The Iowa State Cyclones are an easy college basketball pick for Tuesday’s Big 12 matchup against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Before you go ahead and place your bets for this game, make you to go over our guide on the best US sports betting sites to find the perfect match for all your wagering needs.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Iowa State Cyclones
Tuesday, January 24, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at James H. Hilton Coliseum
The good times are back in City of Ames. The Iowa State Cyclones went a bit sideways at the end of the Steve Prohm Era, but it took almost no time at all for head coach T.J. Otzelberger to come in and put his stamp on the program. Now the Cyclones (14-4 SU, 12-6 ATS) are firmly back in the Big 12 title race.
There is one big obstacle standing in their way: the Kansas State Wildcats (17-2 SU, 13-6 ATS). K-State leads the Big 12 at 6-1 heading into Tuesday's matchup at the Hilton, and they’ll be a very tough out indeed – but we’re backing Iowa State as 4.5-point favorites at the NCAAB odds boards.
Who’s the Best Team in the Big 12?
Actually, it’s the Kansas Jayhawks according to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced stats:
- 9. Kansas
- 10. Texas
- 12. Iowa State
- 14. Baylor
- 18. TCU
- 26. Kansas State
That’s a lot of talent on the hoof. It also looks completely different from the AP poll, which otherwise features the same six teams in their Top 25:
- 5. Kansas State
- 9. Kansas
- 10. Texas
- 11. TCU
- 12. Iowa State
- 17. Baylor
At least the sports writers agree with the analytics about Iowa State. They’re completely off when it comes to the Wildcats, though. Last week’s gripping 83-82 overtime win against Kansas (-1.5 away) has a lot to do with it. These stories practically write themselves.
Does Anyone Care About Iowa State?
Maybe not as many as there should be. The Cyclones actually have a much larger enrollment (and endowment) than K-State, but this program has been obscured by the Big Ten shadows of the Iowa Hawkeyes, and they haven’t been to the Final Four since 1944.
The times, they are a-changin’. Otzelberger led Iowa State to the Sweet Sixteen in his first season at Ames, and Year Two is looking even better; the Cyclones have improved from plus-12.38 to plus-18.87 on the Simple Rating System at Sports Reference, their highest since 2016-17 and third-highest since 1949-50, which is as far back as these numbers go.
Remarkably, Otzelberger has accomplished this despite having zero ranked recruits from the RSCI Top 100. What he has instead is depth and experience at every position, and a pair of amazing two-way studs in senior forwards Osun Osunniyi (plus-9.6 BPM at Sports Reference) and Aljaz Kunc (plus-8.7 BPM).
Thanks to these gentlemen and others, Iowa State boasts the No. 7-ranked defense in Division I, and second in the paint at 25.6 2-pointers allowed. Which brings us to our second college basketball pick for this matchup.
What Else Can I Bet On?
It isn’t quite as tasty as ISU -4.5, but a contrarian Over on that 134-point total at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) seems perfectly cromulent. As strong as that Cyclones defense is – and as slow as they are moving up and down the floor – Kansas State (Over 11-8) looks like they’re the right team to take this game Over 134 points Tuesday night.
Jerome Tang has already made his mark in Manhattan: No other rookie head coach in Division I right now has enjoyed this good of a start to his career. Then again, Tang tasted victory as Scott Drew’s right-hand man at Baylor, where they won the National Championship two years ago. He didn’t just fall off the turnip wagon.
Faced with a similar rebuilding project to the one in Ames, Tang scored a big-time transfer when he snatched forward Keyontae Johnson (plus-8.2 BPM) from the Florida Gators program. You might remember Johnson as the young man who collapsed on the court back in December 2020; Johnson entered the transfer portal when Florida refused to medically clear him, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tang also had just two scholarship players to work with this offseason, but one of them happened to be senior guard Markquis Nowell (plus-10.4 BPM). These two players have combined for 40.7 points per 40 minutes, as they fly up and down the court at the No. 88-ranked Adjusted Tempo on the Pomeroy charts.
Iowa State (Under 12-6) might not be the perfect dance partner for this Over bet, but it’s still worth a single unit of your bankroll in our estimation – and the Cyclones are worth two units ATS if the analytics hold up. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.
NCAAB Pick: Over 134 (-110) at Bovada
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.