College Basketball Big 12 Handicapping: Kansas State Wildcats at Baylor Bears

Kansas State Wildcats at Baylor Bears
Ferrell Center – Waco, Texas

Saturday, February 15, 2014, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Baylor -4 1/2
Current Line: Baylor -5
Opening Total: 127 1/2
Current Total: 131 1/2
Opening Money Line: Baylor -200 / Kansas State +170
Current Money Line: Baylor -210 / Kansas State +180

Baylor is a 5 point favorite at home against Kansas State Saturday.
Baylor is a 5 point favorite at home against Kansas State Saturday.

The 17-7 Kansas State Wildcats travel to the 15-9 Baylor Bears Saturday night in a key Big 12 game. The Big 12 is proclaimed by many to be one of the deepest conferences in the country along with the Big Ten. The Big 12 is projected to get as many as 7 teams in the NCAA tournament. Kansas State is 7-4 in the Big 12 and in third place behind 9-2 Kansas and 8-3 Texas. Baylor is 3-8 in conference and in ninth place ahead of only 0-11 TCU.

Kansas State leads the series against Baylor 16-12, including 5-5 in Waco. The Wildcats swept both meetings last season including 81-61 in Manhattan and 64-61 in Waco. The two teams will close out the regular season against each other March 8 in Manhattan.

Kansas State is coached by Bruce Weber. The Wildcats have losses to Northern Colorado, Charlotte and Georgetown in a tournament in Puerto Rico, at Kansas, at Texas, at Iowa State and at West Virginia. Kansas State has key wins over Oral Roberts, Long Beach State twice (once in Puerto Rico), Ole Miss, Gonzaga in Wichita, Tulane in Brooklyn, George Washington, Oklahoma State, at TCU, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Texas and Monday against Kansas 85-82 in overtime. Kansas State has won 3 of their last 4 games including 2 straight. The Wildcats are 14-7-1 ATS and the total is 7-14 this season.

Kansas State is outscoring teams 69-62 this season. The Wildcats are #21 in points allowed nationally. Kansas State is shooting 43.5% from the field and 32.1% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #226 or worse out of 351 teams nationally in scoring, field goal percentage and three point shooting. Kansas State is #323 in free throw shooting at 64.7% from the line. Wildcat opponents are shooting 39.8% from the field and 29.2% from 3 point range. Kansas State is #34 in field goal defense and #17 in three point defense. The Wildcats average 36.5 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.5 per game. Kansas State averages 15.2 assists, 12 turnovers, 6.1 steals, and 2.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 10.7 assists, 13 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 3.6 blocks.

Guard Marcus Foster averages 14.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Forward Thomas Gipson averages 11.7 points and 6.5 points per game. Guard Shane Southwell averages 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Forward Wesley Iwundu averages 7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Will Spradling averages 7.8 points, 3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward Nino Williams averages 5.6 points and 3 assists per game. Nigel Johnson, Jevon Thomas, D.J. Johnson, and Omari Lawrence will also get time in the rotation.

Baylor is coached by Scott Drew. The Bears have losses to Syracuse in the Maui Invitational, road losses at Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas and Oklahoma and  home losses to Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Kansas. Baylor has key wins over Colorado in Dallas, South Carolina, Dayton in Maui, Kentucky in Arlington, TX, Oral Roberts, TCU twice (including 91-58 Wednesday in Fort Worth) and Oklahoma State. Baylor went 12-1 in non-conference play. The Bears are 6-10-1 ATS and the total is 9-7 this season.

Baylor is outscoring teams 75-68 this season. The Bears are shooting 46.3% from the field and 40.7% from 3 point range. Baylor is #9  in three point shooting. The Bears are #298 nationally out of 351 teams in free throw shooting making 65.8% from the line. Baylor opponents are shooting 42.4% from the field and 35.2% from 3 point range. The Bears average 38.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 28 per game. Baylor is #33 in rebounding and #37 in rebounds allowed nationally. The Bears average 15.5 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 5.3 steals and 5.3 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.6 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 5.6 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Baylor forward Cory Jefferson averages 12.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Guard Brady Heslip averages 11.9 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.   Center Isaiah Austin averages 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game. Guard Kenny Chery averages 9.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He is questionable with an ankle injury. Forward Taurean Prince averages 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Forward Rico Gathers averages 8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Gary Franklin, Royce O’Neale, and Ish Wainwright will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Guard Allerik Freeman is out indefinitely with a broken hand, and hasn’t played yet this season.

Kansas State is 9-2 ATS after a win and a cover, 13-3 against teams with winning records, 12-3 overall, 6-2 in Saturday games and in Big 12 games. The underdog is 13-5 ATS in this series recently. The Wildcats are 6-2 ATS against the Bears in the last 8 meetings.

Baylor is 4-0 ATS against teams with losing road records, 11-25 after a cover, 7-18 in Saturday games, 2-6-1 overall and in Big 12 games, 1-5-1 against teams with winning records, 1-6 after a straight up win, and 0-4 at home.

Something has to give as Kansas State has lost 4 straight road games, while Baylor has lost 4 straight home games. Kansas State is much better at home than on the road. I like Byalor to win at home, but it will be tight.

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