Editor’s note: The article was updated to reflect Iowa State’s stats after its win against TCU on Wednesday.
No. 12 K-State 19-7 (7-6)
After tough losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma, Kansas State is looking to get back into rhythm. K-State lost the last five Big 12 road games and needs to score a win to maintain its record with the rest of the Big 12. Fortunately for the Wildcats, they hold an impressive 13-1 record at home. After scoring 128 points in the last two games, the offense will need resurgence to take down the Cyclones.
No. 19 Iowa State 17-8 (8-5)
Iowa State followed a similar journey this season. The Cyclones hold an outstanding 13-1 record at home but have struggled on the road. In this matchup, Iowa State will need to rely on its stout defense. Its defense has led the team by averaging over nine steals per game and holding teams to the lowest points per game in the conference. The Cyclone’s path to victory lies with its guards who may need to put up points on the road.
Matchup to Watch: Cyclone Defense vs. Wildcat Offense
K-State will look to use the Cyclone’s road struggles and play off the fan energy. Iowa State must limit the Wildcat offense from bouncing back. The Cyclones have held opponents to just 61.6 points per game and will need that lockdown defense to sweep the Wildcats.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Cyclones have a deadly guard duo with Jaren Holmes and Gabe Kalscheur, averaging a combined 26 points per game. Holmes and Kalscheur would likely need to carry the offensive load for Iowa State to stay in the game if the defense doesn’t play up to its standards.
K-State has suffered offensively when it has failed to keep the ball safe. The Wildcats committed a season-high 23 turnovers to the Red Raiders defense in the loss. Avoiding turnovers will need to be a priority facing an aggressive Cyclone defense. If K-State can win the battle on the boards against a team with a size advantage while also limiting turnovers, it has a chance of earning another Top-25 win and recovering from a tough stretch.
Forward Keyontae Johnson
Center Abayomi Iyiola
Guard Jaren Holmes
Center Osun Osunniyi
Prediction: K-State 72-68