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Kansas Heads to Iowa State as a 7-Point Road Favorite

Iowa State basketball jersey closeup
The "Hilton Magic" in Iowa State's home arena has given Kansas all sorts of problems in recent years. Photo by Max Goldberg (wikimedia commons).
  • Kansas is a 6.5-point road favorite at Iowa State on Wednesday (Jan. 8) in each team’s second conference game of the season
  • KU grinded out a 60-53 home win over West Virginia on Saturday, while ISU lost to TCU 81-79 (OT) on the road
  • The Cyclones have held their own against the Jayhawks over the last five seasons, splitting the series 6-6

The Kansas Jayhawks (11-2, 2-1 road) enter Wednesday’s road game with the Iowa State Cyclones (7-6, 6-2 home) as seven-point favorites. Tipoff is set for 8:00 PM ET at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

KU is coming off a 60-53 victory over West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, while ISU went down 81-79 in overtime at TCU in their own Big 12 opener. The Cyclones have held their own against the Jayhawks over the last five seasons, though, going 6-6 in the series (including BIg 12 tournament matchups).

With recent series history in mind, it’s no wonder KU isn’t a bigger favorite in the Kansas vs Iowa State odds.

Kansas Jayhawks vs Iowa State Cyclones Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under at KenPom.com
Kansas TBD -6.5 (-110) O 146.5 (-110)
Iowa State TBD +6.5 (-110) U 146.5 (-110)

Odds taken Jan. 7.

Thanks to a gritty victory over the surprisingly strong Mountaineers, Bill Self’s team is still very much in the thick of the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds. Kansas is a consensus +1000 co-favorite to win it all. Will the No. 3 team in the land pick up a road win in a place that’s been challenging over the last half-decade?

Hilton Magic?

Whether or not Steve Prohm’s club can conjure any Hilton magic on Wednesday remains to be seen. But the Cyclones do own a 3-2 record over the Jayhawks the last five times the teams have played in Ames. That includes a 77-60 drubbing of Rock Chalk last Jan. 5, when KU entered the contest as the No. 5 team in the AP Poll.

Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton only had 14 points, 3 assists, and 4 steals in that upset win. He’s coming off a 22-point, 10-assist, 12-rebound triple-double against the loss to the Horned Frogs this past weekend.

If his numbers are like last year, it’s unlikely ISU pulls off another upset. But if his stats are like the last game, anything is possible. I’m betting Kansas is able to neutralize him enough to cover.

Anyone Else?

After Haliburton, who Self said is arguably as good a player as there is in the Big 12, there’s not much besides George Conditt who can match KU’s talent-riddled roster.

Yes, the Cyclones takes care of the ball, only turning the ball over on 15.8-percent of their possessions (15th in the country). But they also struggle on the boards, having been outrebounded in eight of their 13 games so far, and they can’t get to the foul line. Iowa State is only getting to the charity stripe on 29.5-percent of its field goal attempts, which ranks 240th in the nation.

This is a team that lost to Florida A&M at home on New Year’s Eve! I’m fading Iowa State from a statistical standpoint, as well.

Respecting the Opponent

Based on years past, Wednesday’s game against Iowa State is the type of contest you might think Kansas would overlook. But this year’s squad has a different feel. KU has established its identity for the most part this season as a hard-working group — and that was on display at The Phog Saturday against WVU.

I think Kansas handles its business at Hilton and comes away with not only a SU victory, but an ATS cover as well.

Pick: Kansas 6.5 (-110)

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