College Basketball Pick
Kansas State football and basketball had/are having incredible seasons, yet neither of them have garnered much respect. The basketball team is currently tied atop the Big 12 and is ranked in the Top 10 this week. Even then, not many people believe the Wildcats have what it takes.
A look further into other rankings and the BPI has K State listed as outside of the Top 40 which is a good amount away from Baylor who sits at No. 30. Looking at their records, Baylor has three fewer wins and no outstanding wins that would put them over Kansas State. It’s come to a point where there are just too many rankings to look at and putting them altogether doesn’t make sense.
No matter, the Wildcats still have a chance to grab the Big 12 title even with two losses to Kansas. Their other Conference loss came at Iowa State, a place no one else has won either.
Baylor hasn’t really done anything special this year and have a 7-4 Conference record because of it. They’ve won and lost against everyone they were supposed to, although a home defeat to Oklahoma doesn’t look that great for them especially since K State already beat the Sooners twice this year.
The Bears are supposed to lose this Game, so you know what that means. The Wildcats haven’t had many problems in Manhattan this year (except Kansas) and will hope to continue that route.
Much like last year, Baylor has another solid team. The only problem with that is they can’t win the big Games. They don’t have enough to make that final leap. Pierre Jackson is the heart of this offense averaging 19 points and six assists per Game. The problem with him is that he turns the ball over way too much at 3.6 per Game. He turned it over 11 teams in their most recent loss at OK State. We know Jackson will get to the bucket and hit a few shots, but what about everyone else? Isaiah Austin is a great player, yet is still young and lacks the ability to take over Games much like his predecessor Perry Jones III. Austin is averaging 14 PPG on the season, but is averaging less than 10 in his last Four Games. Brady Heslip has suddenly fallen off in his junior year and making eight percent less of his three-pointers. He had one of his better Games in the win over West Virginia on Wednesday, but that Game was a walkover. Cory Jefferson has been Baylor’s biggest surprise this year and has been playing well with 13 points and eight boards per Game.
Baylor has the players, but need to win a Game or two in which they are underdogs before anyone starts believing they can be a good squad come March.
Kansas State is almost in the same line as Baylor, but they have shown the ability to be more than that with road wins at West Virginia and Oklahoma, not to mention their win over Florida on a neutral site. The Wildcats have the tools to fight with the best of the best. Obviously, they caught Kansas at the wrong time, coming off a three-Game losing streak and having to play them in LAwrence.
For the second straight season, Rodney McGruder has meant everything to this team. He can Scorewhen he wants and usually comes up with that big basket when needed. He may not be Jacob Pullen, but he gets the job done. Sprinkled through the lineup are a bunch of role players that can come through when needed. Angel Rodriguez has come alive offensively in the past three Games averaging over 16 points per Game (only 10 PPG for season). Shane Southwell is an electric player that can quickly change the momentum, but he’s still lacking in the scoring department. Big man Thomas Gipson has had a few quality Games lately, putting in 16 points and 7 boards against Iowa State and 17 and 7 vs. Texas.
This Game will be a true test for Baylor to see what they can really do late in the year. K State is coming off a tough defeat and will need to show pollers they have what it takes to remain in the AP Top 15.
Prediction – Kansas State 64 Baylor 62