Big 12 Conference Tournament Odds & Picks: Back Kansas State vs. TCU (Wednesday, March 10)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images. Pictured: Mike McGuirl (left) and Bruce Weber.
- Two teams headed in opposite directions square off on Wednesday in the Big 12 Tournament.
- Kansas State has won three of its last four games, while TCU appears to be going nowhere fast.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down why he sees betting value on the underdog Wildcats in Kansas City.
Kansas State vs. TCU Odds
|Kansas State Odds||+3.5|
|Moneyline||(+150 / -180)|
|Time | TV||Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
|Odds as of Wednesday and via PointsBet.|
The Kansas State Wildcats kick off their Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night against the TCU Horned Frogs at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
These two programs ended the regular season heading in opposite directions. The Horned Frogs have lost six of their last seven games, only beating an Iowa State squad that accumulated just two wins all season. Meanwhile, the Wildcats finished strong by winning three of their last four games after losing 13 games in a row.
These teams split their two regular-season meetings. TCU won, 67-60, on Jan. 2, jumping out to an early 13-point lead and never looking back. Kansas State got its revenge on Feb. 20 by holding the Horned Frogs to just 31.9% from the field in a 62-54 win.
The prize for the winner of this game: a matchup with Big 12 regular-season champion Baylor in the quarterfinals.
When Kansas State has the Ball
Kansas State is one of the younger teams in the Big 12, starting three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior.
It took this team some time to get used to the speed and intensity needed to win on any given night in one of the country’s top conferences. Coach Bruce Weber has contributed the recent win streak to his young players guys adjusting to the required effort needed specifically on the defensive end.
Over their last five games, the Wildcats have held opponents to a whopping 15.5 fewer points per game than they did to start the season. Kansas State has forced opponents to shoot a significantly lower percentage from the field and 3-point range.
Offensively, the Wildcats play at one of the slowest tempos in the conference. They want to play a grind-it-out kind of game, relying on their defense to keep it close and do enough offensively to sneak out wins. Kansas State scores just 61.2 points per game, which ranks 339th in the nation according to Sports-Reference.
One of the reasons for that is the Wildcats just don’t convert on shot attempts as much as they should. They hit just 44.8% from the field and 27.0% from behind the arc. As a young team in the Big 12, it’s no surprise that Kansas State has struggled with turnovers this season, turning the ball over on 22.5% of offensive possessions in conference play.
The three starting freshmen — Nijel Pack, Davion Bradford, and Selton Miguel — have contributed to 39.6% of Kansas State’s total points in the season. Mike McGuirl is the senior leader of this bunch, who has hit 32.8% of his 177 3-point attempts and averaged 11.9 points per game.
When TCU has the Ball
TCU opened the season at 9-2 before the wheels fell off and they went 3-11 the rest of the season. The Horned Frogs are crawling into the conference tournament, having dropped six of their last seven games, including a loss to Kansas State.
Through the first 11 games, TCU was outscoring opponents by 5.8 points per game. Since Jan. 5, the Horned Frogs have been outscored by 11.2 points per game and have won just one game over the last 24 days.
Similarly to Kansas State, TCU also plays at a slow pace and ranks 251st in the country, according to KenPom.
Offensively, the Horned Frogs are led by Junior RJ Nembhard who is averaging 15.9 points and 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Complimenting him is freshman guard Mike Miles at 13.8 points per contest.
Those two have contributed to 41.2% of TCU’s points this season. In the two matchups with Kansas State, they scored 59 of the team’s 121 total points. Only one other player scored double digits for TCU in both of those two games.
The Horned Frogs will need someone else to step up in the grudge match on Wednesday since Kansas State is going to be focusing on slowing down Nembhard and Miles.
Betting Analysis & Pick
TCU is coming into this game unmotivated after struggling over the past two months, while Kansas State is a young team that is now getting its first tastes of Big 12 victory and in better spirits after playing their best basketball of the season.
TCU and Kansas State have traditionally played games right down to the wire. The average margin of victory over the last dozen matchups between these teams has been 6.3.
Bruce Weber’s squad has played better down the stretch in close games, which this one is set to be. I’m taking the points with the Wildcats in a game that I believe they’ll win outright.
Pick: Kansas State +3 (down to +2)