This handicapper is encouraged after going two-for-two with Tuesday's College Basketball picks yesterday, but we know enough to stay humble in offering our free Picks of the Day for Wednesday.
Iowa State vs. Baylor -2
The 12-3 Bears, perhaps playing a bit above their heads so far this season, host the 12-2 Cyclones.
Baylor started 11-1 this season, with wins over South Carolina, Memphis, Vandy and Texas A&M, the loss coming against Illinois. But the Bears then lost their first two Big 12 games, to Oklahoma and Kansas, covering the spread in neither game. Baylor was actually favored by three points at home against the Jayhawks, but shot just 34 percent from the floor and lost straight-up.
Iowa State started 3-0 this season, then lost to what looks like a pretty good Maryland team 72-63. The Cyclones then won seven in a row, before losing to South Carolina. ISU has since won its first two Big 12 games, beating Oklahoma State 63-61 and, last Saturday, much to our delight, winning at West Virginia 74-72. The Cyclones couldn't cover as eight-point home favorites against the Cowboys, but won outright as four-point dogs in Morgantown.
Iowa State shot 50 percent from the floor against the Mountaineers, although they also committed 18 turnovers. Let's hope the Mayor has been working on that this week.
Bottom line here, Iowa State shoots the ball better than Baylor, and overall is just the better team. When the dust clears in the Big 12 come March the Cyclones should be in the top three, while the Bears will probably end up somewhere in the middle of the pack. So just like last Saturday, when we cashed in on Iowa State getting +195 on the moneyline against West Virginia, we'll take the underdog 'Clones to win again.
Free College Basketball Pick: Cyclones +117 on the moneyline at Pinnacle
San Diego State vs. Wyoming -1.5
In what should be a slugfest out in the Mountain West the 15-2 Cowboys host the 12-4 Aztecs.
The Cowboys, who haven't made the NCAA tournament since 2002, might be thinking they've got a sniff this season, and a victory in this spot sure would help. Wyoming started 7-0, lost two of three, to SMU and Cal, but has since won seven more in a row. Last time out the Cowboys outlasted Boise State 65-54, as they shot 54 percent from the floor, made 14 of 16 free-throws, won the battle on the boards by a 30-19 margin and covered as seven-point favorites.
San Diego State started 5-0 this season, with wins over BYU and Pitt, then struggled through a 2-3 stretch, with losses to Arizona, Washington and Cincinnati. The Aztecs then won four in a row, lost at Fresno State, but last time out, eight days ago, beat New Mexico 56-42. San Diego State shot just 39 percent from the floor, but held the Lobos to 30 percent shooting, and covered the spread as an eight-point favorite.
Bottom line here, while San Diego State might well win the MWC again this season, Wyoming might want this one a little more. The Cowboys are shooting the ball better than the Aztecs, especially from the free-throw line. Keep inmmind before placing your NCAA Basketball pick that in what looks like it should play out as a tough, tight contest, free-throws could make the difference.
Free College Basketball Pick: Wyoming -1.5 at 5Dimes