Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 35-27-2 (+6.60 units)
Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET
Free NCAAB Pick: Cyclones ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
As the last team with an unblemished conference record in the Big 12, Chris Beard and the Texas Tech Red Raiders are enjoying their view from the top of the ranks. That view can change quickly, however, especially with a team known for taking down giants like the Iowa State Cyclones coming to town.
United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock is sold out for Wednesday night’s collision between the Red Raiders and Cyclones, leaving the rest of us to tune into ESPNU for the action. The sportsbooks agree this should be a solid defensive battle with a total in the upper-120s, Texas Tech carrying the favorites’ tag.
‘Over’ A Winner 19 Of Iowa State’s Last 28 Road Tilts
Everything started so well for the Cyclones in league play, a nice win and cover as small road favorites at Oklahoma State followed by a 77-60 whipping of then-No. 5 Kansas in Ames. That was all wiped out in successive losses at Baylor and home against Kansas State this past Saturday, Iowa State carrying chalk in both contests. Still, this is the type of game ISU gets up for; the Cyclones have 29 wins over top-25 teams since 2013-14, 5th-most in the country. The Cyclones also rarely beat themselves, committing fewer turnovers than each of their last 11 opponents and eighth in the nation with a 1.54 assist/turnover ratio.
Though they’ve been allowing a few more points in Big 12 play (59.7PPG), the Red Raiders still rank second nationally to Virginia giving up just 54 PPG for the season. Likewise, Texas Tech sits just behind the Cavaliers in perimeter defense by allowing opponents to hit 25.4% from 3-point range, and that has held up in conference action (25-101, 24.7%). The Red Raiders covered the NCAA basketball odds for the first time since mid-December last Saturday in Austin, using a big second half to come away with a 68-62 win over the Longhorns as small underdogs.
‘Under’ Cashes 10 Of Last 14 Matchups
After splitting last year’s matchups with home wins and covers, Iowa State holds a 33-19 advantage in the rivalry, all but two of those contests coming as Big 12 rivals. Texas Tech does own a 10-5 edge in the games played in Lubbock, however, and throttled the Cyclones at home with a 76-58 decision as 14-point chalk. Iowa State did post a mild 82-80 upset in overtime in Lubbock two seasons ago, the only ‘over’ winner in the last four meetings.
Iowa State didn’t respond well to K-State’s defense last weekend, and Tech’s is a step above that. Still, I believe enough in the Cyclones to stay inside this number to make them my free NCAA basketball pick.