The Big 12 is set to beat each other up this weekend, and the Iowa State at Kansas betting matchup is the heavyweight bout. Both of these teams have started off 4-0 in the conference, with KU rising up to #2 in the rankings with a 15-1 start to the season.
Kansas’ impressive start to the season was expected, Iowa State’s was not. Make no mistake the Cyclones were solid last year but they lost two huge components from the Sweet 16 team with Tyrese Hunter transferring to Texas and Izaiah Brockington (17.5 ppg) using up his eligibility. ISU has shown they don’t need as much offense when they can play a clamp down defense that is giving up the 7th fewest points in the country (57.7 ppg).
Iowa State Defense Gets a Challenge
The Cyclones have put up great defensive numbers heading into Saturday afternoon’s game (4:00 PM ET, ESPN+). ISU ranks 6th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and have the lowest scoring defense in the Big 12.
The good news for Iowa State is that Kansas’ offensive numbers – that helped them win the National Championship – are down a bit this year from 28th in the country to 60th. That being said KU has tallied at least 75 points in 7 of their last 9, while Iowa State has only allowed more than 67 points once since November 30th so something has to give here.
After losing Hunter and Brockington, Gabe Kalscheur is Iowa State top returning scorer and it was his big three pointer with 1.3 seconds left that kept the Cyclones undefeated in conference play with a 69-67 win over TCU last Saturday. The Cyclones went on to absolutely dominate Texas Tech 84-50 this week behind 25 from Kalscheur, so ISU is ready for the showdown.
Kansas Ready to Take Over the Top
The Jayhawks are tied atop the Big 12 not only with Iowa State, but also Kansas State. KU gets a visit to Manhattan this week after the Iowa State at Kansas betting matchup so this is their opportunity to show supremacy atop the conference.
The Cyclones have a good defense, but there is a lot to be desired with their offense that ranks 80th in adjusted efficiency. In that respect KU is the much more balanced team, 13th offensively and defensively in the KenPom rankings.
Kalscheur can definitely get hot for the Cyclones, so the Jayhawks would like a little more consistency from their leading scorer Jalen Wilson who has tallied less than his 20.0 average in three straight games. Really the whole top of the Kansas offense including Gradey Dick (14.3 ppg) and Kevin McCullar, Jr. (11.0) have been lacking in standout games lately but that might also be an attest to the Jayhawks’ impressive depth.
Iowa State at Kansas Betting Pick
Kansas is a -7.5 favorite here which might seem like a lot against a good Iowa State defense. The Cyclones simply don’t have the offense to keep this one within 7.5 points however, and it’s also a special day at Phog Allen Fieldhouse with KU hosting a 125th anniversary celebration of their basketball team. The fans are going to get a show.
Free Pick: Kansas -7.5