Kansas State Vs. Iowa State: Odds, Picks, Predictions (1/24/23)

The Big 12 has easily separated itself as the most elite conference in basketball this season with a near elite top to bottom core. Sans a few struggling teams at the bottom, this conference is really anyone’s to win come conference tournament time. Two of those teams that are capable of winning it all reside in this matchup as the Kansas State Wildcats hit the road to battle it out against Iowa State. In what is sure to be a defensive chess match, who will come out on top?

Kansas State Vs. Iowa State Odds

Oddsmakers believe the Cyclones defense will be too much for the Wildcats to prevail, opening Iowa State as a -4.5 favorite on their home court. Bettors are also in agreement with them, backing the Cyclones up to -5.5. This number brings intrigue as it is climbing slightly higher than projections with most power ratings hovering around the five-point mark. It will be worth monitoring to see how high this number can climb before the upstart Wildcats become a must bet scenario.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 132. Bettors believe it was opened a tad bit low, backing the over up to as high as 133.5 as of writing with indicators pointing towards that number to climb even higher as we near tip off. This comes as a bit of a surprise as both units have excelled on defense, while the Cyclones offense has yet to round into elite form. This is an instant stay away for me, unless the number continues to climb before taking an under.

Kansas State Vs. Iowa State Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Wait on Kansas State spread

With that said, I am going to pass on this in a pregame perspective and will wait and see how high this number can climb before wagering on the Kansas State spread. As previously mentioned, the spread has already surpassed power rating projections by passing through the number of five, giving a potential signal that the spread may continue to climb as we inch towards tip off.

Kansas State is about as balanced as you can get at a very impressive rate by ranking 33rd in the nation in both Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom. Their defense will be the key metric to watch in this matchup as Iowa State’s offense has been their weak point in comparison to their defensive efficiency. Iowa State currently ranks 68th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.

Their lack of offense stems from their slow style of play, slowing the pace down to a snail’s pace and relying on limited possessions to generate scoring opportunities. They currently rank 307th in Adjusted Tempo, near dead last in the nation. While that has proven to work at a championship level via Virginia, the offense has not played at an efficient enough level for Iowa State to make them a serious contender. 

Their inefficiency is at no fault of their shooting percentages, shooting at an ideal clip from both the perimeter and the field as a whole. The Cyclones currently shoot 35.5% from deep and 45.8% from the field. What hurts them is when they are fouled, shooting at a disastrous 66.9% from the charity stripe. This is a major blow to their style of play, potentially resulting in an empty possession. Possessions are already more valuable than normal in their style of play, needing every Iowa State scoring opportunity to count.

Kansas State Vs. Iowa State Key Matchups

Can star player Keyontae Johnson crack the elite Cyclones defense?

Keyontae Johnson vs Iowa State interior defense

When it comes to cracking an elite defense such as Iowa State’s, a unit that ranks top-10 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, it all boils down to interior play. That means creating high quality looks down low that forces their perimeter defense to suck down to the paint to play help defense.

Kansas State’s Keyontae Johnson is a star and will be the main focal point of the Wildcat’s offense as he wreaks havoc down low in order to pull this off. He averages 18.5 points per game on 54.8% complete percentage from the field.

Kansas State also excels at facilitation, giving Johnson the ability to move off the ball and command attention to where they want the defense to shift. This bodes well if they can score consistently as the Cyclones will be hard pressed to respond.


I will pass on this game for now, waiting to see how high the Wildcats spread can climb before putting a position on them before tip-off.

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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