Iowa State vs. Baylor: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets (3/9/23) – NCAAB

This week officially marks conference tournament week as the regular season has finally come to end. One of the toughest conferences all season has been the Big 12, which will surely be a tough tournament this weekend for all involved. In the 5 vs. 4 slot, the Iowa State Cyclones will be facing the Baylor Bears on Thursday. To be fully informed and prepped on this matchup, take a look at this game’s overall predictions and odds:

Iowa State vs. Baylor Prediction

With NCAA Tournament brackets being a week away from getting released, teams still have chances to rise or fall in seedings. That will all depend on their conference tournament outcomes. As the Big 12 has been beating up on each other all season, one team finally has a chance to proclaim the tournament title. Iowa State has been a scrappy team throughout conference play and has hovered in and out of the AP Top 25. The Cyclones finished the season on a bit of a tough stretch dropping four straight before beating Baylor in a big win. Now they have a chance to do it back to back against the Bears.

Baylor is currently ranked 10th in AP poll and have been one of the better teams in the Big 12 but did with just losing to Iowa State in their season finale, they will be looking to avenge their 73-58 loss. The Cyclones finished with a 9-9 conference record and enter as the 5 seed with Baylor entering as the 4 seed. The Bears concluded the Big 12 season with an 11-7 conference record.

Iowa State swept the Bears this season, winning both games by double digits. The Cyclones are very defensively sound, allowing less than 63 PPG by their opponents. Leading Baylor scorer Keyonte George was held to just seven points in their matchup last week. Will Baylor find an answer for the Cyclones or will this game go just as the two previous matchups? The Bears have high tournament expectations and are currently projected as a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A win in the first round of Big 12 play would certainly solidify that seeding. Iowa State is currently projected as a 5 seed and would definitely be able to get better seeding with another win against the top-ten ranked Bears.

The Bears are too good of a team to drop three losses to a team in one season and expect them to not be as bullied on the offensive side. This team averages 77 PPG but in their two matchups against Iowa State, they managed to only score 62 and 58 respectively. Keyonte George returned after injury in his underperforming matchup last week against the Cyclones. With a game under his belt, expect him to fire his offensive game a little less rusty to get closer to his season average of 16 PPG.

Iowa State only averages around 68 PPG, so they might struggle to keep up with the Bears if they get their offense going. The Cyclones rely heavily on winning on the defensive end. They were able to split most of their conference games with top teams, with Baylor being one of the only teams they swept. Baylor should be able to answer that as they also split games against teams like Kansas and Texas.

Baylor also dominates in 3-point shooting against the Cyclones, averaging at least 9 a game. They need to unlock the perimeter scoring that they have and utilize their guards Adam Flagler and George. Their best 3-pointer shooter is LJ Cryer, who shoots above 42% from deep. Iowa State is led by guards Jalen Holmes and Gabe Kalscheur, who average 13.2 and 12.7 PPG. The Cyclones miss a guy who shoots above 40% though, so if Baylor should find a way to advance if they can get their shots falling as they’ve proven the majority of the season.

Iowa State Vs. Baylor Prediction: Baylor ML

Iowa State vs. Baylor Betting Odds

Betting lines are not out yet but will be interesting to see who is placed the favorites. Naturally, it would be assumed Baylor would be given their high rankings and coming in as the higher seed. Iowa State’s dominance over Baylor this season, may have some believing the Cyclones enter as small moneyline favorites. The line will be close in either direction. ESPN Analytics predicts Baylor to win this matchup at 57.6%. Baylor also has the advantage looking at Kenpom’s analytical rankings. The Bears are currently ranked 14th with Iowa State back at 22nd.

Key Matchup

Adam Flagler vs. Iowa State

Keyonte George has been the leading scorer for Baylor this season, but Flagler is the one who has been the leading scorer in both matchups against the Cyclones. Putting up 20 in both contests. He has also been the one who has stepped up as the go-to guy in George’s injury absences. Flagler is averaging 15.6 PPG and 4.8 assists per game. He is also shooting 41.1% from 3-point range. If he can show out for another great offensive performance, the Cyclones will struggle dominating the Bears defensively again.

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Jack is a Hoosier by birth and Hoosier by alum. Full of hot takes but sharper predictions. Residing now in the Chicago area. When he's not chowing down on deep dish pizza and Italian beef, he's watching and betting sports. Junkie for everything CBB, NBA, NFL, CFB, and MLB. Here to feed you a system to follow that might even be better than the one Tom Brady was gifted his whole career.

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