#25 Baylor (11-3, 1-1) at #14 Iowa State (12-2, 1-1)
When: Saturday, January 9th 2016
Where: James H. Hilton Coliseum, Ames, IA
Time: 3:00 ET | TV: ESPN2
The Baylor Bears and Iowa State Cyclones will both try and get over .500 in Big 12 play when the two ranked teams meet Saturday in Ames, Iowa. Baylor is coming off an 82-79 home win over Oklahoma State in which senior forward Rice Gathers score 17 points and grab 17 rebounds en route to becoming the first player in school history to have 1,000 career rebounds. Gathers has now pulled down 1,005 career boards and scored 1,047 points in four seasons. He’s now averaging a double-double on the season with 14.1 points and 11.3 rebounds a game. Taurean Prince leads the Bears in scoring at 15.5 points a game and has scored 31 points in his last two games and has gone a perfect 14-for-14 from the foul line. His 82.8% free-throw percentage is up from his 64.4% last year. Baylor is actually one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the country at 75.5% (15th ranked). Their 3-point percentage (35.5) is ranked 132nd, however. Prince needs two points to become the 30th player in school history to score 1,000 points in a career. Baylor was smoked by Kansas in their conference opener on January 2nd, but will get TCU, Texas Tech, and Kansas State after today’s game.
The Cyclones will look to win their 10th straight home game, where they have won 30 of 31 overall. The lone loss coming last year to this Baylor team. Iowa State had an eight point lead with 8:28 remaining before Baylor started bombing threes for the comeback win. Players are still talking about that loss and would love nothing more than to extract revenge including Jameel McKay. The senior told the Ames Tribune, “I’ve never beaten Baylor,” McKay, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year who transferred to Iowa State from Marquette, said. “It’s a lot of motivation for me personally, and protecting the home court, too.” McKay is coming off a 19-point, 14-rebound performance in Iowa State’s 76-69 win over Texas Tech on Wednesday. He’s now averaging 14.4 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. Senior forward Georges Niang, a preseason All-American, leads the Cyclones in scoring (19.2) and is second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (26.3). Monte Morris leads the conference in assists (7.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (5.2). Iowa State’s 14.1 fouls per game ranks as the lowest in the country. The Cyclones lost a close one at top-ranked Oklahoma in their Big 12 opener, but will get them again at home in 10 days.
Iowa State is a solid team and should pick up the win here today, but Baylor is good enough to hang around. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Baylor +7.5