Kansas State-TCU Betting Preview: Should Bettors Expect a Low-Scoring Matchup?

Kansas State-TCU Betting Preview: Should Bettors Expect a Low-Scoring Matchup? article feature image

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas State Wildcats forward Dean Wade (32), TCU Horned Frogs forward J.D. Miller (15).

Following college basketball’s thrilling weekend card, including Tennessee’s smackdown of Kentucky, three ranked teams are in action amid the major-conference slate while mid-major conference tournaments get underway as well.

Among them, No. 16 Kansas State travels to unranked TCU, with much on the line for both Big 12 programs. The Wildcats (12-4, 22-7) are playing for either an outright or share of the conference regular season crown while the Horned Frogs (18-11, 6-10) are hoping to play their way into first-round bye in the league tournament. They’d face ninth-place West Virginia if the action begin today.

Looking ahead towards March Madness, Bruce Weber’s bunch is slated for a No. 5 seed on Bracket Matrix — a cumulative ranking from the many projections — and Jamie Dixon’s crew is slated on the No. 11 line. Both squads would benefit greatly from a straight-up win, as it’d tack on a quadrant one win for either side.

So where’s the value in each of this critical matchup? Let’s break it down.

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Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs Betting Odds

  • Spread: Kansas State -1.5
  • Over/Under: 133
  • Time: 9 p.m. EST
  • TV: ESPN2

The Wildcats (16-13 against the spread) have covered in three of their past four games, including a bounce-back outright win over Baylor on Saturday — despite a loss ATS (+6.5). The Horned Frogs (14-15 ATS) have dropped back-to-back contests ATS, one of which came vs. Texas Tech (+4) on Saturday.

K-State possess a major advantage via its fifth-rated Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (88.8 opponents’ points per 100 possessions), generating the Big 12’s highest opponents’ turnover clip (22.6%) in the process. On the flip side, TCU has manufactured the third-highest rate (19.7%) in that department.

Weber’s unit forced the Horned Frogs into 18 turnovers In their last matchup on Jan. 19, including eight from their point guard Alex Robinson, leading to a mere 0.92 PPP. The Wildcats’ Kamau Stokes and Barry Brown combine to represent one the premier defensive backcourts in the country, so expect them to generate plenty of havoc once again.

TCU’s Kouat Noi, who’s known most for his perimeter touch (38.1%), missed that affair with a sickness. But Kansas State is letting up the 44th-lowest 3-point clip (31.4%) across Division I, so expecting the Horned Frogs to improve greatly upon their 25.0% 3-point shooting in that affair won’t bode well.

The Horned Frogs’ biggest strength comes inside, producing the fourth-highest 2-point scoring rate (48.9%) in conference play. The Wildcats are just as stingy from that area, though, yielding the third-lowest 2-point scoring percentage (45.5%).

On the flip side, K-State’s offense relies heavily on its perimeter shooting, notching the third-highest 3-point clip (36.9%) and fourth-highest 3-point scoring rate (35.5%), respectively, during its conference docket. The 6-foot-8 Dean Wade (13.2 points per game) leads the way with a 45.7% clip from behind the arc.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas State Wildcats forward Dean Wade (32).

Nevertheless, Dixon’s squad has allowed the lowest opponents’ 3-point clip (32.7%) and perimeter scoring rate (27.3%), respectively, in Big 12 play. K-State shot a mere 3 of 15 from that vicinity in their previous contest, too.

The under is just 3-5 (37.5%) in the Wildcats’ eight conference road games, and it is 3-4 (42.9%) in TCU’s seven home contests vs. conference foes. But Wade and Co. should control the pace via the 19th-lowest Adjusted Tempo (63.1 possessions per 40 minutes) in college basketball.

It’s the top play in this one, with both offenses set to struggle, as it hit in their last meeting (120) as well.

THE PICK: Under 133