Kansas Jayhawks vs. Iowa State Cyclones Preview and Pick

Kansas Jayhawks (23-4), -11, o/u 134 @ Iowa State Cyclones (14-13), +11, o/u 134, Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa, 7 p.m. Eastern, Wednesday
by Oracle at Predictem.com

A lot of college basketball fans are asking themselves what’s happening to the top teams around the country. First, Duke loses 2 straight to unranked opponents, then Memphis goes down, now Tennessee gets upset by Vanderbilt. To make things even worse, the once No.1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks have lost 2-of-3.

Needless to say, the selection committee is going to have a whale of a time on Selection Sunday in two and a half weeks.

The 7th ranked Jayhawks come into Wednesday night’s Big 12 match up against Iowa State 11-point favorites at most hoops betting sites. The over/under opened at 134.

Although the game is at the Hilton Coliseum where the Cyclones are 12-4, it’s hard not to like Kansas. The Jayhawks beat up on an offensively inept Iowa State team in January by an 83-59 score. In that contest, ISU shot just 31% from the field and was out rebounded 39-30. Meanwhile, all five Kansas starters finished in double figures, led by Darnell Jackson’s 21 points and 11 rebounds. Jackson shoots a blistering 65% and pulls down nearly 7 rebounds per game on the year.

The backcourt leadership of Mario Chalmers and Brandon Rush has given Jayhawks fans and others outside of Lawrence high hopes. Chalmers hasn’t been the same player as of late, though, averaging just 11 points per contest on 40% shooting, well below his 52% average on the year.

Rush has also been relatively quiet, averaging in single digits (9.5) over the span of four games, well below his 12.1 points per game.

Kansas needs to get these two players back to the norm, and Iowa State may be just the right ingredient for them to get back into the groove of things.

On paper, the Jayhawks dominate Iowa State in every offensive and defensive category. Kansas has the third-best field goal percentage in the country (50.5%) and are 13th in scoring (81.6 ppg). Factor in a Kansas defense that holds opponents to just 38.4% shooting 11th in the nation and out rebounds its opponents by over 7 per game, you have a final recipe of disaster for the Cyclones.

Iowa State doesn’t need any help not putting the ball in the hole. It scores just 64 points per game and has made just 31% from beyond the arc on the year (306th in the nation).

The Cyclones will try to use the tandem of leading scorer Jiri Hubalek (13.2 ppg), at 6-feet 11-inches, and 6-10 Craig Brackins (10.9 ppg) down low.

This means Kansas’ frontcourt of Sasha Kahn (6-11) and Darrell Arthur (6-9) will have to hold down the paint. Kahn and Arthur did just that, holding Hubalek and Brackins to a combined 21 points on 9-of-24 shooting in the first go around, in the first meeting.

The Cyclones do play well at home, though, as they are 10-5 ATS and the over is 9-6. They’re also 4-1 ATS in their past 5 home games against a team with a winning road record. But along with Iowa State losing 5 of its last 6 games overall, they’re 2-4 ATS in that span.

Since the Jayhawks have played below their expectations over the past couple of weeks, their trends ATS are abundant. Kansas is 0-5 against the spread in its past five road games, including an 0-4 mark against teams that have a winning home record.

The under is 4-1 in Kansas’ last five road games. Combine that with a dreadful Iowa State offense, bettors may want to look closer at the 134 over/under this game opened up with. The under is also a big winner (13-4) in Iowa State’s past 17 home games.

If Kansas can play like they’re capable of, there isn’t much of a reason that this game shouldn’t be like the drubbing they gave the Cyclones back in January. That’s a big if, though.

Oracle’s Pick: Kansas has been playing too inconsistent of late to be favored this big. Inconsistency for bettors causes problems. Therefore, stay away from the spread and take the under.