The mighty Duke Blue Devils lost at home to rival Syracuse on Tuesday night. Although Duke’s loss doesn’t have a direct effect on any game highlighted in my Wednesday NCAAM Free Picks, it’s a big reminder of how delicate a team’s place in the college hoops world can be.

Nobody really knows who is better than anybody else. Take in point one of the biggest battles on Wednesday night, Creighton-St. John’s. Neither team’s ranked, yet FS1 will broadcast the game because both have winning records and both play in the awesomely deep Big East.

Iowa State, who was ranked, gets a chance to dive back into the Top 25. All they must do is take down #8 Texas Tech on the road. Ranked teams Auburn, Oklahoma, and Iowa, all have tough matchups just like the Cyclones.

The Auburn Tigers must win in College Station while Iowa must take down a Penn State team that might be surging. The Sooners host a K-State squad coming off two massive wins over West Virginia and Iowa State and a cover victory on the road against Texas Tech.

Check out analysis and picks for 5 of the top games on Wednesday.

[Wednesday, Jan. 16]

Creighton Blue Jays at St. John’s Red Storm -2.5 (6:30pm ET)

It’s desperation time at Creighton. The Bluejays head to St. John’s on a 3-game losing streak both ATS and SU. The trends don’t give Creighton much of a shot, though.

The Bluejays are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 versus the Big East, 2-7 ATS in their last 9 on the road, and 3-11 ATS in their last 14 following an ATS loss. St. John’s is 5-1 ATS in their last 7 overall and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 versus the Big East.

One trend that puts this in Creighton’s favor is how they’re 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings. Not only that, but St. John’s top scorer Shamorie Ponds, is listed as questionable. Taking the Bluejays here is an easy call.

NCAAM Free Picks: Creighton +2.5

#14 Auburn Tigers -6.5 at Texas A&M Aggies (7pm ET)

There’s a chance Auburn’s over valued in this game because Texas A&M is 7-7 SU overall. After a loss to Ole Miss, the Tigers bounced back with a big win over Georgia. They will also take on Kentucky on Saturday, which means they could overlook the Aggies.

The trends most definitely favor Texas A&M. Auburn is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 versus the SEC, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 overall, and 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 on the road. The Aggies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 overall, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 versus a team with a winning straight up record, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 versus a team with a winning percentage above .600. Going with the Aggies to cover.

NCAAM Free Picks: Texas A&M +6.5

Kansas State Wildcats at #20 Oklahoma Sooners -5.5 (7pm ET)

Kansas State-Oklahoma is an example of why rankings don’t matter that much. Kansas State is 12-4 SU while Oklahoma is 13-3 SU. The Sooners are ranked and the Wildcats aren’t. No reason. Just preference from those who have a say.

All trends point to Oklahoma covering: the Sooners are 12-2-2 ATS in their last 16, 6-1 in their last 7 at home, and 4-1 in their last 5 on Wednesday. However, against fellow Big 12 opponents, Oklahoma fails, going 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19.

I feel Kansas State is ready to go on a run. They hold their opponents to less than 60 points and have been visually impressive against 3 quality opponents. I’ll back the Wildcats on the moneyline in what amounts to a big statement game for them.

NCAAM Free Picks: Kansas State +195 ML

#23 Iowa Hawkeyes at Penn State Nittany Lions -1.5 (7pm ET)

Iowa’s looked great recently, going 3-0 SU and ATS with victories over Nebraska, Northwestern, and Ohio State. Penn State has looked awful in 4 straight losses. They’ve gone 1-3 ATS over that stretch.

Neither team has the edge in trends, though, while in the head-to-head Penn State gets the edge. The Hawkeyes are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings at Penn State. The home team is 4-0-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. The Nittany Lions get the call on what is a slim line.

NCAAM Free Picks: Penn State -1.5

Iowa State Cyclones at #8 Texas Tech Red Raiders -5.0 (9pm ET)

Texas Tech’s lone loss this season was to the Duke Blue Devils. Since the loss, they’ve run off 5 straight. That should make the Red Raiders over played in this game.

Over played teams end up having to cover underlaid spreads. The Red Raiders have no real edge against the spread based on trends while Iowa State should be desperate after losses to Baylor and Kansas State. Texas Tech is 1-4-1 ATS in their last 5. I’ll take the points although you’ll find no argument from me if you back the Cyclones straight up.

NCAAM Free Picks: Iowa State +5.0