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Kansas State Preview

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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The good news for tonight is Kansas State isn't very good. Although the Wildcats rank 41 in KenPom, they are much worse in Big 12 play. Kansas State has just two conference wins, and they rank 9th in the league in offense (though they are 5th defensively).

The bad news is that, statistically at least, they matchup fairly well with the Jayhawks. The Wildcats' big problem offensively is turnovers, as the Wildcats rank 9th in the league, but Kansas doesn't turn anyone over, so they can hardly rely on forcing K State turnovers to stop them from scoring. It's also worth noting that while Kansas State is 9th in 2-point defense, the Wildcats are one of the taller teams in the country, ranking 35th in effective height. Even though Kansas State ranks 219th in field goal percentage allowed at the rim, they might cause some problems for the Jayhawks. The good news is that Kansas State fouls a lot (cue ref conspiracy talk) but Kansas has struggled to get to the free throw line all season.

Elsewhere, K State likes to crash the offensive glass, ranking 3rd in the league in offensive rebounding. Kansas has apparently fixed its defensive rebounding issues, especially after keeping good offensive rebounding teams like West Virginia and Kentucky off the glass, so don't expect many second chance points tonight. One thing to watch for is Kansas State ranks last in the league in 3-point shooting, which obviously means they're shooting 40 percent or so tonight.

Players to Watch

Wesley Iwundu has been a pretty good scorer for the Wildcats this season, shooting 52 percent inside the arc. He can't shoot threes but he is a pretty good passer and draws more fouls than anyone else on the team.

Barry Brown ranks 5th in the league in percentage of shots taken, and he is shooting relatively well in Big 12 play, shooting 46 percent inside the arc and just under 33 percent from three. He is 6th in the league in assist rate and if he cleans up his turnover rate he could develop into a nice Big 12 guard.

Justin Edwards' offensive rating in conference play is just under 100, but that is mostly due to turnovers. With KU's inability to force turnovers, I think Edwards will have a nice game tonight. He is shooting 50 percent on twos and 37 percent on threes in league play, and he is 2nd in the league in steal rate.

The Pick

Even though Kansas has been shaky lately, and even though Kansas State matches up fairly well (statistically anyway), the Jayhawks are the better team and at home. I don't think it will be a blowout like we have seen in years past, but I like the Jayhawks to win 76-66.