BAYLOR BEARS (14-7)
at OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (15-5)
Gallagher-Iba Arena Ė Stillwater, OK
Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma State -7, Total: 138
Baylor will look to get back on track after two consecutive losses, but will face an uphill battle on the road Wednesday against No. 22 Oklahoma State.
Both of these teams have struggled a bit in Big 12 play as both have 5-3 SU and 3-5 ATS records. The Cowboys, though, seem to be finding their groove with three consecutive wins (2-1 ATS), including a huge road upset at then-No. 2 Kansas on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Bears have lost two in a row (SU and ATS) are have dropped three of their past five road games. When these two teams met earlier in the year on Jan. 21, Baylor won 64-54, holding Oklahoma State to 34.9% FG and 2-of-16 threes.
Can Oklahoma State extend its win streak with a comfortable win over a tough Baylor squad? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts were nearly perfect on Tuesday, going a collective 5-1 ATS (83%). StatFox Dave went 2-0 ATS, predicting North Carolina would hammer Wake Forest by 27 points in a game the Heels won by 25. StatFox Brian also went 2-0 ATS, predicting Purdue (-2.5) would beat Penn State by at least 8 points (Boilers won by 9) and Villanova (-3) would win by double-digits in its 23-point rout at DePaul. StatFox Gary, who correctly predicted 11-point 'dog Arkansas would cover versus Florida, is 10-4 ATS (71%) in his past seven days of Best Bets, boosting his impressive season record to 57% ATS (73-56-1). Dave has gone 17-11 ATS (61%) in the past nine days to improve to 54% ATS (116-101-3) for the season.
Baylor has won three straight won both meetings between these two schools (2-1 ATS) and Jackson was key in all of those wins, averaging 17.3 PPG and 5.3 APG. This season, Jackson (19.1 PPG, 5.9 APG) is a high-usage point guard, scoring a lot of points, but he also turns the ball over 3.3 times per game. He has scored at least 20 points in three consecutive contests, going 10-for-27 on threes in this stretch. The number two scoring threat for the Bears is 7-foot-1 freshman C Isaiah Austin (14.5 PPG, 9.4 RPG), who has 30 rebounds over the past two games, pulling down 20 boards in last Wednesday's loss to Oklahoma. In the Jan. 21 win over OSU, Austin was just 4-for-12 from the floor, but finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. Heís joined in the frontcourt by 6-foot-9 PF Cory Jefferson (12.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG) who is also a defensive monster with 2.0 BPG. He came up huge against the Cowboys last month with 11 points, 11 rebounds and a whopping six blocked shots. He needs to up his offensive game, though, averaging just 7.3 PPG in the teamís past three contests since that win over OSU. The other guy to watch out for is SG A.J. Walton (7.3 PPG, 3.9 APG) who can provide a spark for this offense and defense with 1.9 SPG. He had a well-rounded game against the Cowboys in January with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Junior SG Markel Brown (15.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG) paces the Oklahoma State offense and is nailing 1.6 threes per game on a solid 39.0% clip. He is also coming off arguably his best game of the season in which he nailed 7-of-10 from deep for 28 points. He shot terribly in last month's loss to Baylor though, going 1-for-10 FG and 0-for-4 from three-point range. The star of the team though is freshman phenom PG Marcus Smart (14.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.6 APG) who has emerged as one of the nationís premier first-year players. He is averaging 23.0 PPG in the past two games, also tallying 5.0 APG and 4.5 SPG in those contests. His ability to contain Jackson may be the key of the evening, and Smart was able to hurt Baylor in many ways on Jan. 21 with 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Sophomore swingman LeíBryan Nash (13.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG) is dangerous on the wing for the Cowboys, though he has struggled as a shooter, making just 24.3% from long range. He scored a game-high 24 points (10-of-19 FG) in the double-digit win over Baylor on Jan. 21, but is just 8-of-23 FG (35%) since then. Freshman G Phil Forte (11.9 PPG) rounds out the teamís double-digit scorers and has upped his play lately, averaging 18.0 PPG (10-for-27 threes, 14-of-15 FT) over the past three contests. The man who may need to step up most against Baylorís elite rebounders is 6-foot-11 senior C Philip Jurick (3.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG), who puts up impressive numbers while playing just 19.4 MPG. But he had zero points, two rebounds and four fouls in the last meeting with Baylor.