NCAAB Betting Guide for TCU vs Iowa State
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TCU vs. Iowa State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Iowa State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The difficulty of earning wins in the Big 12 has been well-documented throughout this season. TCU and Iowa St. both enter Wednesday’s contest sporting multi-game losing streaks, leaving each side desperate to stop the skid here.
Here’s how I see this battle between two AP Top 25 opponents playing out.
If you are an NFL fan now looking to college hoops to fill your sports void, I have the perfect trivia tidbit for you to use to impress even the biggest hoops junkies. Do you know which Power 5 team has used the most unique starting lineups this season? You guessed it: the TCU Horned Frogs.
Mostly due to various injuries throughout the year, coach Jamie Dixon has been forced to start a total of 13 unique combinations in his starting lineup. Most disappointing for the Frogs has been the quality of player often forced to simply watch from the sidelines. TCU has gone stints without their two leading scorers in Mike Miles and Damion Baugh and also their leading rebounder in Eddie Lampkin.
When fully healthy, TCU may just be as good as any team in the country. Proof of that claim came when the fully equipped Horned Frogs beat Kansas at the Phog and Oklahoma at home by a combined 50 points. Dixon’s preferred starting five lasted only a couple minutes into the team’s next contest against Mississippi State before Miles suffered a scary looking knee injury.
Having avoided major injury, Miles and Lampkin returned to practice in full Tuesday for the first time together since that game. TCU fans won’t be surprised to hear that the full roster wasn’t able to practice, however.
Baugh is questionable to play against Iowa State with what team doctors are calling a “lower body ailment.” Baugh’s potential absence is a large factor in handicapping this game. The Frogs will certainly want as much of their offensive weaponry available as possible against a tough defensive unit on the road in Ames.
Until their recent string of disappointing efforts, Iowa State had been following up its run to the Sweet 16 last season with another year of impressive play under coach TJ Otzelberger. Offensive struggles have culminated in two consecutive losses for the Cyclones entering Wednesday’s game. In fact, dating back to Iowa State’s game at Missouri on January 28th, the Cyclones have dropped four of their last five.
It’s important to contextualize the losses for Iowa State in order to properly assess the team’s state. Three of the four defeats were on the road. Two of those three losses were Quad-1 losses. And, the one loss that wasn’t of the Q1 variety was a Q2 loss at Texas Tech, a game the Cyclones led by 23 points at one stage.
The most recent loss at home to Oklahoma State was their first loss at Hilton Coliseum all year. The Cyclones’ 56-point offensive output was also the second fewest points they have managed in any game this season.
Truthfully, their poor offensive production may be a result of a defense in decline. The Iowa State defense has allowed an average of only 61 points per game this season. But, in their three recent road losses, the Cyclones have allowed more than 75 points to each of their three opponents.
A struggling defense has led to fewer steals and long rebounds which often lead to easy transition buckets. I’d expect the defensive intensity to be there for the Cyclones on Wednesday for a multitude of reasons.
The situation for Iowa State calls for a sense of urgency and heightened defensive intensity. A raucous home crowd in Ames always helps the Cyclone defense make the opponent uncomfortable. And, the potential absence of Baugh would necessitate either a ton of minutes for a hobbled Miles or increased minutes for a Frogs’ reserve guard.
TCU vs. Iowa State Betting Pick
The spot here is great for the Cyclones, though I admit it would be better if TCU was in a less desperate situation themselves. TCU has great athletes and likely the best player on the floor if Miles is feeling like himself. Consequently, I do give the slightest edge to TCU in a close game late — even on the road.
To avoid the potential for Miles to take over late, I will trust the Cyclones to cover the first half spread of 2.5. Their effort should be intense from the tip, especially at home and feeding off the crowd’s energy. Miles and Lampkin will likely be shaking off a bit of rust early, furthering my belief in Iowa State first half here.
Look for the Cyclones to force some early turnovers and create some easy transition opportunities as they settle back in at home.
Pick: Iowa State 1st Half -2.5
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