Offense Accents Iowa State-West Virginia Big 12 Matchup

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Friday, March 3, 2017 3:09 PM GMT

Will seven be a lucky number for No. 24 Iowa State on Friday when the Cyclones take their 6-game win streak on the road to No. 10 West Virginia? Check out our free college basketball pick.

Kansas is going to sit as the No. 1 seed in next week's Big 12 Tournament, which, by the way, is being played less than an hour from the Jayhawks' campus. That news shouldn't shock even the most casual of college basketball fans or bettors.

What might surprise some folks, however, is after playing fourth, fifth, even sixth fiddle in the conference, the No. 24 Iowa State Cyclones have a shot at locking up the No. 2 seed for the tourney, which means not having to cross Kansas' path until the championship game. It certainly won't be an easy task Friday going up against the No. 10 West Virginia Mountaineers in a tough Morgantown venue where ESPN2's cameras start rolling at 7 PM (ET). The numbers we're seeing at SBR's top sportsbook suggest it won't happen as West Virginia is 7½-point chalk with 153½ for the total.

 

Cyclones On 6-Game Run, 6-2 ATS Last 8

Iowa State (20-9 straight up, 15-11 against the spread) can clinch the second-best record in the Big 12 with a win, whereas a loss drops Steve Prohm's troops down to No. 4. A victory would also give the Cyclones a split in their season series with the Mountaineers after dropping an 85-72 decision in Ames at the end of January. Closing as a 2½-point home underdog on the NCAA basketball odds, Iowa State went cold in the second half to fall, which was then its fourth defeat in six games.

The Cyclones have lost just once since, entering this on a 6-game win streak and having covered 6 of 8 contests since falling to West Virginia. Their chances of making the NCAA Tournament seemed iffy after that defeat, but thanks to wins over both Kansas and Baylor in February, ISU is looking at a No. 6-7 seed now, maybe higher depending on tonight's performance and how they do in the conference tourney.

 

Ahmad Expected To Miss 4th Straight For WVU

While Iowa State was beating the Jayhawks and Bears last month, West Virginia (23-7 SU, 13-12 ATS) was losing in Lawrence and Waco. Bob Huggins' kids were 1-point underdogs last Saturday at Baylor only to be manhandled on the glass in a 71-62 setback after leading at intermission. It didn't help that the Mountaineers were without Esa Ahmad for a third straight contest, and the sophomore forward is questionable to take the floor again this evening.

The win over Iowa State in January was West Virginia's third straight in the series that is still young and fresh with tonight's tilt only the 10th meeting. Iowa State has a 5-4 edge and has held its own in Morgantown by splitting the four games at WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers won and covered last year's battle here with a 97-87 decision. It has been more than two months since either team laced them up for a Friday fracas, so it could be a bit weird for both sides leading up to the tip. I think they'll both calm any nerves early, though, which is why I'm going 'over' with my free college basketball pick. Season record: 42-37-3 (+1.30).

NCAAB Free Pick: 'Over' 153.5Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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