(13-5, 4-7 ATS)
Kansas State Wildcats
(13-7, 4-10 ATS)
Both the Baylor Bears and the Kansas State Wildcats made great runs in the NCAA Tournament last season, but if the Field of 68 were announced today, neither one would be a shoe in to even be in the dance. Both will go in search of a huge victory against the other in a nationally televised NCAA basketball betting showdown in the “Little Apple” on Monday night.
The Bears are really paying the price right now for the fact that they didn’t come up for much of a schedule this year outside of the Big XII. They’re in a spot now where they could conceivably be left with just 17 or 18 wins on the year, and if that’s the case, they really don’t have the bulk to get into the dance, especially if there are only seven or eight conference wins to speak of. The good news is that LaceDarius Dunn is a flat out stud. He really came to play along with the departed Ekpe Udoh in last year’s NCAA Tournament, and though Udoh is gone, Dunn is still tearing things up in Waco. He is averaging a team high 21.3 points per game this year and is never afraid to uncork a shot from anywhere on the court. He’s got some great compliments this year in Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy, and the newcomer of the bunch, AJ Walton. Walton is averaging 9.1 points and 5.5 assists per game, but he is really the glue for this team when the going gets tough.
Kansas State is the team that is really sliding right now, as it only has a 13-7 record and a 1-4 mark in the Big XII. It hasn’t won a road game yet in conference, and if it loses this one, there is a good chance that it will drop to 13-9 by the end of the weekend, as the trip to Allen Fieldhouse won’t be fun, especially right after the Kansas Jayhawks lost their 69 game home winning streak. The offense has been absolutely horrendous thus far in conference play, save dropping 94 on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the easiest game on the Big XII slate to date. The unit has only averaged 60.8 points per game aside from that in the Big 12, and obviously, that isn’t going to cut it to beat some of the best that this conference really has to offer this year. Jacob Pullen just doesn’t have a counterpart this year, and he is finding the sledding tough all by himself. He is averaging 18.0 points per game, but he also really doesn’t get much help on the average night. The bench for the Wildcats is very thin, and if Pullen gets into some foul trouble (though he has really avoided it all season long), Kansas State is essentially dead in the water.
There is a point that the oddsmakers are really going to give us a break on the Wildcats, and we tend to believe that this is the day that we get that break. KSU is really a superior team to Baylor in spite of the records of the two teams, and Pullen could be in for a banner night as he sparks his team to a huge triumph.
NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Kansas State Wildcats