February 20, 2017
There is one College Hoops pick today.
#1: Take Iowa State +3 spread (buy half point) against Texas Tech for 3% of the bankroll.
This is a battle between two teams who are currently heading in the opposite direction. Iowa State comes into this important Big 12 matchup having wo 3 straight and appear to be a lock for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have been struggling, dropping 6 of their last 9 contests. What has been interesting for Texas Tech is the fact that while they have struggled on the road this season, they have been an extremely tough home team. They are 15-2 on their home floor this season and most recently knocked off then #4 ranked Baylor in their most recent contest at home. That being said, we believe the oddsmakers are simply putting too much stock in the Red Raiders at home against a team in Iowa State that matches up extremely well with the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech has been a team that has survived much of the season by relying on their defense. They have been holding teams to just an average of 65 points on their home floor this season and they will likely need a strong defensive effort in this game if they want to have any shot of pulling out the victory. Iowa State will be a huge test for this defense as the Cyclones not only have the better players on the floor, but also the better coach on the sidelines in Steve Prohm. The Cyclones feature an offense that ranks 30th overall in effective efficiency and specialize in playing smart mistake-free basketball. They rank 2nd overall in the country in turnover percentage, only turning it over on 14.1% of possessions, while only getting the ball stolen on 6.3% of possessions (7th in the nation). They run at a fast tempo, looking to get out in transition, and beat teams with the 3-point shot, which they shoot at a 38.7% clip (33rd in the country). They are an incredibly dangerous offensive unit which means that they are never truly out of the ballgame.
While playing in Lubbock is no easy feat, the Cyclones have already proven that they can handle the harsh environment on the road. They marched into Allen Fieldhouse and was the team to finally snap the Kansas Jayhawks' 54 game home winning streak. There isn't a much tougher environment in all of college sports and the Cyclones managed to pass that test. Texas Tech is not as talented a team as Kansas, so as long as the Cyclones don't come into this contest overconfident, they should not be intimidated by the crowd in this contest.
Iowa State's ability to protect the basketball and not turn it over has been pivotal in their success this season. If they can control the tempo of the game, their offense will likely be too much for the Red Raiders to contain for the full 40 minutes. Iowa State has come up big in the final moments of games this season and knows what it takes to pull out a closely contested victory; the same cannot be said about Texas Tech. In close games, the Red Raiders have failed to come up with the much-needed plays in the clutch and that has cost them this season. We expect this will be a closely contested game throughout, however, we expect the Cyclones to make the necessary plays when the game is on the line and pull out the victory. Even if they somehow come up short in the outright victory, we expect it would likely come down to Texas Tech hitting the go-ahead score on the final possession, in which case the points will likely prove to be valuable and come into play. With their offense, Iowa State should be able to keep the score within a single possession.
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