Tournament being played at Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri.
The Sprint Center in Kansas City, site of the Big 12 Tournament, has been nicknamed “Hilton South” because of the crush of Iowa State fans who make the three-hour drive down I-35 each March for the tourney. Over half the arena was filled with Cardinal and Gold-clad Cyclones’ fans for Friday night’s 84-63 semifinal win over TCU, and that crowd advantage for Iowa State figures to be even bigger when they face 11th-ranked West Virginia, which rallied to eek out a 51-50 win over Kansas State, in Saturday night’s championship contest.
Fourth-seeded Iowa State will be attempting to win the tournament for the third time in four years while second-seeded West Virginia, which lost to Kansas, 81-71, in last year’s title game, will be attempting to win its first Big 12 Tournament after moving over from the Big East in 2012-13. The Mountaineers, who rallied from a 12-point second half deficit to defeat the Wildcats when forward Esa Ahmad sank one of two free throws with 20.2 seconds left, made it to the title game despite a brutal first half offensively when they scored just 16 points on 6-of-32 shooting, holding on at the end when guard Kamau Stokes missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer just before the buzzer. “This is why we came to Kansas City man,” Mountaineers senior guard Tarik Phillip, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, said. “This is what we dreamed of. We won a couple games. Now we have to win the big one.”
TV: 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The line is currently off the board. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers escaped by the skin of their teeth in a one-point win over Kansas State whole the Cyclones clobbered TCU in a letdown following the Horned Frogs shocking win over Kansas. Huggy Bear is 9-2 SU in conference title games, including 6-0 SU and 4-2 ATS as a favorite of more than three points. On the flip side, Iowa Sate is a spotless 3-0 SU and ATS in Big 12 championship tiffs. However, ISU will need to put a halt to a 0-4 SU and ATS losing skid in this series if they hope to cut down the nets.” – Covers Experts’ Marc Lawrence.
Iowa St. – C Stuart Nezlek (Out For Season, shoulder).
West Virginia – No significant injuries to report.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Iowa St. (-12.5) – West Virginia (-15) + neutral site (0) = West Virginia -2.5
ABOUT IOWA STATE (22-10 SU, 17-12 ATS, 17-12 O/U): The 24th-ranked Cyclones have three senior guards — first team all-Big 12 pick Monte Morris, second team choice Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas, who earned honorable mention — that played key roles in winning two previous Big 12 Tourney titles and have won eight of nine games in the tournament. Morris, an All-American who came within an assist of a triple-double in Iowa State’s 92-83 quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State when he finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, came back to score 15 points and dish off three assists in the semifinal. Another senior guard, 6-4, 250-pound Deonte Burton, scored 20 points in the first 22 minutes and finished with a team-high 22 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in Friday’s win over TCU.
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (26-7 SU, 13-14-1 ATS, 15-12-1 O/U): The 6-8 Ahmad, who missed three games at the end of the season with back spasms, led the Mountaineers with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas State. He ranks second on the team in scoring (11.3) behind junior guard Jevon Carter (12.9), the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year who led the conference in steals (2.72). Phillip, the Big 12’s Sixth Man of the Year, averages 9.4 points and 3.1 assists per game while 6-9 senior forward Nathan Adrian, a third team all-Big 12 pick, also is averaging in double figures (10.0) while grabbing a team best 6.1 rebounds per game.
* Cyclones are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
* Mountaineers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
* Over is 9-0 in Cyclones last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Under is 5-0 in Mountaineers last 5 games following a straight up win.
* Cyclones are 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: There is currently no consensus data, check back later for a full update or click here for the complete consensus analysis.