Iowa State vs. Kansas (1/14 @ 4:00 p.m. EST.)
Line: Kansas -7.5
Iowa State vs Kansas Breakdown and Betting Odds
The No. 14 Iowa State Cyclones (13-2) are heading to Lawrence for an all-important clash with the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (15-1) Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET. The Jayhawks are 7.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 134 points.
Since 1950, Iowa State and Kansas have played 174 times. Kansas has owned the all-time series, winning 124 matchups for a 71.3% win rate. Iowa State has not won in Lawrence since 2017, and Kansas has won the last six games. Despite being ranked in both matchups last year, Iowa State dropped both games. The last time a ranked Iowa State team beat Kansas was in 2016. However, Kansas won both games last season by single digits.
Iowa State Overview
Iowa State began the season unranked, they have now spent four weeks in the polls. They began 5-0, but they got drubbed by Connecticut and Iowa to slip to 7-2. Since their loss to Iowa, Iowa State has been excellent, winning six in a row including a 4-0 start in the conference. Iowa State already has nine wins by at least 10 points including a pair in the Big 12. The Cyclones are a serious threat to win the conference, particularly if they knock off Kansas and move to 5-0 in the conference. Second-year coach T.J. Otzelberger has the Cyclones firing on all cylinders.
Beginning with the defense, Iowa State has one of the best units in college basketball. They are fifth in defensive rating, allowing 86.1 points per 100 possessions. From a pure points perspective, they allow the seventh fewest points per game, holding teams to 57.7 points per game. Part of their excellent defensive rating comes from a few cupcake matchups, but they have impressive performances against North Carolina (65 points), Baylor (62 points), Oklahoma (60 points), and Texas Tech (50 points). They have held nine teams under 40% from the field, and only two teams have hit 50% of their shots. Iowa State forces 19.9 turnovers per game, third-best in the country. They are sixth in steals per game with 10.3 per game. Five regulars average at least one steal per game including Tamlin Lipsey’s 1.9 per game. Among all Cyclones to play 100 minutes, the worst defensive rating is 90.4 – a mark that would be the best on most teams in the country.
Iowa State is much more average on offense. They are 182nd in scoring, pouring in 71.5 points per game. They are better on a rate basis, ranking 119th in offensive rating. The Cyclones have three players averaging 11 or more points per game, and they have four more regulars averaging at least six points per game. While they do not take many shots, they are efficient in their shots. They are 67th in field goal percentage and 107th in three-point percentage. They do not get to the line much, ranking 334th in attempts, and they could stand to increase their three-point barrage. Iowa State is 29th in assists per game and 88th in offensive rebounds per game.
Iowa State is 10-5 ATS this season. They have covered in their last four games, winning outright as the underdog against Baylor, Oklahoma, and TCU. They clobbered Texas Tech in their most recent win, covering -4.5. The over has hit in four of the last five games including the last two.
Kansas is once again one of the best teams in the country. The reigning champions are out to a 15-1 start including a 4-0 stretch in conference play. They have been in the AP’s top 10 the entire season, and they are now up to No. 2 after this nine-game win streak. Kansas has had a few close calls, winning seven games by six or fewer points, but only Tennessee has been able to topple the Jayhawks. Kansas has impressive neutral-site wins over Duke, North Carolina State, and Wisconsin. Kansas is 3-0 in true road games and 9-0 in home games. They are well on their way to extending their streak of consecutive tournament appearances. They last missed the tournament (given that it was played) in 1989.
Kansas has a productive offense, scoring 77.8 points per game, good for 59th in the country. They are marginally better on a rate basis, scoring 110.2 points per 100 possessions to rank 56th in offensive rating. Kansas has been lights out shooting the rock. They have hit 38.1% of their threes, good for 31st in the NCAA. The leading player is Gradey Dick who has hit 2.6 threes per game at a 47.2% clip. Dick is second on the team in scoring, trailing Jalen Wilson and his 20.0 points per game. Kevin McCullar and KJ Adams are also pitching in 10 points per game. Kansas is 73rd in the country in rebounds per game and 16th in the country in assists per game. They have been capable ball handlers, only turning the ball over 12 times per game.
Defensively, Kansas is similarly ranked. They are 84th in points allowed per game, but they are 47th in defensive rating. They permit teams to hit a paltry 30.5% of their three-point shots, and teams are hitting just 40.1% of their overall shots against Kansas. They are in the top 100 in steals per game (9.2, 28th) and blocks per game (4.0, 86th) while forcing 15.3 turnovers per game (61st). McCullar is averaging 2.7 steals per game and Dajuan Harris has nabbed 2.1 per game Adams averages 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Of the seven Jayhawks to play 100 minutes, only Bobby Pettiford has a defensive rating higher than 100.
Kansas is 7-9 ATS this season. In their last five games, Kansas is 2-3 ATS. They failed to cover any of their double-digit spread games, but they did hold on to knock off Texas Tech and West Virginia as 1.5-point favorites. The under is 3-2 in the last five games, but the over is 2-1 in the last three games.
My Free Pick: Iowa State +7.5
Kansas has been stellar this season, but they have played their fair share of close games so far. Iowa State’s defense should keep the game within striking distance but expect the veteran Jayhawks to pull out the victory. If the game comes down to the wire, the best bet to hold is Iowa State +7.5. The under is also a solid play as both teams excel defensively.