The Kansas State Wildcats are trying to dethrone the Kansas Jayhawks atop the Big 12 Conference, but they still have work to do. Kansas State will host the Cyclones of Iowa State on Saturday in a battle of top-25 teams. The Wildcats held on for a 58-57 victory over Iowa State earlier this season in a classic battle.
Kansas State has won nine straight conference games and sit in first place in the Big 12 with a 9-2 record. The Wildcats are 19-5 overall on the season, and are ranked 18th in the latest Associated Press poll. Iowa State is ranked 23rd in the latest poll, and has an overall record of 18-6. The Cyclones sit in fourth place in the Big 12 Conference with a 7-4 record. Kansas State is -3.5 over Iowa State in this game.
Kansas State Must Slow Down the Pace
The Wildcats are successful when they are able to slow the game down, but it’s easier said than done against the Iowa State Cyclones. Kansas State is averaging just 65.9 points per game, but that is largely by design. The Wildcats are one of the top defensive teams in the country, allowing just 59.5 points per game. Watching Kansas State isn’t always enjoyable, but they have figured out a recipe for success.
Guard Barry Brown Jr. leads Kansas State in scoring, putting up 15.4 points per contest. He is the player that head coach Bill Self turns to when the Wildcats need a big bucket. Another reason for the Kansas State recent winning streak has been the return of Dean Wade. Wade has battled injuries during his college career, but is a proven scorer putting up 13.9 points per game this season. Kansas State is a veteran team, and they have a couple of proven scorers.
Iowa State Loves to Run and Gun
Iowa State is almost the exact opposite of Kansas State, as they want to push the tempo and try to score points in a hurry. This strategy didn’t work out in the first meeting with Kansas State, but it’s the only way they know how to play. The Cyclones are averaging close to 80 points per game this season, and are shooting 36 percent from the three-point line as a team.
Iowa State doesn’t really have a true interior scoring threat, but they get a ton of points from four of their perimeter stars. Guard Marial Shayok leads the team with 19.3 points per game, and take the majority of the shots for the Cyclones. Guard Tyrese Haliburton gives the Cyclones a deep shooting threat, making more than 45 percent of his three-point shots this season. If Iowa State is going to pull off this upset, they are going to have to shoot well from the perimeter.
Wildcats Make it 10 Straight Big 12 Wins
Kansas State was able to control the tempo in the first meeting with Iowa State, and they should be able to do it again on Saturday. Iowa State has the ability to score points in a hurry, but they don’t have the leadership or discipline to do it on the road. Both of these teams should make some noise in March, but Kansas State is the better team at the moment. Bet the Kansas State Wildcats -3.5 over the Iowa State Cyclones.