Baylor (20-3, 7-3) at Oklahoma State (15-8, 4-6)
When: Wednesday, February 8th 2017
Where: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater, OK
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPNU
The slumping Baylor Bears visit the surging Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday night in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Baylor was flirting with a No. 1 overall ranking before dropping both of their contests last week to the Kansas schools including the Wildcats at home on Saturday. That has dropped the Bears to No. 8 in the latest rankings, but they still own the No. RPI ranking and have beaten three top ten teams this season. The Bears trail first place Kansas by a game in the loss column and still have a home date with the Jayhawks on February 18th. Junior forward Johnathan Motley is one of the nation’s most improved players and leads the team in scoring (16.2) and the Big 12 in rebounding (9.8) while junior point guard Manu Lecomte is also averaging in double figures (12.3) while handing off a team best 4.3 assists and shooting 42.2% from 3-point range. Baylor just got by Oklahoma State back on January 7th after trailing 30-25 at halftime and by two points with a minute to go. Baylor will face TCU and Texas Tech before that key home game against the Jayhawks.
The Cowboys come in on a roll. After losing their first six conference games, Oklahoma State has run off five straight victories that includes a non-conference win over Arkansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on January 28th. The Cowboys recorded a statement 82-75 road victory at No. 14 West Virginia on Saturday that snapped a 12-game losing streak to ranked opponents. The Cowboys lead the Big 12 and rank seventh nationally in scoring (87.2) but will be going up against a Baylor defense that leads the conference in points allowed per game (61.4) and field goal percentage defense (38.6). Sophomore point guard Jawun Evans leads the team and ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring (18.3) and also ranks third in the conference in assists (5.4) and steals (2.0). Junior Jeffrey Carroll (17.3) and senior guard Phil Forte III (13.9) also are averaging in double-digits with Carroll hauling down a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. Oklahoma State leads the all-time series 54-25, including 26-6 in Stillwater, but Baylor is 3-2 in its last five trips to Gallagher-Iba.
This is a dangerous spot for a Baylor team that has lost it’s momentum. Oklahoma State is on a roll right now and they’re tough to beat at home. The Cowboys are laying points in this one, but that doesn’t scare me.
Pick: Cowboys -2.5