineers played last Saturday at Florida. The 88-71 final doesn't really do justice for Florida's dominance in the game, never trailing in the contest and closing the first half on a 14-3 run.

The loss dropped West Virginia from No. 9 in both polls to No. 14/12 in the updated rankings on Monday. Since sitting 15-1 following a big upset over then-No. 1 Kansas, the Mountaineers have gone 2-3 (3-2 ATS) with five of their last seven cashing 'under' tickets.

They were playing for the first time this year without Jonathan Holton, the senior forward suspended for at least three games by Bob Huggins due to one of those team rules violation things. Not a good time for anyone, especially a senior to act up with Baylor on deck this Saturday followed by a trip to Kansas. Holton was fifth on the team in scoring (9.7 ppg) and second in rebounds (7.5 rpg)

 

Cyclones 10-1 At Home This Season
Things weren't nearly as bad for Iowa State (16-5 SU, 10-7-1 ATS) in College Station as they were for WVU in Gainesville, but the end result was still a loss. The Hawkeyes kept things close against Texas A&M, even holding a 58-56 lead with a little more than four minutes to go, but things unraveled quickly in the 72-62 setback. Steve Prohm's side was getting 4 on the road, but played with too many starters in foul trouble the second half to pull off the upset.

Two Cyclones that did indeed foul out were forward Georges Niang and Jameel McKay, Niang also bothered by a thigh injury. The star senior leads the team with a 19.0scoring average, one of six ISU players averaging at least 10 PPG, and he's officially listed as probable for Tuesday's skirmish with West Virginia.

I can only guess that Huggins has told his team not to perform a pregame dance at center court for this one as they did at Florida last Saturday, firing up the Gators from the get-go. I'm liking the Cyclones for my free NCAA basketball pick in this Big 12 contest.

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