Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Lost in all the hoopla about Kansas State’s rowdy fans storming the court this past Monday Night after an upset of Kansas…was the impact that Jayhawks loss had on the Big 12 race. They fell to even in the loss column with Iowa State…and into a virtual dead heat in respected computers with other contenders like Oklahoma and Baylor.
First, let’s look at the standings…
BIG 12 STANDINGS
Iowa State 10-4
West Virginia 9-5 (pending Tuesday’s result vs. Texas)
If Iowa State beats Baylor Wednesday as a small home favorite, we have a tie at the top. And, Oklahoma is just one game back.
Jeff Sagarin of USA Today has his rankings mostly in line with the standings…
Iowa State #10
West Virginia #18
The margin for error is such in this sport that the top three are in a virtual tie…with the next two arguably right there with them. If you replay the season…it’s possible that Baylor or West Virginia would be sitting at 11-4 with the others behind them.
Ken Pomeroy has it more jumbled…
Iowa State #14
West Virginia #23
Here it’s Oklahoma who’s best…with a five way coin-flip from numbers 9-14…and a straggler in West Virginia who just posted some good results. Interesting that Kansas and Iowa State might be tied for #1 after Wednesday’s action…but they sit at numbers two and four in the league in Pomeroy’s methodology.
However it’s destined to work itself out, Wednesday Night’s meeting (on ESPNU) will feature teams who will loom very large in the Big 12 tourney and the Big Dance. Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about the Bears and Cyclones.
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Baylor: 113.9 per 100 possessions (#15 in the nation)
Iowa State: 118.5 per 100 possessions (#6 in the nation)
Two fantastic offenses here. They get the job done very differently, as you’ll see in a moment in the pace numbers. Iowa State has more scoring volume because they turn every game into a track meet. But, in a standard “back and forth” of possessions, both teams are extremely efficient. This will give them a chance to matter next month. It would be interesting to see how either of these offenses would fare against a superpower defense like we’re seeing from Kentucky or Virginia (or even Arizona after you adjust for pace).
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Baylor: 93.2 per 100 possessions (#29 in the nation)
Iowa State: 97.7 per 100 possessions (#90 in the nation)
This is where Iowa State gets exposed as a pretender. They can’t possibly shoot great every time out. When they don’t, they’ll have little chance to win because the defense is so soft by Dance standards. Baylor will probably enter the Dance as an inferior seed to Iowa State…but likely has the better chance to dodge bullets and go deep. Clear edge here to the Bears.
Iowa State: #9
A huge battle of extremes here…as one of the fastest teams in the nation takes on a very slow opponent. Clearly, Iowa State will try to force Baylor out of its comfort zone…hoping for easy points in transition. Baylor, just as clearly, will try to make this a plodding “playoff style” wrestling match that will emphasize the halfcourt game. If this was a neutral court tournament matchup, the Bears would be better suited to pull that off. Usually the home team is able to force its preferred tempo on proceedings…which favors Iowa State here.
Against the Spread
Iowa State: 13-10
Both teams are slightly in the plus column in terms of money one. Slightly underrated by the market…but not dramatically. Both teams were expected to be pretty good…and have been.
GREAT GAME! Maybe it’s not Duke/North Carolina in terms of historical significance. It’s not far from being Duke/NC in terms of current computer ratings, and 2015 relevance in the Big Dance. Be sure you watch!
It’s hard to say this early whether or not Baylor/Iowa State will make the selection ticket for NETWORK clients. Wednesdays are always huge…and JIM HURLEY only releases BEST BETS! You’ll be able to purchase the final word for Wednesday right here at the website with your credit card in the hours leading up to tipoff. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Every day you miss represents money you’re leaving on the table…and money that will double or triple between now and championship night.
We’ll take a one day diversion to the NBA Thursday for the potential Championship series preview between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Then, it’s back to college hoops as The Road to March Madness continues. (PS: Sunday is the beginning of March!)
Thursday: NBA Special…Golden State at Cleveland on TNT
Friday: Early Look for Saturday…Syracuse at Duke in the ACC
Saturday: College Basketball…Arizona at Utah in the Pac 12
Sunday: College Basketball…Michigan State at Wisconsin in the Big 10
Monday: College Basketball…Oklahoma at Iowa State in the Big 12
Tuesday: College Basketball…Kentucky at Georgia in the SEC
Wednesday: College Basketball…Notre Dame at Louisville in the ACC
In the colleges…that’s 12 teams with no duplications…and 11 of them are likely to provide big stories in the Big Dance (Syracuse put itself on probation, which means they might treat the road trip to Duke like a championship game). What a schedule!
It’s a great time to be a basketball fan in both the colleges and the NBA. But, don’t just treat this as TV entertainment. MAKE SOME MONEY! Hook up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!
Be sure to follow:
Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters