Big 12 College Basketball Preview: Oklahoma State Cowboys at #19 Baylor Bears

Oklahoma State Cowboys at #19 Baylor Bears
Ferrell Center – Waco, Texas
Monday, February 9, 2015, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Baylor -6 1/2
Current Total: Baylor -7
Opening Total: 124 1/2
Current Total: 125
Opening Money Line: Baylor -295 / OSU +245
Current Money Line: Baylor -300 / OSU +250

Baylor hosts Okalhoma State Monday in a key Big 12 contest.
Baylor hosts Okalhoma State Monday in a key Big 12 contest.

The Big 12 is projected to have as many as 7 teams in the NCAA Tournament. The Conference race was tightened up considerably Saturday when the Oklahoma State Cowboys gave the Kansas Jayhawks only their second conference loss. It doesn’t get any easier for OSU as there are no easy games in the Big 12 even against bottom feeders TCU and Texas Tech. The 16-7 Cowboys travel to the 18-5 Baylor Bears  Monday in a key contest. Baylor is tied for fourth at 6-4 with West Virginia. Oklahoma State is alone in sixth at 6-5.

In a series that dates back to 1918, Oklahoma State leads Baylor 53-22 including 16-16 in Waco. The Cowboys have won 3 of the last 5 games in the series including  64-53 in Stillwater January 27.

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Oklahoma State is coached by Travis Ford. The Cowboys have road losses at South Carolina, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma, along with home losses to Maryland and Oklahoma. OSU has won 2 straight games and 3 of the last 4. The Cowboys have home wins over Milwaukee, North Texas, Middle Tennessee, Kansas State, Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas 67-62 Saturday, neutral site wins over Oregon State and Tulsa in a tournament in Las Vegas and Missouri in Kansas City, and road wins over Memphis and Texas. OSU is 12-8 ATS and the total is 6-12 this season. The Cowboys were 1.5 point underdogs against Kansas and the total was 134.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Illinois in Las Vegas, road losses at Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State and a home loss to Kansas. Baylor has won 3 straight games since the OSU loss. Baylor has road wins at South Carolina, Vanderbilt,  TCU and West Virginia 87-69 Saturday,  a neutral site win over Memphis in Las Vegas, and home wins over Stephen F. Austin, Texas Southern, Texas A&M, New Mexico State, Iowa State Oklahoma, Texas and TCU. Baylor is 10-6-1 ATS and the total is 9-8 this season.

Oklahoma State is outscoring teams 68-60 this season. The Cowboys are #30 nationally in points allowed. Oklahoma State is shooting 43.5% from the field and 33.3% from 3 point range. The Cowboys make 71.7% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 38.7% from the field and 32.8% from 3 point range. The Cowboys are #30 nationally in field goal defense. OSU averages 34.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.3 per game. Oklahoma State averages 11.4 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 8.8 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.6 assists, 14.6 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 3.2 blocks per game.

Guard/forward Le’Bryan Nash averages 16.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. Guard Phil Forte III averages 17 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Anthony Hickey, Jr. averages  9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Michael Cobbins averages 6.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Six other players average at least 11 minutes per game.

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Baylor is outscoring teams 70-59 this season. The Bears are #20 nationally in points allowed. Baylor is shooting 43.3% from the field and 37.8% from 3 point range. The Bears make 66.9% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 38.9% from the field and 29.4% from 3 point range. The Bears are #36 or better nationally in both categories. Baylor averages 41.9 rebounds per game and opponents average 28.5 per game. The Bears are #3 nationally in rebounding. Baylor averages 15.1 assists, 12.7 turnovers, 7.5 steals and 4.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.7 assists, 12.3 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 4 blocks per game.

Forward Taureen Prince averages 12.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1 block per game. Kenny Chery averages 11.8 points, 3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Rico Gathers averages 11 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Royce O’Neale averages 10.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Johnathan Motley averages 9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Lester Medford averages  8.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Al Freeman, Deng Deng, and Ishmail Wainwright will also get minutes in the rotation.

OSU is 3-0-1 ATS in Monday games, 7-21-1 against teams with winning home records, and 6-19-1 in road games. The under si 5-2 in this series recently.

Baylor is 9-2-1 ATS against teams with losing road records, 4-1-1 against teams with winning records, overall and against Big 12 teams, 3-1-1 after a straight up win, and 9-4-1 at home. The home team is 13-3-1 ATS in this series recently. The favorite is 12-4-1 ATS in this series recently. The Bears are 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 games against the Cowboys and 8-2-1 at home against OSU.

These two teams are evenly matched. This should be a low scoring games with two top 30 defenses. I like Baylor to win at home.

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