Free Play Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Kansas State vs. TCU (1/14/2023) - Taking Vegas



Free Play Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: Kansas State vs. TCU (1/14/2023)

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
January 14, 2023
Photo by: Charlie Riedel - AP

Kansas State vs. TCU (1/14 @ 2:00 p.m. EST.)

Line: TCU -4.5

Kansas State vs TCU Breakdown and Betting Odds

The red-hot No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats (15-1) are heading to Fort Worth for a battle with the No. 17 TCU Horned Frogs (13-3) Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Horned Frogs are 4.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 147.5 points.

Since 1950, the Wildcats and Horned Frogs have played 29 times. Before TCU joined the Big 12, they had only played four times including a clash in the 1968 NCAA Tournament. Kansas State has won 19 of the 29 matches. Kansas State has won three of the last four including a conference tournament game in the 2021 season. Last season, the road team won both games.

Kansas State Overview

Kansas State is one of the hottest teams in the country. The Wildcats jumped out to a 6-0 start before a hiccup at Butler. They have won their last nine games including four games in the conference. They had all-important road wins over both Texas and Baylor, and now they return to Texas to play TCU. Kansas State had been unranked until the most recent polls, but they debuted at 11. It is the highest that the Wildcats have been ranked since the 2013 season and the first time they were ranked since 2019. Kansas State has already surpassed its 2020, 2021, and 2022 win totals. They are well on their way to their first NCAA tournament berth since 2019.

The offense has been scorching hot. In conference, the Wildcats have scored 82, 116, 97, and 65. They had the benefit of overtime in two of their wins, but scoring 116 points in a regulation game is no small task. Florida transfer Keyontae Johnson leads the way with 18.4 points per game. Markquis Nowell has also poured in 17.2 points per game. Nae’Qwan Tomlin rounds out the top trio with 11.1 points per game. The Wildcats are one of the more efficient teams in the NCAA, ranking 55th in offensive rating, 61st in field goal percentage, and 87th in free-throw percentage. They also share the ball well, ranking sixth in assists per game. Nowell leads the way with 8.8 assists per game.

The Wildcats have a strange defensive resume. They are 48th in defensive rating, but their points allowed per game slipped to 102nd, perhaps due to the handful of overtime games they have played. Kansas State has been excellent at limiting production from the three-point line. Opponents are hitting just 5.9 threes per game, a bottom 50 mark in the country. Teams are shooting a putrid 30.9% on long-range shots. Kansas State nabs an impressive 7.7 steals per game, and they block 3.1 shots per game. Tomlin is helping the cause with 1.3 steals per game and 1.3 blocks per game. Nowell has posted 2.3 steals per game, second in the conference. The former Little Rock guard has posted an impressive season on both sides of the ball. He has a personal defensive rating of 93.9 despite playing 35.1 minutes per game.

Kansas State is 12-4 ATS this season. They have won and covered in four consecutive games including impressive wins as 8.5-point and 7.5-point underdogs. This will be the third time in three weeks the Wildcats have been underdogs in the state of Texas. In their last game, they knocked off Oklahoma State as 5-point favorites. The over has hit in four of the last five games, but the under hit in the Oklahoma State game.

TCU Overview

Jamie Dixon’s bunch has spent much of the year ranked. After starting 2-0, the Horned Frogs had a shocking loss to Northwestern State to fall out of the polls, but they rebounded to win their next 11 games. However, they have struggled in the new year, dropping two of three games. Similar to Kansas State, TCU took trips to both Baylor and Texas, but TCU beat Baylor by one and lost to Texas in their most recent game. As impressive as their 13-3 record is, TCU needs to win this game to stay afloat in conference play. TCU opened the polls at No. 14, and they will need a solid win streak to move that high again.

TCU has a strong offense. They score 77.8 points per game, good for 59th in the country. They have a solid 108.4 offensive rating, good for 86th in the country. The Horned Frogs live inside the arc, taking a massive 43.1 twos per game, 13th in the country. TCU also gets to the line with ferocity, ranking 33rd in makes and 27th in attempts. Their 70.8% clip at the free-throw line is dead average, but they more than make up for it with their volume. The Horned Frogs’ deficiency is their inability to hit threes. They are 336th in conversion rate, hitting a poor 29.6% of their 18.4 attempts per game. TCU doesn’t take many threes (314th), but they are even worse at hitting them. Instead, the Horned Frogs opt to pound the paint and the offensive glass. Emanuel Miller is scoring 14.1 points per game with the help of making 62% of his twos and grabbing 1.7 offensive rebounds per game. Eddie Lampkin averages an absurd 3.7 offensive rebounds per game despite playing about 24 minutes per contest.

TCU might not be able to shoot threes, but they can defend the arc. Teams are making 5.8 threes per game at a 29.6% clip against the Horned Frogs. However, the Horned Frogs can just defend everywhere. They are 62nd in points allowed per game, but they are an excellent 21st in defensive rating. On a per-possession basis, TCU allows just 0.898 points. They are in the top 50 in both steals (8.6) and blocks (5.3) per game. Damion Baugh rips 2.2 steals per game while three different Horned Frogs average at least 0.9 blocks per game. Chuck O’Bannon and Micah Peavy both have 28 combined steals and blocks to lead the team. Leading scoring Mike Miles has an effective 93.5 defensive rating. Baugh’s defensive rating is an impressive 90.0, and super sub JaKobe Coles has a ridiculous 86.1 defensive rating.

TCU is a reasonable 9-6-1 ATS this season. In the last five games, TCU is 3-2 ATS. As favorites, TCU is just 1-2 ATS in their last three including a loss to Iowa State at home. In conference play, TCU is 2-2 ATS, but they covered both times they were underdogs while failing to cover both times they were the favorite. The over has hit in four of the last five games including TCU’s last three games.

My Free Pick: TCU -4.5

TCU’s path to success is in Kansas State’s weak zone. Kansas State has been productive from beyond the arc in recent games while TCU is a top team at limiting outside production. On the other side of the coin, Kansas State is not as strong on the interior as TCU, so TCU should get their beloved two-point shots and free throws at will. TCU -4.5 should be a solid bet as the Horned Frogs look to bounce back from their losing streak.