College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Kansas State vs. Kansas (Tuesday, February 22)
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Wilson (Kansas)
Kansas State vs. Kansas Odds
|Kansas State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The second battle for bragging rights in Kansas is set to ensue, as the Wildcats will make the trip to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the Jayhawks.
It was a tightly-contested matchup earlier this season when these programs met in Manhattan, as the Jayhawks squeaked out a three-point victory. However, oddsmakers see this one going very differently, as the Wildcats and Jayhawks have gone in separate directions since then.
Kansas State seems to have turned a corner of late, as it has gone 3-2 in its last five. But there has been a stark difference in its scoring during that stretch that is a welcome sight for the Wildcat faithful.
Now, the Wildcats will be put to the test, as it has been hard for any team to keep up with the Jayhawks offensively.
Speaking of the Jayhawks, Bill Self has his team playing some of its best basketball of late. Kansas has won three games in a row since it fell on the road to Texas, and may be peaking at the right time with Selection Sunday just a few weeks away.
However, the Jayhawks cannot get caught looking ahead, as we have seen their in-state rivals’ capability to pull off upsets.
Wildcats Need to Turn Defense into Offense
While a bump in scoring has been the highlight of their most recent set of games, the Wildcats’ calling card is still their defense. They are 28th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 45th in effective field goal percentage allowed.
The key for Kansas State to hang around in this ball game and keep up with the juggernaut Jayhawks offense is to create extra possessions for itself. Ball security has been the kryptonite of the Kansas offense, as it’s 267th in steal percentage allowed.
Fortunately for Kansas State, that is one area that it excels at, as it ranks 90th in steal percentage.
More likely than not, those extra possessions are going to turn into points if the ball is in the hands of the Wildcats’ backcourt trio. Nigel Pack, Mark Smith, and Markquis Nowell all average double figures in scoring.
If the Jayhawks are not mindful of the ball, they could again find themselves in a quick hole.
Look For Kansas to Lean on McCormack and Agbaji
It seemed as if Kansas got beat at its own game in the first meeting, as the Wildcats hit a barrage of early shots and put up 50 on the Jayhawks in the first half.
However, Kansas wound up fighting back in the second half after being down by 16 at half.
The Jayhawks would eventually erase what would become as much as a 17-point deficit by letting their All-American guard Ochai Agbaji take over the game.
The Big 12’s leading scorer went on to finish with 29 points, as he went 10-of-18 from the field. Also, his final shot put the Jayhawks ahead for good in the last seconds.
However, Agbaji’s efforts were not the only reason Kansas mounted a comeback in that first meeting. The Jayhawks had a 45-to-23 rebounding advantage.
The main man behind it was David McCormack. He was a force on the glass, as he hauled in 15 rebounds, with eight of them coming on the offensive end. McCormack may be able to repeat that performance, as the Wildcats can’t change that they are one of the smaller teams in the country.
His size advantage will slow down the Wildcats on both ends of the floor.
Kansas State vs. Kansas Betting Pick
The first matchup between these two teams went way over the total of 138, as 153 points were scored. But that was indeed an outlier, as you had a career-high performance from Nigel Pack and a high-tempo comeback from the Jayhawks in the second half.
Kansas State tends to play much slower and also forces its opponents into much slower possessions with its excellent defense. As a result, I see this matchup regressing to the norms of both teams and culminating in a much lower-scoring contest.