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If Offense Wins Games and Defense Wins Championships, Who Wins Tonight?

Iowa State and Kansas State meet this evening for a berth in the Big 12 championship game. It’s the third time they’ve hooked up in the last two months and will be the rubber match as the teams split the regular-season series. Kansas State took the first game 58-57 while Iowa State returned the favor at Manhattan with a 78-64 win on February 16. This game opens as a pick’em with the total at 131.

Iowa State vs Kansas State Game Center

Standout Stats

  • Iowa State is 12-2 SU in games when it hits more than nine three-pointers and the Cyclones knocked down 13 vs Baylor yesterday. In the two games vs K-State this season, they hit nine and 14 three-pointers respectively. Opponents are hitting an average of 7.2 three-pointers vs the Wildcats.
  • Kansas State comes into this game with the No. 1 scoring defense in the Big 12 at 59.6 points per game. Iowa State has the No. 1 scoring offense in the conference at 73.3 points per game. Normally at this time of year, defense trumps offense. With that, the UNDER has hit in four of K-State’s last five games with an average combined score of 121.4.
  • K-State is 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games, including the SU and ATS loss to Iowa State on February 16. Iowa State shot 52.7 percent from the floor in that game, well above its conference average of 45.4 percent. It was also the highest percentage that any Big 12 team shot from the floor vs Kansas State.
  • Iowa State has shot better than 50 percent from the floor in just three of its last 10 games. Incidentally, those are the only three games in which the Cyclones covered the spread during that stretch. This is a telling stat as they head up against the best defensive team in the conference, a team that held TCU to 27 points in the second half yesterday.
  • Teams shot better than 47 percent from the floor in just six of Kansas State’s 32 games this year. Iowa State has a 12-1 record when shooting better than 47 percent and a 9-10 record when shooting less than 47 percent.

My Pick for Iowa State vs Kansas State

Kansas State Moneyline -110

Call me old-fashioned but I’m fully comfortable taking the No. 1-ranked team in the conference not having to lay any points. I’m a proponent of defense wins championships, especially at the college basketball level where we see things tighten up come tournament time more often than not.

Kansas State is the best defensive team in the conference and is No. 3 in the country in scoring defense behind Virginia and Michigan. After a slow start against TCU yesterday, the Wildcats shut it down and I think they’ll provide a much more staunch challenge to Iowa State than Baylor.