The Kansas State Wildcats (21-9) and Baylor Bears (25-6) will meet up in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament on Thursday inside the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears
Kansas State opens play in the 16th annual Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Thursday as the fifth seed and will take on the fourth-seeded Baylor Bears in the first game of the quarterfinals. The Wildcats closed the regular season with four wins in their last five games, while going “over” the total in three of those contests. “I have been extremely pleased with how our team has played the last four, maybe five, weeks of the season,” commented Wildcats head coach Frank Martin. Kansas State is 5-3 ATS as an underdog this year.
The Wildcats are 28-28 all-time when playing in this particular event when its held in Kansas City, including a 2-3 mark inside today’s venue. Kansas State has a 14-11 series lead against the Baylor Bears, splitting the two meetings this year, with each road team proving victorious. Junior guard Rodney McGruder has started 64 games in a row and is the team’s leading scorer in averaging 15.5 points per game. Offensively, the team is very balanced in having seven players averaging five or more points per game.
Baylor finished the regular season with its most conference wins in school history and will look to improve upon its 5-7 record in this event under the direction of current head coach Scott Drew. The Bears have won 20-plus games four times in the past five seasons and will look to junior guard Pierre Jackson to lead them to the winner’s circle, as he paces four starters that average in double figures by scoring 13.5 points per game. Baylor is 6-10 ATS as a favorite this year and the “under” is 10-7 in that situation.
The Bears are 1-3 all-time inside the Sprint Center and 8-16 all-time when playing in Kansas City. Baylor has registered an even 3-3 record when playing in this tournament as the higher seed. This year’s senior class has tallied 95 career victories and is the winningest senior class in program history. Expectations are sky high around campus and the team has been ranked in the top 15 for a program-record 18 consecutive weeks.
Bettors will likely back the Wildcats due to the underdog being 12-3 ATS in the last 15 meetings in this series, while the Bears are 1-5 ATS as a favorite of 6.5 points or less.
Recommendation: Kansas State Wildcats +2.5
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