KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (3-0)
vs. GONZAGA BULLDOGS (2-1)
CBE Classic Championship – Semifinals
Tip-off: Monday, 9:50 p.m. EDT – Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO
Line: Kansas State -5
For the Kansas State Wildcats the record says perfect, but the performance says something entirely different. Football odds.
Despite a 3-0 start to the season, head coach Frank Martin has seen very little on the court to be pleased about with his young team (not that Martin would allow anyone to know he’s happy with his team to begin with). After winning its first two games of the year, the second over nationally ranked Virginia Tech, the No. 3-ranked Wildcats struggled against Presbyterian before holding on for the 76-67 victory. Presbyterian plays in the Big South, not exactly a BCS power conference, and finished 5-26 last season. The Wildcats only had a four-point lead on Presbyterian with 2:30 left in the game. Martin could not have been happy with his team’s defensive performance versus the Blue Hose. Presbyterian shot 50% from the field, and 60% from beyond the arc. State struggled to win the battle of the glass as well, barely outrebounding its foe 31-29. Further disturbing is what Kansas State has been doing from the foul line, shooting a mere 51% as a team (40-of-79) after three games. If the ’Cats have their sights on defeating one and possibly two nationally ranked teams in the coming days to capture the CBE Classic title, it would behoove them to perform better from the charity stripe. All-Big 12 guard Jacob Pullen leads the Wildcats in scoring at 16.0 PPG on 45% shooting. Football spreads.
Against that backdrop of numbers, Gonzaga would seem to be coming into this game in slightly better shape, but the Bulldogs are coming off of a 79-76 loss, at home, to San Diego State. Any questions about senior guard Steven Gray’s ability to take the leadership reins have been snuffed out with Gray averaging 25.7 PPG so far this year, nearly double his 13.6 PPG output of a year ago. Gray had a career-high 35 points against the Aztecs, at times single-handedly keeping his team in the game. But San Diego State pounded the Zags on the boards, 39-29, with 18 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end, where they were converted into 24 second-chance points. Gonzaga allowed the Aztecs to shoot 50% from the floor. On the offensive end, Gonzaga only made 5-of-18 three-point attempts.
If the best competition tends to bring out the best in a team, then both of these squads are running into each other at the right time. A win could mean a championship game matchup against the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils, with an opportunity to pull out that figurative measuring stick, and to find out exactly where they stand in the season’s second week. Football lines.
This FoxSheets trend likes Kansas State to win and cover.
KANSAS ST is 14-4 ATS (+9.6 Units) versus good shooting teams – making >=45% of their shots over the last 2 seasons. The average score was KANSAS ST 78.4, OPPONENT 70.2 – (Rating = 2*).