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Texas Longhorns vs. Kansas State Wildcats Pick-Odds-Prediction 1/21/14

Kansas State Wildcats (14-4) at Texas Longhorns (14-4)

College Basketball: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Frank Erwin Center)

The Line: Texas Longhorns -4 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds


Storyline: Kansas State returned to the national rankings this week at #22 after following its upset of 25th-ranked Oklahoma with a 78-56 trouncing of West Virginia Saturday. The Wildcats will try to avoid a fate similar to their last appearance in the top 25 when they hookup with the Texas Longhorns Tuesday in Austin.

The Breakdown: K-State continues to defy the odds, the ones that give little credence to a team averaging just 68.1 ppg on 42 percent shooting in hanging with, and sometimes even upsetting, the bigger and more athletic teams of the Big 12. Teams like Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, who both average better than 16 points a game more than do the Wildcats. The one common thread linking those two upset wins together, though, was staunch defense. In upsetting then #6 Oklahoma State in its conference opener, K-State didn’t play particularly well on the offensive end, shooting 36 percent from the field and hitting just 5 of 21 from outside the arc, but kept the high-flying Cowboys to 21 of 52 from the floor and held All-American G Marcus Smart to 15 points. The Wildcats also stifled Oklahoma to the tune of 33 percent from the field and 7 of 23 from distance in a 72-66 upset win Jan. 14. Against West Virginia Saturday, it was more of the same as K-State kept the Mountaineers to a season-low 16 of 49 from the field and 56 points.

Texas Longhorns vs. Kansas State Wildcats Pick-Odds-Prediction 1/21/14

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, Texas seems to have found its footing after starting Big 12 play with back to back losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Longhorns have now won three straight, including an 86-76 upset of then #8 Iowa State Saturday in which they held one of the country’s best shooting teams to just 39 percent from the field and 11 of 32 from distance. Texas also forced 18 turnovers, while committing just 8. Junior F Jonathan Holmes led all scorers with 23 points on 9 of 13 shooting and sophomore C Cameron Ridley added 16 points, 11 boards and 5 blocks. The Horns have struggled against K-State recently, losing 6 of 7 in the series and the last three in a row. A win here would be massive for Texas, not only catapulting them into third place in the conference, but also legitimizing the Horns as a Big 12 contender.

Rick’s Pick: The line in this matchup currently has Texas a 4-point home favorite. Whether or not it’s time to start recognizing K-State as a legitimate Big 12 contender is still up in the air, in my humble opinion. The upset over Ok State was an absolute stunner. The upset over Oklahoma, not so much. And the 26-point blowout loss at Kansas just can't be dismissed at this point. Look for Texas to cover.

Follow me on Twitter @SCPRick

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