NCAA Basketball Picks: Mississippi vs. Kansas State

Jeff Grant

Thursday, December 5, 2013 2:28 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 2:28 PM GMT

The Mississippi Rebels land in one of the better situational spots Thursday, as they travel to take on the Kansas State Wildcats in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. We breakdown the college basketball odds to give you the most profitable choice for your sports picks.

Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball lines for this non-conference matchup at Bramlage Coliseum, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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Getting points for the first time

Mississippi claimed the Barclays Center Classic championship with a pair of wins over ACC-foe Georgia Tech and Big Ten-foe Penn State, as the program prepares to dress up as an underdog for the first time during the 2013-14 campaign.

The Rebels are 5-0 SU/ATS as road underdogs of three or fewer points the last two-plus seasons, while they’ve covered the number in 18 of their last 26 opportunities when not favored overall.

Improving

Kansas State is a dominating 61-3 SU at home in non-conference play dating back to 2006-07, as it looks to build on a two-game winning streak that includes a 87-54 blowout victory over Central Arkansas Sunday.

The Wildcats start two freshman, with guard Marcus Foster leading the squad in averaging 13.9 points per game, while forward Wesley Iwundu grabs five boards a contest.

Controlling the paint

College basketball handicappers need to take a long look at the Rebels as road underdogs in this matchup, considering they rank fourth nationally in averaging 8.3 blocks a game.

Junior forward Aaron Jones is the main contributor to that production—ranking third in the SEC and 27th nationally in swatting three balls per game.

Getting after it on defense

The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in allowing just 61.6 points per game, while they occupy the second spot with opponents connecting on just 27.1 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.

Kansas State has held five of its last six opponents to under their scoring average, but Mississippi is a formidable opponent in averaging 82.0 points a contest.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Rebels for their college basketball picks, as the Wildcats are a mediocre 13-13 ATS in lined home games since the 2011-12 campaign.

College Basketball Pick:  Mississippi Rebels +2.5

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