Baylor vs Kansas State prediction: College basketball odds, picks, best bets for Tuesday
Tuesdays are always a big night in college hoops, especially during conference play.
This Tuesday in the Big 12, the No. 14 Baylor Bears travel to Manhattan to battle the ever-dangerous Kansas State Wildcats.
The ‘Cats are off a tough loss against Texas Tech, losing by one in Lubbock on Saturday, but Jerome Tang should have his squad ready to roll in a bounce-back spot.
Baylor vs Kansas State odds
Baylor vs Kansas State prediction
(8 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
The key to stopping Baylor is stopping the Bears elite guards in ball screens, as Scott Drew leverages RayJ Dennis and JaKobe Walter by running more perimeter pick-and-roll sets than any team in college hoops.
But I think the Wildcats can effectively counter that.
K-State is an elite ball-screen defense, ranking top 50 nationally in PnR ball-handler PPP allowed (0.66) and top 30 overall (0.93 including roll men).
Baylor Bears forward Josh Ojianwuna (15) is congratulated by Baylor Bears guard Ja’Kobe Walter. Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesCam Carter and Arthur Kaluma have been particularly good against ball-screen initiators, and theyre the teams two best defenders by Defensive Bayesian Performance Rating. They should hang tough with the ever-dangerous Bear guards.
If Baylor cant get its volcanic pick-and-roll sets going, the Bears offense will devolve into shooting and attacking the offensive boards.
But Kansas State has been solid at preventing second-chance points (1.02 PPP allowed, 68th percentile) and even better at closing out on shooters (forcing guarded jumpers on 61% of catch-and-shoot opportunities, 82nd percentile).
While Baylor generates offense through its backcourt, the Wildcats generate points from the wing, with Carter, Kaluma and Tylor Perry scoring by driving downhill and attacking the rim relentlessly.
The Bears can’t stop the dribble. They used to boast the nations best no-middle scheme that kept everyone out of the paint, and 7-foot athletic center Yven Missi theoretically should protect the rim, but the rim is anyone’s for the taking right now.
Theyre allowing 33 paint points per game, ranking in the 30th percentile of teams nationally. Even worse, theyre allowing 48% of their opponents points in the paint, which ranks in the 10th percentile.
Playing K-State +2 tomorrow because the 'Cats attack the rim relentlessly with Perry/Carter/Kaluma (first) and Baylor can't stop the dribble or protect the prim (second). Plus, we all know about road team's struggling (third). pic.twitter.com/KcTgv8jwTb
— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) January 15, 2024## Betting on College Basketball?
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When the rim isnt available, Kansas States bailout option is to run off-screen secondary actions to pop open its wings from the perimeter. The Wildcats have been middling on those sets, but I like their chances against a Baylor defense that ranks 287th nationally in off-ball screen PPP allowed (1.01).
Baylor is due for negative shooting regression, anyway.
The Bears are shooting a whopping 43% from deep, which is totally unsustainable in the long run ShotQuality projects they should be shooting closer to 36% based on the quality of attempts allowed.
Cam Carter #5 of the Kansas State Wildcats. Getty ImagesIf Baylors shots stop falling and can’t generate ball-screen buckets, things could get ugly for the Bears.
Altogether, I love the schematic matchup for Kansas State, which is likely why the Wildcats won both matchups last year. And the situational spot screams K-State, which should bounce back with an outright win as a home dog against a Baylor team due for a loss after five straight wins, including three in conference play.
Plus, we know how ranked teams have struggled on the road this season.
Ill happily take the points in Manhattan but will play the game down to a PK, as I really think the Wildcats win this one.
Baylor vs Kansas State Pick
Kansas State +1 (-110) at DraftKings | Play to PK
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