Texas Longhorns vs. Kansas State Wildcats – College Basketball, February 9, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 9, 2021 5:31 am PDT

The Longhorns find themselves sandwiched in the middle of the Big 12 Conference, and a win tonight will take them level with fourth-placed Oklahoma. The season is pretty much done for the Wildcats as there is little chance of moving up or down from ninth spot.

Texas has dominated this fixture, recently winning four of the previous five matches. The last time they met was only three weeks ago when the Longhorns routed the Wildcats 82-67. Texas dominated the game from the off, but Kansas State did fight back to win the second half. However, it could have been a case of the Longhorns easing up and taking their foot off the peddle.

Kansas State has a slightly better record in Kansas, having won two of the last five games. However, Texas has won the previous two and will be looking to make it three in a row tonight.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Longhorns vs. Wildcats betting prediction.

Longhorns vs. Wildcats Odds

Longhorns (-14) -110
Wildcats (+14) -110
Longhorns To Win -1200
Wildcats To Win +800
Over 134.5 Points -110
Under 134.5 Points -110

When you look at the standings and the previous game played only three weeks ago, it’s easy to see why the spread is so big here. However, I prefer to judge things over a more extended period, and over the last ten head-to-head games, the Longhorns have averaged four more points than the Wildcats, which is much lower than the handicap tonight. They also failed to cover the handicap against the Wildcats last time out. Perhaps that’s why the spread has decreased from 15.5 since the betting opened.

The Wildcats have only won one of the 13 games that they entered as the underdogs.

Longhorn Analysis

The Longhorns season has fallen apart over the past few weeks, having lost four of their last five games. Their only win came against tonight’s opponents Kansas State. They have lost to three of the top four in the Conference, and some of those losses were close games.

They have been brilliant on the road, losing just one of their six road trips so far this season. That was their last away fixture against Oklahoma State, after two periods of overtime. It was their first away match for almost a month.

Here are the latest betting trends for Texas:

  • They have lost their last five games in a row against the spread.
  • Eight of their previous nine games have gone over the betting total.
  • Texas is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games on the road.
  • They have the very same record in their previous six visits to Kansas.
  • The total has gone over in nine of their last ten matches against teams in the Big 12 Conference.
  • They have won four of their last six games played in February.

I think the above stats and trends highlight their better form on the road this season. They have also played out some high scoring games this season, just like the last game between them.

The Longhorns have a good offense that relies on quick ball and some tremendous rebounding skills. Despite not having an excellent three-point field goal percentage, they often shoot from deep and then rely on those rebounding skills to recycle the ball. This does, however, mean that they don’t have many assists to their name this season. Greg Brown has been the main man for the Longhorns when it comes to rebounding this season as he leads the rankings them.

Their team can be one of the best defenses in the Conference, if not the country, but they don’t seem to always get it right. Because they play such a fast-attacking game, it often means that they are without the ball for long periods of the match, and that takes its toll.

They mark up well, not allowing their opponents much space, and they make plenty of blocks per game. However, this tight style of defense does lead to many personal fouls, which needs addressing.

Andrew Jones has been the inspiration behind many of their hard-fought wins this season. But his most significant victory came when he beat leukemia, and he is living proof that fairy tale stories do come to life.

The Longhorns have no injury problems heading into tonight’s game.

Wildcats Analysis

After a reasonably promising start to the season, the Wildcats are in freefall, and they have certainly had their claws clipped after losing the last ten in a row. The closest they have got to anyone team during that period was the first defeat in that sequence when they lost by seven to TCU.

Four of their five wins have come at home, but considering they have played 14 games in Kansas, that is no remarkable feat. They have lost their last five games in a row, and all the signs are pointing towards a sixth straight defeat tonight.

Here are the latest betting trends for Kansas State:

  • They have only won one of their previous six games against the spread.
  • The total has gone under in 12 of their last 16 matches.
  • Against the spread, they have only won one of their last five games against teams based in the Big 12 Conference.
  • Five of their last seven games played in February has gone over the betting total.
  • The total has gone under in 15 of their previous 18 matches played at home on a. Tuesday night.

The most significant thing for me here is how bad they have down against then spread recently, meaning they have lost by some big margins.

The Wildcats have a terrible attack this season that has only averaged 62 points per game.

They try and work the ball as close to the basket as possible, leading to them overplaying and losing possession. However, it’s easy to see why they have adopted this tactic when you see how bad they are at shooting three-pointers this season.

Although they aren’t much better from closer saying that, look at their percentage from the free-throw line, which currently stands at 66%!

Their defense has been marginally better but is still poor. They have sat back far too often against their opponents, soaking up the pressure, and of course, they more often than not crack. It also means that they don’t make many steals per game as they seldom press their opponents. However, you would have imagined that they would be averaging more than the one block per game they are currently averaging. The only plus side to sitting so deep is they have recorded many defensive rebounds this season.

These elements combined mean that they have a point per game difference of -11.4, the worst in the Conference.

Nigel Pack has been the only shining star for the Wildcats this season, but he alone can’t pull them out of this slump. Here are some of his recent highlights, showing that a great talent he is.

Kansas State will miss Gordon and Murphy for tonight’s matchup.

Longhorns vs. Wildcats Betting Pick

The Wildcats are dreadful, and there will be no upset this evening, no matter how bad the Longhorns are playing. I think Kansas State will look to slow the Longhorns down and frustrate them as much as possible. Given their poor disciplinary record this season, this tactic is likely to work. I will therefore take the Wildcats to cover the spread against the Longhorns once again.

Pick
  • Wildcats (+14)
    -110

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