Here we go with our first Saturday of picks during hoops season. We finished the football season 11 games over .500 … hoping for the same success here!
#17 West Virginia vs. Texas Tech
Texas Tech is coming off a humiliating 81-36 loss to Oklahoma. Tech is a young team, and is far worse on the road than at home. The Red Raiders have yet to win away from home this season, and there is no worse travel for any team in the Big 12 than making the trek to Morgantown. While Bob Huggins’ style does not usually result in blow outs, their non-stop pressure, on the road, will sink a young Red Raider squad… and fast.
The Pick: WVU – 16
#15 Iowa State vs. TCU
TCU is getting better each and every game. The past week includes very tight losses to West Virginia and Kansas. On the other hand, people have cooled off on the Cyclones. Since their big home win over Kansas, they have a loss at Texas Tech, and a 3 point win against Texas. This is a recipe for a line that is too low. Iowa State is a completely different team at home, averaging 84 points per game, while allowing 67, compared to on the road of 77.5 for and 75 against. The Cyclones have won 18 straight at Hilton Coliseum. Expect plenty of magic tomorrow.
The Pick: Iowa State -10
#9 Kansas vs. Kansas State
Since conference play began, K-State has been the biggest surprise in the Big 12. Even though the Wildcats have slowed down a bit, losing two of three, they have yet to be blown out in any game. In fact, of their 9 losses this season, only 2 are by double digits (Arizona/Oklahoma State). Meanwhile, Kansas is miraculously still in first place in the conference, but the credit can go to Bill Self. His team is young and mistaken prone, but it steadily improving. If both teams were at full health, I’d take K-State to cover. But the loss of Nino Williams is a game changer. He’s out after hurting his knee in last week’s loss to WVU. Williams is the team’s second leading scorer, leading rebounder, and is a senior – which is invaluable in a tough, road rivalry.
The Pick: Kansas -11
#19 Texas @ #20 Baylor
These teams mirror each other in a weird way. Both are two of the best rebounding teams in the country, have top-25 defenses in points allowed per game, and have coaches who are great recruiters, but can be exposed during game time. Both teams are 3-4 in conference play, and desperately need this week. Since they are so similar, with equal motivation for a win, I’ll go with a tight game.
The Pick: Texas +4.5
#24 Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State
Last time these two teams met, it was in Norman, and the Sooners rolled to a 17-point win. I know it’s a rivalry game, and now on Oklahoma State’s court, but the line favoring the Cowboys is bizarre. They have been an inconsistent team all season long, and Lon Kruger is on a different coaching planet than Travis Ford. Oklahoma State has the best scoring defense in the league, but offensively they can really struggle at times. The Sooners bounced back from a couple of tough road losses (KU/Baylor) to crush Texas Tech by 45. I can’t talk myself into going against OU.
The Pick: Oklahoma +2