Tuesday College Basketball Betting: Kansas-Kansas State, St. John’s-Marquette

Tuesday College Basketball Betting: Kansas-Kansas State, St. John’s-Marquette article feature image

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Markus Howard

Two of the biggest questions for college basketball fans and bettors on Tuesday night:

  • Can Kansas State make a legitimate claim as the best team in the Big 12?
  • Can Marquette keep pace with Villanova in the battle for the Big East title?

Let’s head to the Big 12 and Big East on Tuesday to preview two huge matchups.

>> All odds as of 8:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.

Kansas Jayhawks at Kansas State Wildcats

  • Spread: Kansas State -1.5
  • Over/Under: 130
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Jayhawks (17-5) enter this game at a crossroads. They grabbed a huge 79-63 win at home over Texas Tech on Saturday, ending their two-game losing streak. They sit at 6-3 in the Big 12, just a half a game out of first place.  However, they have lost four of their last five games on the road. Kansas is only 8-11-1 against the spread, including a shocking 0-5-1 on the road.

Kansas State (16-5) has finally started to play to its potential. The Wildcats are tied for first place in the Big 12 at 6-2 and have won six of their last seven games. They bounced back from a non-conference road loss at Texas A&M with an 18-point win at Oklahoma State.

The Wildcats are 10-1 at home this year and are 5-0 ATS in their last five conference games.

Kansas has struggled on the road in the Big 12, especially on defense. In their eight Big 12 games, the Jayhawks rank eighth in defensive rebounding and seventh in defending the 3-pointer.

Their offense has been solid, but the loss of big man Udoka Azubuike has allowed teams to focus on leading scorer Dedric Lawson (19.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg). In his last two road conference games, Lawson is only averaging 12 ppg, while shooting 34.6% (9 of 26 from the field), including 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

Kansas State has won three consecutive home games since the return of senior center Dean Wade (14.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg).  The Wildcats feature the nation’s eighth-best defense as per adjusted defensive efficiency and second-best overall in the Big 12.

The Wildcats defense is fantastic at limiting second-chance points, ranking third nationally in fewest offensive rebounds allowed.

Kansas State has lost three consecutive games at home against Kansas, but this year will be different. Their stifling defense will limit a struggling Kansas offense and Wade will provide Lawson’s toughest defensive matchup all season.

The Jayhawks’ road woes will continue in the Octagon of Doom on Tuesday night.

THE PICK:  Kansas State -1.5

St. John’s Red Storm at Marquette Golden Eagles

  • Spread: Marquette -6.5
  • Over/Under: 154
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

St. John’s  (16-6) has struggled since starting the season 12-0, going just 2-5 in its last seven games and with three of four losses on the road.  The Red Storm are just 7-8-1 overall against the spread and 4-5-1 on the road.

Marquette (19-3) is the only Big East team that poses a legitimate threat to Villanova for the regular season title. The Golden Eagles are 8-1 in the conference and a perfect 14-0 at the Fiserv Forum. They are 11-6 overall ATS including 7-3 at home.

The Red Storm need to stop their free fall. At one time they were considered a dark horse to win the conference title. Now, they are simply trying to make the NCAA Tournament.

St. John’s has just been middle of the conference in both offense and defense in conference play. The Red Storm rank fifth in the conference in adjusted offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive 2P%.

Their 3-point shooting has suffered during their recent slump. Junior guard Shamorie Ponds (20.4 ppg) has been the leading scorer all season but is just 7 of 24 from 3-point land in his last four games. Guard Mustapha Heron has been even worse, shooting just 2 of 9 from deep in his last two.

The biggest mismatch will occur on the boards, where Marquette holds a massive advantage. St. John’s is 338th in offensive rebounding percentage while the Golden Eagles are 29th in the country in limiting their opponents on the glass.

Since conference play began, Marquette has been the best in the conference in defensive effective field goal percentage and 2P%. The Eagles also lead the conference in blocks per game.

Offensively, Marquette has been unstoppable at home. They are first in 3P% and free throw percentage within the conference.

No team has been able to stop Marquette’s Markus Howard (25 ppg) who is shooting 43.3% from 3P and is the eighth-best free throw shooter in the country at 91.1%.

Marquette’s only loss in conference was 89-69 at St. John’s on Jan. 1. Besides wanting to keep pace with Villanova, the Golden Eagles will want revenge at home.

Marquette has been dominant at home, having already beaten Kansas State, Wisconsin, and Xavier. St. John’s is not playing well and would need to play its best game of the year to keep this close.

Take the undefeated Golden Eagles at home with Markus Howard making a statement for Big East Player of the Year against Shamorie Ponds.

THE PICK:  Marquette -6.5