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Montana State vs Kansas State Odds, Spread & Picks (March 17)

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in College Basketball

Mar 16, 2023 · 3:30 PM PDT

Keyontae Johnson pumped reaction
Feb 25, 2023; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Kansas State Wildcats forward Keyontae Johnson (11) celebrates after a basket against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the second half at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Kansas State won 73-68. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
  • Montana State is an 8.5-point underdog vs Kansas State in Round 1 East Region play at the NCAA Tournament
  • The Bobcats have won eight straight, while K-State has dropped two in a row
  • See below for the latest Montana State vs Kansas State odds, plus analysis and best bets

It’s been quite a ride for the Kansas State Wildcats (23-9, 20-12 ATS), who went from a preseason afterthought — not a single preseason AP vote — to the 3-seed in the East’s March Madness bracket.

Yet somehow, it wouldn’t come as a total surprise if the 14th-seeded Montana State Bobcats (25-9, 19-12-1 ATS) sent them packing in Round 1.

The Bobcats are rolling, entering the tournament with eight straight wins, the last to clinch the Big Sky Conference Tournament title. They’ve won 17 of their last 19 games.

K-State has dropped two straight, the latest a 13-point whipping at the hands of the TCU Horned Frogs in quarterfinal play in the Big 12 Tournament.

This one goes Friday (March 17) at 9:40pm ET from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. You can watch the game live on CBS.

Montana State vs Kansas State Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
[14] Montana State Bobcats
+8.5 (-105) +320 Ov 140 (-110)
[3] Kansas State Wildcats
-8.5 (-115) -390 Un 140 (-110)

The Wildcats are 8.5-point favorites in Round 1, their -390 figure on the moneyline giving them an implied win probability of 79.59%. The game features a total of 140.

Both schools have been a good bet all season: Montana State is 19-12-1 against the spread, while Kansas State has gone 20-12-0 ATS.

The winner of this will advance to play the winner of no. 6  Kentucky vs no. 11 Providence.

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Odds as of Mar 17 at DraftKings Sportsbook

Montana State vs Kansas State Trends and Analysis

Kansas State has legit title dark-horse vibes, given the 14th-best odds to win the NCAA Tournament (+3500). Part of their appeal is that they get it done on both ends of the floor.

Offensively, they’re averaging 75.5 points per game (66th) and rank 51st in offensive efficiency at KenPom.

They’re powered by two stars, who, in the toughest conference in college basketball, played their way onto the All-Big 12 first team. Florida transfer Keyontae Johnson averaged 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds, shooting 51.9% from the field and 41.9% from distance.

Markquis Nowell, a 5’8″ dynamo, averaged 16.8 points and 7.6 assists — setting a school record for assists in a season.

K-State is also stout defensively, ranking 20th in defensive efficiency at KenPom and they allow just 68.7 points per game.

That doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to defensive leaks. In their last eight losses (going back to January 14), the Wildcats surrendered an average of 80 points per game, and held just one opponent under 70 points.

However, it should be noted that was in Big 12 play, and five of those losses came to ranked teams.

Montana State vs Kansas State Head-to-Head

Montana State Bobcats
VS
Kansas State Wildcats
14 East Region Seed 3
25-9 Season Record 23-9
74.0 Points per Game 75.5
66.3 Points Against per Game 68.7
50.9% Effective FG% 51.5%
49.5% Opponent Effective FG% 47.5%

The Bobcats are also powered by their defense, which allows just 66.6 points per game, which ranks 71st in the NCAA.  They’re ranked 72nd in defensive efficiency at KenPom, and hold their opponents to a 49.5% effective field goal percentage.

Montana State features plenty of talent, including first-team All-Big Sky selection RaeQuan Battle, who averaged 17.4 points and 2.9 rebounds.

He starred in the Big Sky Tournament final, an 85-78 win over Northern Arizona, finishing with 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting, one of four starters to crack double-digit scoring.

Jubrile Belo was second in team scoring this year, averaging 13 points and 6.1 rebounds, while shooting 58.3% from the field, good for second-team all-conference.

They also have the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in guard Darius Brown II and Sixth Man of the Year Great Osobor.

One area Montana State will likely feel the disadvantage is from the three-point line. They shoot just 33.4% on the year, which ranks a lowly 230th in the nation, Kansas State, meanwhile, holds teams to a 29.5% clip from distance, 13th overall.

Montana State vs Kansas State Prediction

Strength of schedule has to matter here: Kansas State ranks 16th in KenPom, and their season is littered with wins over marquee schools, like Texas, Baylor (twice) and Kansas.

It’s their defense that rises to the occasion in big games. K-State has held teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better to the under in their last five contests.

Montana State has played just one ranked team all season and got spanked, 85-64 against Arizona.

I’m not sure how the Wildcats are on upset watch. Look for them to roll Friday.

Pick: Kansas State -8.5 (-110)


Other March Madness first-round predictions:

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