Kansas State vs Montana State Odds, Picks | Watch For the Upset

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Getty Images. Design by Matt Roembke/Action Network. Pictured from left: Keyontae Johnson of Kansas State and RaeQuan Battle of Montana State.

Kansas State vs Montana State Odds

Friday, March 17
9:40 p.m. ET
CBS
Kansas State Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-7.5
-110
139.5
-110o / -110u
-350
Montana State Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+7.5
-110
139.5
-110o / -110u
+275
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

After crashing out in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas State looks to rebound against Big Sky champion Montana State.

Montana State is back in the NCAA Tournament after getting blown out last year by Texas Tech. The Bobcats bring back an experienced group that is getting hot at the right time. That matchup against Texas Tech was the worst possible opponent for the Bobcats, but this year they get a much better matchup in Kansas State.

Kansas State sputtered down the stretch. The Wildcats metrics don't grade out well compared to some of the other three seeds in this tournament and this matchup against Montana State is about as bad as it could be for what they want to do offensively.


Kansas State Wildcats

The Wildcats largely benefited from being incredibly good in Manhattan and getting some late-game variance to go their way.

The Wildcats were 16-1 at home this season and just 7-9 elsewhere.

The Wildcats are kind of a one trick pony because they need to be able to score at the rim for their offense to function properly. The Wildcats are the third-highest frequency team in the country in shot attempts at the rim (45%). They're also the highest frequency back-cutting team in the country. The problem in this matchup is Montana State is elite at defending those two areas.

If Kansas State isn't able to score at the rim with its back cuts, it'll have to be able to hit 3-point shots. The Wildcats are only shooting 34% from 3-point range and a lot of those shots are contested looks. Kansas State is 297th in Open 3-Point Rate, per ShotQuality

Additionally, Kansas State has also had turnover issues all season. It owns a 20% turnover rate, which is 299th in the country. Montana State is turning opponents over at a top-75 rate.

The Kansas State defense is top 20 in adjusted defensive efficiency, but is very average in the areas needed to defend Montana State.

The Wildcats are 147th in PPP allowed at the rim, 190th in PPP allowed off midrange jumpers and 205th in PPP allowed off pick-and-rolls — Montana State's three most frequent sets.

Kansas State has a really good 3-point defense, but that’s not going to matter in this game as Montana State doesn’t take a high number of 3-point shots.

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Montana State Bobcats

Montana State won 14 of its final 15 games in the Big Sky. It is an incredibly experienced team with four upperclassmen in the starting five, including a dynamic scorer in former Washington guard RaeQuan Battle, who is fourth in the country in percentage of shots taken when he’s on the floor. 

The Bobcats need to get the ball inside and get to the free-throw line, which they do at a top-10 rate in the nation. When they get to the line, they're shooting 76.3%. Meanwhile, Kansas State is 298th in free-throw rate allowed.

The Bobcats defense sets them up well in this game. Montana State has done an unbelievable job defending at the rim this season, allowing the sixth fewest PPP in the country. In fact, the Bobcats are only allowing opponents to shoot 51% on attempts at the rim, which will come in handy against Kansas State's offense.

The Bobcats defend cutting action at a top-20 rate, which is huge against the highest frequency cutting team in the country. They're also top 35 in PPP allowed off pick-and-roll sets. Montana State will be able to take away a lot of what Kansas State wants to do offensively.

Image via ShotQuality


Kansas State vs Montana State Betting Pick

This is a nightmare matchup for the Wildcats. Montana State's ability to defend Kansas State's strengths will be massive.

Montana State's ability to get to the rim and the free-throw line at an elite rate will also be huge in this game as those are two areas in which Kansas State struggles.

I love the Bobcats at +8.5 and would play them down to +6.5.

Pick: Montana State +8.5 (Play to +6.5)

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