Big 12 Championship Betting Selections: Baylor Bears vs #16 Iowa State Cyclones

2014 Big 12 Tournament – Championship Game
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Missouri

#7 Baylor Bears vs #4 Iowa State Cyclones
Saturday, March 15, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Iowa State -1 1/2
Current Line: Iowa State -2 1/2
Opening Total: 148
Current Total: 149
Opening Money Line: Iowa State -119 / Baylor -101
Current Money Line: Iowa State -135 / Baylor +120

Baylor is a slight underdog against Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship Saturday in Kansas City.
Baylor is a slight underdog against Iowa State in the Big 12 Championship Saturday in Kansas City.

Heading into Big 12 play in early January the Baylor Bears and Iowa State Cyclones were a combined 25-1. However, both teams got off to slow starts in Big 12 play. The Cyclones started off 1-3 with the only win coming against Baylor. The Bears were even worse at 2-8. Both teams have rebounded and will make the NCAA tournament as will five other Big 12 teams. The Big 12 is widely considered to be the deepest conference in the country.

The 25-7 Iowa State Cyclones and 24-10 Baylor Bears will meet for the Big 12 title Saturday in Kansas City. Iowa State went 11-7 in conference and tied for third with Texas. The Cyclones were the #4 seed in the Big 12 tournament because of the tiebreaker. Iowa State beat #5 seed Kansas State 91-85 in Thursday’s quarterfinals and then upset #1 seed Kansas 94-83 in the semifinals yesterday.Iowa state has won 3 straight games.

Baylor  was 9-9 in conference and tied for sixth in the conference with West Virginia. However, the Bears fell to the #7 seed because of the tiebreaker. Baylor had to play a first round game against #10 seed TCU on Wednesday night and won 76-68. The Bears upset #2 seed Oklahoma 78-73 in the quarterfinals and beat #3 seed Texas 86-69 in the semifinals last night. Baylor has won 6 straight games and 10 of the last 11.

No team seeded lower than #3 has ever won the Big 12 tournament. That will change this year. As wide open as the conference has been this season, it isn’t really a surprise that the #4 and #7 seeds advanced to the title game.

Iowa State leads the series 16-10 against Baylor, including 2-1 all-time in the Big 12 tournament. Each team won on their own home court by double digits in the two meetings this season. Iowa State opened Big 12 play January 7 with an 87-72 victory in Ames. Baylor won 74-61 in Waco March 4.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Syracuse in the Maui Invitational, at Iowa State, at Texas Tech, Oklahoma twice, Kansas twice, Texas twice,  and West Virginia. Baylor has key wins over Colorado in Dallas, South Carolina, Dayton in Maui, Kentucky in Arlington, TX, Oral Roberts, TCU twice, Oklahoma State twice, Kansas State, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Iowa State, and at Kansas State. The Bears are 13-12-2 ATS and the total is 14-11-1 this season.

Baylor is outscoring teams 76-68 this season. The Bears are shooting 45.7% from the field and 39.2% from 3 point range. Baylor is #22 nationally  in three point shooting. The Bears are #263 nationally out of 351 teams in free throw shooting making 67.1% from the line. Baylor opponents are shooting 42.2% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. The Bears average 39 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.9 per game. Baylor is #21 in rebounding and #55 in rebounds allowed nationally. The Bears average 15.5 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 5.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.6 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Baylor forward Cory Jefferson averages 13.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Guard Brady Heslip averages 11.7 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.   Center Isaiah Austin averages 11 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 3.3 blocks per game. Guard Kenny Chery averages 11.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Forward Taurean Prince averages 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Forward Rico Gathers averages 6.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Gary Franklin, Royce O’Neale, and Ish Wainwright will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Guard Allerik Freeman is out indefinitely with a broken hand, and hasn’t played yet this season.

Iowa State is coached by Fred Hoiberg. The Cyclones have losses at Oklahoma, Kansas twice, at Texas, at West Virginia, at Kansas State and at Baylor. Iowa State has wins over Michigan, at BYU, Auburn, Northern Iowa in Des Moines, Iowa, George Mason, Akron, and Boise State (all in a tournament in Honolulu), Northern Illinois, Texas Tech twice, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State twice,  TCU twice, Texas, and West Virginia. The Cyclones are 15-15 ATS this season and the total is 17-12-1 this season.

Iowa State is outscoring teams 83-74 this season. The Cyclones are #5 in scoring nationally and #284 out of 351 teams in points allowed. Iowa State is shooting 47.1% from the field and 34.7% from 3 point range. ISU is #42 nationally in field goal percentage. The Cyclones make 69.2% of their free throws. ISU opponents are shooting 41.5% from the field and 33.6% from 3 point range. The Cyclones average 38.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 34.9 per game. Iowa State is #25 in rebounding and #331 in rebounds allowed. The Cyclones average 18.7 assists, 10.5 turnovers, 6.1 steals and 3.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 13.6 assists, 12 turnovers, 5.4 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Forward Melvin Ejim averages 18.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Ejim is the Big 12 player of the year. Forward Georges Niang averages 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Guard DeAndre Kane averages 16.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Dustin Hogue averages 10.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1 assist per game. Matt Thomas, Naz Long, and Monte Morris all average at least 6.3 points a game.

Baylor is 4-0 ATS in Saturday games, and against teams with winning records, 5-1 overall and in Big 12 games, and 4-1 after a straight up win. The over is 5-1 in the last 6 games in this series.

Iowa State is 4-1 ATS in neutral site games, 5-2 against teams with winning records, and 1-8 in Saturday games. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in this series recently. The Cyclones have covered 4 of the last 5 times against the Bears.

Baylor had to play an extra game and will be playing their fourth game in as many nights. As good as they looked against Oklahoma and Texas, fatigue might not be a factor. Iowa State has looked very good so far against Kansas State and Kansas. I think Baylor pulls out a close game in the end.

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