Kansas State, Iowa State Try To Reverse Current Form
Another day, another battle between ranked Big 12 squads as No. 19 Iowa State Cyclones travel to Manhattan to challenge the 12th-ranked Wildcats of Kansas State.
Both the Cyclones and Wildcats are fighting for their postseason lives as recent results have gone the wrong way since the teams went down to the wire in late January.
The Wildcats’ issues center around their top two players in Keyontae Johnson, who has met his scoring average once in the last eight games, and Markquis Nowell, who is 9-for-42 from 3-point territory with 28 turnovers vs. 24 assists in the last five contests.
“Teams are doing a really good job of loading up on our two best players and we have to do a better job of manipulating the defense to help them be a little more effective,” Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang, who has put together the second best starting record (19-7) by a first-year coach in school history, told the media.
The Cyclones, who lead the nation with seven wins over Top 25 teams and four over Top 10 teams, have struggled to beat unranked teams, dropping five such games recently.
The Iowa State defense, which forces turnovers on 26% of its opponents possessions and allows just 32.2% shooting from 3-point range, hasn’t answered the call on the road as the Cyclones permitted 78, 80 and 76 points in three losses in the last few weeks.
T.J. Otzelberger unveiled a 1-3-1 zone defense in Iowa State’s recent win over TCU, a change up from the usual man-to-man defense the Cyclones like to employ.
Tomlin Could Shine Inside for Cats
Nae’Qwan Tomlin could be in line for a big game against the Cyclones, who have allowed opponents to shoot 52.3% on two-point shots and 61% at the rim.
Take away his 3-point attempts and Tomlin, a former junior college All-American at Chipola College in Flroida, is shooting 52.9% from the field.
The 6-10 forward is the third-leading scorer for the Wildcats (10.8 per game) while ranking in the top 15 in the Big 12 in rebounds (154) and blocked shots (24).
Kunc Spearheading Cyclone Defense
Aljaz Kunc’s return after missing 10 games with a broken hand has been the key to the 1-3-1 zone for the Cyclones with the 6-8 forward playing up top.
The native of Slovenia, who has registered 35 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the last two games, is able to use his big body to impair sightlines for the opposition.
“Jaz has a tremendous natural feel,” Otzelberger told the media of Kunc, who went 5-of-8 from beyond the arc against TCU. “He knows personnel. He knows when you are trying to throw a pass to the elbow, ball screen. He always seems to get a foot, a hand, something on the ball. Having him in it certainly is a lot more effective.”
Despite being a solid shooter, Kunc has never been much of a scorer as his 8.8 points per game is a career-high for a player who started his career at Washington State.
Iowa State vs Kansas State Game Injuries
Iowa State vs Kansas State Head-to-Head
Iowa State has won the last two meetings with Kansas State to push its lead in Big 12 games to 29-27. Kansas State has a large cushion (144-92) in the overall series.
Jaren Holmes had 23 points, including a pair of clutch free throws, and seven assists as the Cyclones earned a 80-76 home win against Kansas State Jan. 24.
Iowa State vs Kansas State Game Information
- Game: No. 19 Iowa State (17-8, 8-5 Big 12) vs No. 12 Kansas State (19-7, 7-6)
- Location: Bramlage Coliseum, Manhattan, KS
- Day/Time: Saturday, Feb. 18, 2 p.m. ET
- Iowa State vs Kansas State Live Stream: TBS.com
Iowa State vs Kansas State Betting Lines
Iowa State vs Kansas State Picks & Prediction
Kansas State, which is favored by 3 points on the NCAAB lines, has excelled at covering the spread at home, going 12-5, but they are just 5-10 as a favorite.
Iowa State 4-6 away and 5-7 as an underdog against the number.
Kansas State is listed at -160 in our Las Vegas college basketball odds. This means that if you wager $100 on the Wildcats, you have a chance to win $63. Iowa State is +185, offering a chance to win $185 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Kansas State a 61.54% chance to win, with the Cyclones 35.09%.