The No. 1 Baylor Bears travel to Ames, Iowa, on Wednesday night to take on the Iowa State Cyclones of Iowa State in a Big 12 matchup of the conference’s best team against arguably the conference’s best player. Baylor is 17-1 and 6-0 in league play, while Iowa State is 9-10 overall and just 2-4 in the conference.
The Cyclones do boast one of the top NBA prospects in the nation in wing scorer Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton is a 6-5 Swiss Army Knife, averaging 15.7 points, 7.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game during the 2019-20 season. He shoots 41 percent from behind the three-point line and over 50 percent from the field overall.
Penn State transfer Rasir Bolton is the second-leading scorer for the Cyclones at 15.1 points per game but is significantly less efficient from the field.
Baylor continues to be one of the most consistent teams in the country, having now won 16 games in a row, including a 13-point win against these same Cyclones just two weeks ago. In the Jan. 15 matchup, the Bears were able to hold Haliburton to just 2-of-12 from the field and Bolton to 3-of-10 en route to a 68-55 victory.
The Bears featured a quartet of double-digit scorers in that game, led by point guard Jared Butler with 19 points and five assists. Davion Mitchell (17 points), Freddie Gillespie (14 points, 11 rebounds), and Mark Vital (11 points) were also key contributors for the Bears.
MaCio Teague, who averages 13.8 points per game, had just two on 0-of-7 shooting in the first meeting. He’ll certainly be looking for a better showing this time.
Baylor is a four-point favorite on the road, with the over/under set at 141.5.
Can The Bears Avoid A Letdown?
Baylor has been perfect on the road this season at 4-0 in true road games as well as posting a 4-1 record in neutral-site games on the season. That 8-1 record is also the Bears’ record against the spread in road/neutral-site games.
Overall, Baylor is 12-6 ATS on the season and 6-1 in its last seven games. Baylor has gone under in 10 of its 18 games on the season and five of its last seven.
Iowa State Owns Baylor In Ames
While the Cyclones have struggled this season, history is on their side in this matchup. Baylor head coach Scott Drew is 3-6 in Ames since 2010-11.
This year’s struggles are real, however, as Iowa State is winless in eight games this season straight up as a dog, though it has covered well at 7-4 against the spread in home games. The Cyclones have gone under in seven of their 11 home games this season, as well as four of their last six games overall.
A Bear On The Road
Baylor’s 8-1 record against the spread in road and neutral-site games really sticks out to me. This Baylor team is experienced, well-coached and deep. Vital is a terrific defender, as is almost everyone on this Baylor squad.
The Bears are holding opponents to just 43.8 percent effective field-goal percentage on the season and allowing just 58.6 points per game to opponents. The Cyclones have lost six of their last eight games overall and are just 3-3 straight up in their last six home games.
This is currently not a team that can be trusted to cover a small number against the No. 1 team in the country. Expect Baylor to lock down the Cyclones for the second time this season and keep the score low and easily cover the spread. Take Baylor -4.