Kansas vs. Iowa State Expert Pick and Prediction – January 27, 2024
KANSAS VS. IOWA STATE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – January 27, 2024 — It’s one of the rarest sights in basketball: a Big 12 game involving Kansas, and the Jayhawks are catching points.
The Jayhawks have won or shared the Big 12 title 19 times in 24 seasons, including the past two seasons. But the Jayhawks have a tough fight on their hands to maintain the crown, as they’ve already taken losses at Central Florida and West Virginia, two of the perceived easier teams to beat in a loaded league.
The Jayhawks remain dynamite at Allen Fieldhouse, but in four true road games, Kansas is just 2-2, and the wins are Indiana and Oklahoma State, neither of whom rank as a Quad 1 win (75th or better).
And now they’ve got to deal with a little Hilton Magic. Kansas does handle the trip to Ames much better than the average Big 12 school, beating Iowa State six times in its past 10 visits to Hilton Coliseum.
But the Cyclones bested the Jayhawks in Ames last season, and they’ve barely been scratched at home. Only one team’s come to Ames and left with the margin of defeat closer than 10 points, and that was was then-No. 2 Houston.
The Cyclones haven’t seen a center like Hunter Dickinson this season, because there is nobody quite like Hunter Dickinson. But Dickinson can’t affect a game if his guards are too busy giving the ball to the other team, which has been a problem for Kansas at times. If the turnover issues come up again, the Cyclones have a big edge.
(16-3 SU, 11-7 ATS)
(15-4 SU, 12-6-1 ATS)
When: Saturday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m. EST
Where: Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa
Public Bets: 61% on Kansas
Public Money: 51% on Iowa State
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 26th, 2024.
Kansas vs. Iowa State In-Season Trends
These teams have traditionally played out rock fights. The past six meetings have all played out at under 140 points, and neither team has exceeded 71 points since 2021. But it’s worth noting that Iowa State has played at a faster pace this season than in its previous two years, and it’s no longer known for producing low scores.
The Cyclones can still play that way (see Houston), but they don’t always do so. The over has cashed in 12 of 19 games for Iowa State, including both its past two games.
Related: Farmers Open Expert Picks
Meanwhile, betting Kansas on the spread has been a fool’s errand unless the opponent comes from southbound on I-35. Of the Jayhawks’ past 11 games, they’ve gone just 3-8 ATS, and all three covers came against teams from south of Lawrence (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Wichita State). In true road games, the Jayhawks are 1-3 ATS.
This game will essentially come down to how Kevin McCullar Jr. can handle the Iowa State defense. The Cyclones have been known for their ball-hawking defense ever since Johnny Orr was coaching in Ames in the 1980s, and they lead the Big 12 in steals. McCullar Jr. coughed up the ball five times in Orlando against UCF, and if he struggles again, the Cyclones will cash in repeatedly.
Related: Angell’s Sports Analysis for Jan. 27
Milan Momcilovic came up big in the face of an unexpected challenge from Kansas State, scoring 19 points to help the Cyclones pull away. Iowa State doesn’t need him to win a battle with Hunter Dickinson, but it does need a solid performance.
Betting against Kansas is normally a great way to light money on fire. But something seems off with this Kansas team on the road. They’re prone to head-scratching stretches (something I got to see personally against Chaminade and Marquette), and they seem a fragile team away from their crowd in Lawrence.
That’s not a good situation when facing Iowa State in Ames. The Cyclones look like they’ve absorbed the lessons of the past two seasons and are ready to win a game like this. I might be crazy for doing this, but I’m backing the Cyclones.
Iowa State -4.5