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The Kansas State Wildcats host the Monmouth Hawks Wednesday in a non-conference hoop matchup. These teams are not familiar with another as they haven't played against each other since 2002, when KSU won. Kansas State is off to a 2-0 start, while Monmouth is 1-1. Kansas State is favored by 18.5 points. Tipoff is Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas.
Monmouth off to 1-1 startThe Monmouth Hawks didn't have a great year last year under coach King Rice, but they finished strong. The Hawks were 14-21 overall and 10-8 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. But they really hit their stride in the post season as they advanced to the MAAC finals, upsetting Canisius and Quinnipiac along the way. They fell to Iona in the MAAC finals. The Hawks lost only one player from that team, guard Diaga Quinn, so they should be better this year.
Monmouth is off to a 1-1 start this year. They beat Lehigh 66-62 in their opener then fell to Hofstra 94-74 on Saturday. In the Hofstra loss, Monmouth shot only 40 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three. Guard Deion Hammond paced the Monmouth attack with 13 points while Mustapha Traore, Nikkei Rutty, and Ray Salnave each had 10 points.
Kansas State in for rebuilding yearKansas State is coming off a wonderful season that ended with a whimper. They finished 25-9 overall and 14-4 in the Big 12, which tied them for the regular-season title with Texas Tech. Bruce Weber's team got bounced in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament by Iowa State but managed to get an NCAA Tournament bid. But they stumbled out of the gate in the Big Dance, losing to 13th seed UC-Irvine in the first round. They lost three key starters to graduation in Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes, and Dean Wade.
What Bruce Weber learned about his 'young' Kansas State team in road win at UNLV https://t.co/9gwRdy48qk— Ryan Black (@RyanABlack) November 12, 2019
This year, the Wildcats are expected to take a step back. Preseason polls have them finishing near the bottom of the conference. The main returning players are forward Xavier Sneed, who averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds per game, and Cartier Diara, who scored 7 points per game. This year they have beaten North Dakota State and UNLV. Sneed had 19 points while Diara had 14 points in the win over UNLV. The Wildcats have held teams to 55 points per game this year, so defense will once again be their calling card.
- Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Wildcats are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
- Wildcats are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following an ATS win.
- Wildcats are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 home games.
- Hawks are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 Wednesday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take the KSU Wildcats giving up the points. This is a tough one considering the unknowns involved in this one. Monmouth finished strong and is expected to be better while KSU finished poorly and is expected to be worse. KSU is a defensive-minded team that has trouble scoring and its hard to win a game by 18.5 points when you don't score well. But here, I just think Monmouth is out of its league. They lost to Hofstra on the road by 20, so you would think KSU would be able to win easily at home. But, again, they win with defense so they typically play closer games. So be careful about this one, but I'm going KSU.
Prediction: Kansas State -18.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under. As mentioned, the Wildcats are historically one of the better defensive teams in the country under Bruce Weber, so where they are involved, you want to think under. Last year Kansas State had a lot of offense -- this year not so much, so they will win by keeping scores low. Plus, Monmouth is not a great team, so I don't see them scoring much here. The under is 8-1 in Hawks last 9 games following an against the spread loss and 7-1 in their last 8 games following a straight up loss. Also, the under is 5-1 in Wildcats last 6 games following a straight up win and 7-2 in their last 9 overall.