Oklahoma State to Cover vs. TCU for NCAA Basketball Picks

Willie Bee

Monday, February 24, 2014 1:38 PM GMT

Marcus Smart says he has learned his lesson and is ready to get back to being a leader for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. But will his newfound sense of leadership be enough to get the Cowboys turned around and back into contention after such a promising start to the 2013-14 campaign was derailed?

Smart and the Cowboys will try and take another step towards that turnaround Monday night when they travel to Ft. Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs. Tip-off at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum is set for a little past 7 PM (ET), and ESPNU will televise the affair. 

SBR's live college basketball odds lists Oklahoma State as 12.5 point favorites, up a point from the opener. Monday's total has shrunk to 139 after beginning at 140.5. 

It's the second meeting between the two this season, and 21st overall. The Cowboys demolished the Frogs in Stillwater about five weeks ago, easily covering a 20 point chalk line with an 82-50 triumph. Smart led four OSU players in double-figures with 20 points, and the final fell a dozen points short of the total. 

The victory was the ninth straight in the series for Oklahoma State, adding to a 20-2 all-time record vs. Texas Christian.

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Cowboys Look To Build Off Slump-Busting Victory

Ranked as high as fifth in the country at one point, Oklahoma State (17-10 straight up, 8-14 against the spread) has since dropped well to the back of the pack in the Big 12 with a 5-9 conference mark. Travis Ford's troops were already in freefall before Smart shoved a Texas Tech fan in Lubbock on Feb. 8, resulting in a 3-game suspension for the sophomore guard.

The Cowboys lost all three games while Smart sat, running their losing skid to seven with a 70-64 overtime setback to Baylor in Waco a week ago. Smart returned to the floor this past Saturday at home, and helped OSU end that streak with an 84-62 home win vs. Texas Tech to gain a little revenge against the Red Raiders. All five Cowboy starters scored in double-digits, led by Le'Bryan Nash's 21 points. 

Smart definitely came to play Saturday when he stuffed his boxscore with 16 points, 10 assists and six steals. Oklahoma State shot better than 50% as a team for the first time since the Big 12 schedule cranked up, and enjoyed one if its best performances of the year from the free-throw line.

Frogs Still In Search Of 1st Conference Dubya

Texas Christian (9-17 SU, 11-9 ATS) is in search of a slump-busting victory of its own. Trent Johnson's gang last tasted victory at the end of December, dropping all 14 conference games since that point with offense a key reason why. 

The Horned Frogs rank near the bottom of the country averaging 64.3 points per game, that figure more than five points lower in conference action. Dead last in the Big 12 hitting just 38% of field goals vs. Big 12 opponents, putting points on the board Monday could be even tougher with Amric Fields listed as doubtful.

Fields missed Saturday's 71-60 loss to Iowa State due to a knee injury, and the absence of the 6-9 junior forward is forcing Johnson to put a much smaller team on the floor. Fields ranks second for the Horned Frogs in both scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.1 rpg). 

TCU has never beaten the Cowboys in front of a Cowtown crowd, and there's really no reason to think that will change tonight despite the fact Oklahoma State only winning once on the Big 12 highway this season. I'm going to stake my confidence in Smart and OSU getting the job done once again with a free pick on the Cowboys. 

My pick: Oklahoma State -12.5