The Kansas State Wildcats will head 85 miles down I-70 west to take on the rival Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night. The Wildcats are coming off their best win of the season, an 84-68 victory over West Virginia in Manhattan on Saturday. The win was their first in conference play and brought them to 8-9 on the season.
The Wildcats are led by senior forward Xavier Sneed (14.6 points, 4.8 rebounds) and junior guard Cartier Diarra (13.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists). Kansas State is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the nation at just 65.6 points per game (309th), but in true Bruce Weber fashion, they are also 40th in the nation in points allowed at just 62.2 per game.
The Wildcats are also a top 10 team in the nation in turnover defense, according to Kenpom, turning opponents over at a rate of 24.9 percent.
The Jayhawks also put a notch in the left-hand column over the weekend, defeating Texas 66-57 in Lawrence. Kansas was fortunate enough to have the services of point guard Devon Dotson for the game despite being hampered by a hip injury. Dotson was able to play 39 minutes and scored 21 points in the game.
Kansas is led by Dotson (18.2 points, 4.3 assists) and big man Udoka Azubuike (13.1 points 9.2 rebounds) but also has solid role players all around them, with four other players averaging at least 7.8 points per game.
As a team, the Jayhawks average 76 points per game while surrendering just 61 per contest. They are currently the No. 1 team in the nation in Kenpom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric while being a top 10 team in offensive effective field-goal percentage. This Kansas team is the definition of balanced.
Kansas is a 15-point favorite at home, with the over/under set at 126.5.
Will The Wildcats Leave A Trail Of Feathers?
Kansas State’s record against the spread is a putrid 6-11 overall and an even more telling 3-11 over its last 14 games. The Wildcats are 2-5 ATS in games away from Manhattan and 1-6 straight up.
As an underdog, the Wildcats are 1-5 straight up on the season and 1-4 straight up in their last five games overall. Despite their offensive struggles and solid defensive play, they have gone over in nine of their last 13 games.
Kansas, Allen Fieldhouse A Winning Combination
The Jayhawks win in Lawrence. Since the 2010-11 season, Kansas is 143-8 inside the friendly confines of Phog Allen Fieldhouse, and exactly zero of those eight losses came at the hands of Kansas State. The Jayhawks have won 13 in a row against the Wildcats at home.
The Jayhawks are 10-7 against the spread this season and 9-3 ATS in their last dozen. They are 4-4 ATS at home this year, and the total has gone under in all of their last seven games.
The Easiest Pick Of The Day
Kansas doesn’t lose at home, and Kansas State coming off a highly emotional win at home is an easy team to fade. The Wildcats don’t have a frontcourt player that can hang with the behemoth that is Azubuike, and Dotson is an All-American-caliber point guard.
A line of -15 seems like a whole lot of points to cover, but when you have a road team on a quick turnaround that is offensively challenged to begin with playing arguably the best defensive team in the country, it’s not so much. The Jayhawks will cover at home; play the over.