Oklahome vs. Iowa State
The first day of February is packed with a huge slate of college hoops action, and the Iowa State-Oklahoma battle is one of three contests pitting ranked clubs, two of those involving the Big 12. Tip-off at Hilton Coliseum is a little past 4 PM (ET), and ESPN3 will stream the matchup.
Despite recent struggles, Iowa State started the proceedings as 7.5 point chalk, and that number rose a point in overnight trading. Lazy and/or timid linesmen have yet to release a total for the match, so keep an eye on SBR's live NCAA basketball odds for the number. My guess is 165.
The No. 16/18 Cyclones saw their unbeaten start dashed by the No. 23/25 Sooners about three weeks ago in Norman, and Iowa State has since dropped three of their four ensuing games to fall into the second half of the conference standings. Oklahoma's 87-82 takedown of ISU came as a 4.5 point underdog, and the Sooners earned the victory on the glass with a 41-34 rebounding margin (13-6 on the offensive end) and by outscoring the Cyclones 39-18 from 3-point range.
Oklahoma owns a 112-81 all-time advantage vs. Iowa State, and the Jan. 11 encounter slid past the total with a half-point to spare at most online sportsbooks, leaving 'over' bettors a very happy 10-1 in the last 11 series meetings.
OU Riding 4-Game Win Streak Into Ames
Lon Kruger brings Oklahoma (17-4 straight up, 11-8 against the spread) into Saturday's tilt second in the conference, 1.5-games behind the Kansas Jayhawks and sporting a 4-game win streak. The Sooners covered three of those four wins, and four of their five trips to the floor since beating Iowa State failed to reach the total.
The lone 'over' in that span came at home this past Monday when Oklahoma posted its second straight victory as an underdog, beating rival Oklahoma State by an 88-76 count. Just like they did vs. the Cyclones last month, the Sooners won the rebounding battle and were an efficient 8-of-17 from beyond the arc.
Ryan Spangler was the man of the hour for OU, posting his fourth double-double of the conference season and ninth overall. The sophomore forward scored 15 and grabbed 17 boards during his 25 minutes of floor time, and the Sooners also got a season-high 15 from senior Tyler Neal who canned all three of his 3-point tries.
Oklahoma is 3-1 outright and vs. the NCAA basketball odds in Big 12 road games so far, the only losses in both columns coming at Kansas State just following the upset of the Cyclones.
Cyclones In Midst Of Tough 4-Game Stretch
Iowa State (15-4 SU, 8-8-1 ATS) has failed to cover any of its last five games, and a win Saturday is a must if head coach Fred Hoiberg is going to get his squad turned around. The Sooners present the Cyclones with their fifth ranked opponent in seven games, and a trip to Stillwater to meet the No. 8 Oklahoma State Cowboys looms on the schedule to begin next week.
Offense is not the problem for the Cyclones who are tied for fifth nationally averaging 84.6 PPG, and 34th in the country in marksmanship with a 47.7% field goal clip. But on the other end of the court, Iowa State is having problems, big problems. The Cyclones are surrendering 78.7 PPG in conference play, last in the Big 12, and they're eighth among league teams letting opponents sink nearly 40% from long-range.
I don't know about you, but I can't muster up enough confidence to lay that many points on the Cyclones right now, which can only mean the Sooners plus the points are being added to my free NCAA basketball picks cart for the day.
My pick: Oklahoma +8.5