Iowa State Vs. Kansas Odds, Picks, Predictions NCAAB (1/14/23)

Don’t look now, but Kansas is on their way to another NCAA championship. While it’s still early, Kansas has been one of the most efficient teams on both ends of the court and are looking every bit as their former championship selves. Next in their path is the shockingly good Iowa State Cyclones, a sleepy Big 12 contender who has been effective with an elite defense. Can their defense lock down the Jayhawks and generate the upset?

Iowa State Vs. Kansas Odds

Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Cyclones as a +8 favorite. Bettors have yet to make a stand on either end, keeping the spread at the opening number. This comes as a slight surprise, going over the key number of six and giving extra security for potential late fouling situations.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers set the opening number at 133. This is an instant pass for me as this is a clash between the Cyclones elite defense against the Kansas perimeter offense.

Iowa State Vs. Kansas Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Iowa State +8

The Cyclones have been covering machines in their last five games, going 4-1 ATS. This sets up nicely for another covering opportunity with their style of play. The Jayhawks offense has been explosive but are now going against a Cyclones defense that is one of the best they will face this season. Iowa State will look to turn this into a defensive slugfest and control the pace with their slow tempo. The Cyclones currently rank 292nd in Adjusted Tempo per Kenpom.

If Iowa State wants to get the upset, then it will be on the backs of their defense once again. Their defense is as ferocious as it gets, ranking fifth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom. That has been the case all season long for the Cyclones as their offense has been slightly above average at best.

Their suffocating style of play has specialized in limiting the quality of shots for opposing offenses. They rank near top of the nation in points allowed, while also forcing a low effective field goal percentage. Kansas lacked a rhythmic perimeter offense early in the season, forcing looks at times with few consistent shooters. They have since improved, making Iowa State’s perimeter defense the key metric to watch in order to cover the spread.

Speaking of perimeter shooters, the Jayhawks Gradey Dick has exploded onto the scene as one of Kansas’ most lethal shooters in school history. He has an extremely quick release that punishes sagging defenders and has been a consistent force from deep. He currently averages 14.3 points per game on 47.2% from the perimeter.

He will be one of the main focal points for the Iowa State defense to limit as he can spread them thin with his unreal shooting abilities. If the Cyclones can get him out of a rhythm early, then they can take advantage of an anemic Kansas offense that will look to force looks elsewhere while still being able to control the paint.

Iowa State Vs. Kansas Key Matchups

Can the Cyclones offense find enough production to keep scoring pace with the Jayhawks?

Iowa State trio vs Kansas perimeter defense

It’s not the most efficient offense, but Iowa State has enough firepower to get the upset victory should their defense limit the Jayhawks scoring production. Iowa State currently ranks 79th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency per Kenpom, not ideal for going against elite competition.

They play relatively thin with only eight players getting meaningful minutes. A brunt of their scoring comes from on top of the perimeter with their top three scorers all coming from the guard position. Those guards are Jaren Holmes, Gabe Kalscheur, and Caleb Grill.

It should be no different this time around as Iowa State will look to turn their defense into offense and slow down the pace of play. That means more halfcourt sets from their guards running the show to create space. 

It will be interesting to see how efficient they fare early on with this style of play. They may be more pressed to pick up the pace and score in transition as the Jayhawks are a sneaky elite defense. They currently rank top-15 in AdjD.

Verdict

Back the Cyclones in what will be a defensive slugfest. If they can control the pace of play and make Gradey Dick a non-factor, then they can potentially get the upset victory.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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