College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Kansas State vs Cal (Friday, Nov. 11)
Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Keyontae Johnson (Florida)
Kansas State vs Cal Odds
|Kansas State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
There were a long list of questions coming into the season for the Kansas State Wildcats and first-year head coach Jerome Tang.
The Wildcats returned just two players from a season ago and brought in nine newcomers to Manhattan. They were picked in the preseason coaches poll to finish last in the Big 12.
And while their first game may have come against an inferior opponent in UTRGV, the Wildcats blew all expectations out of the water. Kansas State was a 22-point favorite over UTRGV on Monday, and it won by 34.
Meanwhile, the Cal Golden Bears, who were picked in their own preseason coaches poll to finish second-to-last in the conference, somehow are worst than expected. As a six-point favorite at home on opening night, the Golden Bears lost outright to UC Davis.
Cal held a 33-0 record against UC Davis that dated back to 1917 before Monday night. The biggest issue for the Golden Bears on Monday was their scoring, recording just one field goal over the final nine and a half minutes of the game.
If the scoring struggles continue against the Wildcats, it could get ugly quick.
Against UTRGV, the Wildcats looked like a team that had been together for two seasons. They were strong on the defensive end, and moved the ball around almost seamlessly on offense, preventing turnovers while playing unselfish basketball.
Six different players scored in double figures, and as a team, it racked up 25 assists and put 50 on the scoreboard in the first half.
Again, I want to take a breath and remember that it was against UTRGV, but the way this team played and flowed together has me seriously excited for the Wildcats this season.
Outside of their performance as a team, it was even more exciting to see Keyontae Johnson back playing college basketball.
For those of you who don't know or may have forgotten, Johnson collapsed on the court as sophomore at Florida. Monday night was the first time he's played college basketball in over two years.
Him playing at all is amazing and great to see, but after how well he played Monday night, I can see him quickly getting back to where he was as a sophomore at Florida — averaging 14/7 — if not better.
Johnson led the team in minutes on Monday, as he recorded 13 points, two rebounds and four assists.
And rather than one or two players specifically standing out for the Wildcats, what was more impressive was the lack of drop off when their bench players came into the game.
If that continues against stronger competition, this Wildcats team is dangerous no matter who the opponent is.
Against UC Davis — a team picked to finish sixth in the Big West — I'm not sure the Golden Bears could've looked any worse. Cal shot just 38.1% from the floor and 28.6% from beyond the arc in the game.
The Bears also gave up 24 fast-break points to the Aggies. In the second half alone they were even worse, shooting just 26% overall ,as they were outscored 21-5 over the last nine minutes 37 seconds of the game.
Devin Askew and senior center Lars Thiemann did all they could offensively for the Golden Bears, scoring more than half the team's points between the two of them.
But it was simply not enough.
The Golden Bears rank as the sixth-tallest team in Division I, yet they were out-rebounded by UC Davis, which is 209th when it comes to average height. So, while Kansas State is 269th, I don't expect it to be as big of a disadvantage as some may expect.
Cal also struggled with both turnovers and fouls in the game, giving the ball up 14 times while it racked up 20 fouls, giving the Aggies 23 attempts at the charity stripe.
I'm not sure where to begin when it comes to fixing the issues Cal had in its first game, but regardless of where it begins, I don't see it fixing enough in three days to give it much of a chance against the Wildcats.
Kansas State vs. Cal Betting Pick
In a worst case scenario, Kansas State benefited greatly from playing UTRGV, and Cal simply had a lot of kinks to work out in itsfirst game of the season.
Not only do I think that's not the case — even if it was — I still think Kansas State gets the job done on the road in Berkeley.
The Golden Bears will look to slow down the pace of the Wildcats, and there's a good chance they're able to do that. Cal has finished outside the top 300 when it comes to pace of play in each of the last three seasons.
But Kansas State doesn't have to score 90 points to beat this team. If Cal shoots as bad as it did Monday, it might not even have to score 70 to cover the number.
I got Kansas State at -5 not long after it opened, but that number has already gone up to -5.5, and I can see it climbing even further. And while I am hesitant to lay too many with Kansas State — given just how slow the pace in this game might be — I'm confident in the Wildcats at -7 or better.