As we are one month away from the greatest month in the college basketball season, the Big 12 conference has far and away proved themselves as the deepest in Division 1. The conference has many competitive teams which has led to plenty of blood baths as they each are vouching for a conference championship slot and a higher seeding in the NCAA Tournament. There are currently six Big 12 teams ranked in the AP Top 25. There are currently three teams tied for the Big 12 conference lead at 9-4, but there are many teams a game or two back that are still clawing for their shot.
Two of those ranked teams that are one and two games back are facing off this weekend. The Iowa State Cyclones are heading to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Kansas State Wildcats. Iowa State is currently ranked 19th and are sitting at 8-5 in the Big 12. They are one game back from the leaders, so a win on the road against another ranked opponent as we get down the final stretch. Kansas State is currently sitting at 12th and are sitting at 7-6. They were in the top ten recently but have been on a slow patch recently in this tough conference schedule. The Wildcats have dropped four of their last five games and are in desperate need for a win to get back on track. Both of these teams certainly need a win to still have a chance at winning the conference and also to stack up another tier 1 win on their season. Let’s jump into this game’s odds and predictions:
Iowa State vs. Kansas State Picks & Predictions
Prediction: Kansas State ML
I think this is going to be a close matchup but I think Kansas State is due for a bounce back win after dropping two straight. They are too good of a team to lose five out of six. This conference has repeatedly punched each other in the mouth so I think this is one where the Wildcats get one back and not lose their grip further on a chance to compete for the conference title. I think Iowa State is extremely good but this is a tough road environment. Kansas State has three players averaging double digits in scoring with Keyontae Johnson, Markquis Nowell, and Nae’Qwan Tomlin. They will all need to have excellent games to come out with a victory in front of their home crowd. The Cyclones also have three double digit scorers in Jaren Holmes, Gabe Kalscheur, and Caleb Grill. Holmes leads the way with 13.6 PPG and will certainly need a big game on the road to keep his team in it on the offensive side. I think Kansas State will win a narrow game by around four or five points.
I think if Kansas State is able to control the narrative of the game and make sure their offense gets off hot, I could see this being a high scoring game. I could see the outcome ending up around 145 and a possible over, depending on where the line is placed.
Iowa State vs. Kansas State Betting Odds
There are no betting lines out just yet but it is easy to speculate where it may be placed. Kansas State is playing at home and Manhattan is not an easy place for visitors to enter with a very rowdy home crowd. They also have the ranking advantage as well. Both are in between 10-19 so not a huge advantage for the Wildcats in that department. Momentum is also something that will affect Kansas State as they have lost two games in a row. Both tough losses against unranked opponents in Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Iowa State enters this game after an impressive win against TCU but did suffer two straight losses prior to that against Oklahoma State and West Virginia. Looking at Kenpom’s analytical rankings, Iowa State actually has the advantage as they are ranked 15th. Kansas State is currently back at 26th. ESPN Analytics is giving Kansas State a very slim advantage to come out victorious with a 55.8% chance to win at home. I think playing at home will give Kansas State a better chance to come in as moneyline favorites but I expect the spread line to be extremely narrow. I think this line will be one or two points in the Wildcats’ favor. -1.5 would be a smart prediction.
The over/under line is not placed yet but it’s possible to estimate based on calculating each team’s scoring averages. Iowa State currently averages 70.1 PPG with Kansas State averaging 75.9. Giving the Wildcats a bit of an offensive edge. On the defensive side, the Cyclones allow 61.6 PPG and the Wildcats allow 68.6 PPG. Iowa State maintains the defensive edge. I would expect the line to be placed right around 140 or 135.
Keyontae Johnson vs. Iowa State
The biggest matchup will be how Keyontae Johnson faces off against the Cyclones. He has been the best player for Kansas State this season. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 17.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG. In their past two recent losses, he has not scored 15 or higher, so being able to get to that number on the offensive side would certainly help elevate the Wildcats to a possible win. Expect a good game for him in this Big 12 matchup.