For just the second time this season, two teams in the college basketball betting world lock horns that are ranked in the Top-5 in the nation when the Kansas State Wildcats (24-4, 16-6-1 ATS) meet the Kansas Jayhawks (27-2, 10-15-1 ATS) in Allen Fieldhouse.
What's At Stake: It's possible to believe that the Wildcats could run down the Jayhawks for a tie for first place in the Big XII in the regular season. KSU would have to win this game and beat Iowa State over the weekend and hope that Kansas gets beaten by Missouri for that to happen though. The more important theme for this game is fact that both of these teams could still grab #1 seeds to the NCAA Tournament. It doesn't feel like the Jayhawks need to do too much more to get the job done, while the Wildcats will need a victory in this game and a deep run into the Big XII Tournament or the tourney championship to steal a slot on the top line a week from Sunday.
College Basketball Odds: Kansas -9 at 5Dimes Sportsbook
Kansas State Notes: KSU has the third highest scoring team in the Big XII at 80.4 points per game, while playing suitable defense at 68.3 points per game. The team has rolled off SU victories in all seven games since suffering that loss at home to Kansas, while it is also 7-2 ATS in its L/9 games overall. Four of those wins came away from Manhattan, but victories against Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Nebraska wouldn't even nearly compare to pulling off the upset in Lawrence.
Kansas Notes: For weeks, it appeared as though Kansas was just itching for an upset. The team continued playing with fire game after game, and it finally caught up in the defeat last Saturday in Stillwater. In this stretch of nine games in which the Jayhawks are just 1-8 ATS, they've played two overtime games and one game right down to the wire against Texas A&M to go with the 'L' to Okie State. Their L/4 home wins have all come by double digits, but none of those were good enough for covers. KU is tops in the Big XII and fourth in the nation in scoring at 82.4 points per game on the season, which is making it hard for opposing teams to keep up considering that they are only shooting 37.6% for the season against the Jayhawks.
Players to Watch
Jacob Pullen, Kansas State Wildcats: Not only does Pullen lead the team in scoring at 18.5 points per game, but he also has already proven that he can play with these Jayhawks. In the overtime defeat at home, Pullen put up 22 points, a game-high. For the season, the junior has 11 games in which he has scored at least 20 points.
Cole Aldrich, Kansas Jayhawks: Aldrich is perhaps HC Bill Self's best all-around player. The offense probably doesn't rotate through the big man often enough, as he is third on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game. However, he's the squad's leading rebounder at 10.0 per game, making him one of the few players in the nation to average a double-double. One of those double-doubles came against these Wildcats, as Aldrich scored 18 points and yanked down 11 boards in the 'W'.
Trends of Note
-Kansas State is 12-3-1 ATS in its L/16 games against teams with winning percentage above .600
-Kansas State is 15-5-1 ATS in its L/21 games overall
-Kansas is 5-0-1 ATS in its L/6 games following an SU defeat
-Kansas is 22-9-1 ATS in its L/32 games against teams with a winning percentage above .600
-Kansas is 9-19 ATS in its L/28 home games against teams with a winning road record
-Kansas is 17-6 ATS in its L/23 clashes with the Wildcats
Final Analysis: Kansas has a great history of playing at Allen Fieldhouse, which makes it scary to bet against, but when push really comes to shove, this is a ton of points to be issuing a Top-5 team in the nation. The Wildcats have already proven that they have the ability to beat this team outright, and this is the equivalent of their Super Bowl. Kansas will probably find a way to eke out a victory based on talent alone, but taking those nine points is far too inviting to leave on the table.
Selection: Kansas State +9