Three-Pointers to Ignite Wazzu 'Home' Cover vs. Kansas State

Rainman M.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 3:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 3:26 PM UTC

Washington State (7-3) hosts Kansas State (9-2) at 11p.m. ET Wednesday on ESPN2 in a semi-home game in Spokane, which is about an 80-minute drive from WSU’s campus. K-State is favored by 9.5 points, however.

Kansas State Wildcats vs. Washington State CougarsFree NCAAB Pick: Cougars +9.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Point guard Barry Brown leads K-State in minutes, percentage of possessions and percentage of shots taken. But he struggles to make shots, completing 28.3% from three. He set the school record in steals last season with 82 and currently ranks 72nd in steal percentage. Shooting guard Kamau Stokes, like Brown, had his weakness in shooting ability. But this season he is the only Wildcat shooting above 40 percent from three.

Small forward Xavier Sneed’s season is proceeding just like last year’s. He is enjoying a hot start, shooting 58.3 percent from 2. He’ll look to avoid hitting another wall, as he did last February. Center Dean Wade leads K-State with 6.3 rebounds per game. No other Wildcat averages even 4+ rebounds.

Washington State misses 4 starters from last year, especially Josh Hawkinson’s 15 points and 10 rebounds per game. Point guard Malachi Flynn is the lone returning starter. He’s become more involved in every possession. He ranks 236th in assist rate while committing fewer turnovers.
Robert Franks is the team’s other major contributor. The versatile power forward hits 59.4 percent from 2 and 45.5 percent from 3. Guard Viont’e Daniels is the team’s top shooter, completing 46.2% from three. He and Franks rank in the top 200 in 3-point percentage.

Milan Acquaah is a backup either at point guard or at small forward, which was Flynn’s main position last year. He is the Cougars’ other major playmaker, ranking 200th in assist rate. He would earn more minutes by committing fewer turnovers. Center Drick Bernstine compliments Frank’s physicality without possessing his versatility. Bernstine is second on the team with 6.9 rebounds per game. He leads the team with 1 block per game.

The Verdict

Washington State is a three-point shooting team. Three starters -- Daniels, Franks and small forward Carter Skaggs -- average over 45 percent from 3. They’ll get plenty of opportunities to shoot from long range against K-State’s poor perimeter defense. KSU ranks 308th in three-pointers allowed per field goals allowed. They allow the 73rd-highest proportion of points from behind the arc, without having faced a team like Washington State. Wazzu ranks 46th in 3-point percentage and boasts the 5th-highest point distribution from 3. Defensively, Washington State likewise fails to guard the perimeter much. But K-State lacks three-point shooters and the ability to dominate second-chance opportunities, ranking 119th in 3-point percentage and 99th in offensive rebounding percentage.

K-State prefers to score in transition. The Wildcats rely especially on steals in order to score quick two-pointers. They are below the D-I average for offensive possession length and rank 11th in steal percentage. WSU, however, ranks 48th in steals allowed.

With the likes of Flynn controlling the ball, Wash State can limit K-State’s transition game by preventing steals. The Cougars have a variety of guys who can help themselves cover by draining threes against K-State’s poor perimeter defense on our NCAAB Picks.

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