State Rivalry NCAA Basketball Picks: Go 'Under' When Kansas & Kansas St. Meet

Willie Bee

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 2:18 PM GMT

We're diving into a bitter yet one-sided rivalry as part of our free NCAA basketball picks for Wednesday with a preview of the clash between Kansas State and the Kansas Jayhawks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 145
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Kansas State has been doing a pretty good job sending college basketball bettors back to the pay window this year. Considering the upcoming schedule the Wildcats are facing, that is likely to be their only consolation.

A tough 3-game stretch for Kansas State begins on the road Wednesday against state rival Kansas. The 9 PM (ET) contest will be televised by ESPN2 with Brett Musberger on the call, so you've been warned to have your thumb on that mute button early. Backing the Jayhawks requires giving up 11½ points at 5Dimes, and 145 is your total.

Kansas has owned the Sunflower Showdown the last quarter century, winning 49 of the last 54 played to build a 188-93 bulge in the rivalry. State has won two of the last three, though both of those came in Manhattan with the Wildcats' last win at Allen Fieldhouse more than 10 years ago. Kansas came up just shy of an 11½ point cover last year at home, that game more than 10 below the total, and the Jayhawks will return the visit to Manhattan a little more than three weeks from now.

 

Wildcats Among Worst 3-Point Shooting Teams In Country
Until last week, Kansas State (13-8 straight up, 12-5-1 against the spread) was cooking along with covers in 12 of the first 16 lined games and making friends with college basketball bettors. It took getting down late in the Wildcats' visit to Texas A&M in December in order to get a push on a closing 10 point line, but anyone playing KSU on the NCAA basketball odds were smiling with nearly nine units of extra cabbage in their pantry.

Good thing they had some extra winnings to account for two losing tickets last week. First came a pretty ugly loss at West Virginia, the 10½ points Kansas State backers were receiving not enough in a 70-55 final. The Wildcats did bounce back in the win column with a win over Ole Miss in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, but again, the 69-64 final wasn't enough on a -7 line sportsbooks burdened Bruce Weber's team with.

Factoring into why the 'Cats failed to cover both times were pathetic showings from 3-point range, streaking shooting from beyond the arc part of this team's calling card. Kansas State hit just 1-of-18 bombs against the Mountaineers, then 3-of-19 vs. the Rebels. The Wildcats are among the nation's worst in that column at 28.6% on the season (344th).

It didn't help not having one of their better long-range shooters for most of the Ole Miss game. Kamau Stokes, fourth on the team in scoring (9.4 ppg), left early with a knee injury and the freshman guard is questionable to see any action vs. Kansas. Stokes leads the team in 3-point attempts (102) and is second in making them (34%).

 

Covering Big 12 Chalk Has Been Tough On Jayhawks
Kansas (17-4 SU, 10-8 ATS) appeared in danger of dropping a second straight contest last Saturday, and ending a long home court win streak in the process, before pulling out a 90-84 win over Kentucky in overtime. A Perry Ellis free throw forced extra play, and Wayne Selden Jr. scored seven of his game-high 33 in OT to help Jayhawks backers cover a 5½ point line.

A loss would've been just the second non-conference defeat at home since 2006, a span of 82 games now with the only upset winner being San Diego State in December 2014. The win did stop a 5-game losing streak against the spread, the Jayhawks just 2-6 vs. the number in conference play so far, 2-5 when favored.

Taking the points and K-State for my free NCAA basketball pick is very tempting, but I'm going to play the 'under' instead.

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