College Basketball Picks: Kansas vs. Iowa State

Jeff Grant

Friday, January 16, 2015 3:47 PM GMT

Iowa State is hosting the first ESPN GameDay of the season, which will play a part in college basketball oddsmakers installing the school as slight home favorites against Kansas Saturday.

Moving Past the Holidays

Kansas has won and covered the number in its last five games since dropping a 77-52 decision to Temple before the holidays, which is important to consider when making your NCAA Basketball pick, as it comes off a 67-57 victory over Oklahoma State as 7.5-point home favorites.

The Jayhawks are the only undefeated team in Big 12 Conference play with a 3-0 record, while it has proven victorious in two of three true road games overall.

Offensively, the team has two players averaging double figures in scoring, with sophomore Frank Mason III leading the way at 12.4 points a contest.

Sports bettors will find that the program is 24-9-1 ATS in its last 34 games versus conference opponents.

 

Measuring Stick
Iowa State has gone 2-7 SU in this series under the direction of head coach Fred Hoiberg, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, with four of the last eight meetings being decided by nine or fewer points.

A trip to the 2015 NCAA Tournament would be historic for the Cyclones, as they’ve never participated in that event in four consecutive years, while they try to push their current home win streak to 16 games Saturday.

It’s important to point out that the squad has captured 11 of its last 13 home meetings against top-25 foes.

The Cyclones are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss, as they were unable to make up a large early deficit in a 74-73 defeat to the Baylor Bears Wednesday.

 

Extending the Defense
The Kansas Jayhawks lead the Big 12 in shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc, with Mason knocking down 22 shots from that area of the floor, while Wayne Selden Jr. sits just one behind him in that category.

Kansas will find a way to attack Iowa State’s defense in this matchup, as Bill Self has won 20 of 24 meetings in this series since arriving in Lawrence.

 

Catching Fire
The Cyclones are capable of matching the Jayhawks firepower from long range, as they’ve connected on 44.7 percent of their 3-point attempts over the last 2.5 games.

Iowa State enters as the Big 12’s top scoring team at 79.9 points per game—helped by occupying the top spot in dishing out an average of 18.5 assists.

 

Outlook
I’ve developed a handicapper line favoring the Cyclones by two points, which means college basketball handicappers should back them at a number equal to or lower in value, while grabbing the Jayhawks at 2.5 or higher.