The Houston Cougars and Kansas State Wildcats are set for an exciting NCAA basketball matchup on Saturday. With conference play in full swing, this Big 12-AAC showdown has major implications as both teams look to improve their March Madness standings. As tip-off approaches, here’s everything you need to know to make your Houston vs Kansas State prediction:
Houston vs Kansas State Prediction
Houston is Favored at Home
The Cougars host this Big 12-AAC clash and enter as 5.5 point favorites according to Vegas oddsmakers. As one of only two undefeated teams left this season, Houston is playing with a lot of confidence right now. The Cougars boast impressive wins over Oregon, Virginia, and Alabama already and have firmly established themselves as a National Championship contender.
Meanwhile, Kansas State has lost two straight games to Texas Tech and TCU as they’ve struggled on the road in conference play. The Wildcats are still riding high from their run to the Big 12 tournament title last season but have some issues to sort out around their perimeter shooting and defense.
Even with Kansas State’s 8-1 record at home this season, the oddsmakers are giving Houston the edge. The Cougars have won 10 straight on their home court and their smothering defense travels anywhere.
Key Matchup: Marcus Sasser vs Markquis Nowell
This game will feature a must-watch matchup between two star point guards in Sasser and Nowell. Sasser has put himself squarely in the running for National Player of the Year, averaging 16.9 points and 2.9 assists per game while shooting over 40% from three. His ability to takeover games offensively gives Houston a dynamic weapon that Kansas State will struggle to slow down.
Nowell has been no less excellent for the Wildcats, averaging 17 points and 8 assists per game. At just 5’8”, Nowell is an elite floor general thanks to his quickness, vision, and shooting touch. If he gets rolling setting up teammates, Kansas State’s offense can run as smoothly as any team in the country.
Whichever point guard gets the better of this matchup could determine their team’s success on Saturday. Shutting down the opposing team’s top playmaker has to be the top priority for both squads.
Key Factor: Rebounding Battle
Rebounding is always a key factor when two physical, defense-oriented teams match up. Houston ranks 5th nationally in rebound margin at +9 per game while Kansas State sits 30th at +5 per game. Whichever team controls the glass and limits second chance opportunities for their opponent should gain a major edge.
For Houston, J’Wan Roberts and Jarace Walker are monsters on the boards, combining for 17 rebounds per game. Kansas State leans heavily on 6’9” big man Nae’Qwan Tomlin down low. Whoever wins this rebounding battle between the teams’ frontcourt stars could tilt the game in their team’s favor.
Final Houston vs Kansas State Prediction
Houston’s balanced roster and suffocating defense should travel well and give them an edge over Kansas State on the road in this one. The Cougars have beaten quality opponents all seasons thanks to their mix of offensive firepower from Sasser and rebounding prowess from Roberts/Walker down low.
Expect the veteran savvy of Houston to frustrate the young Wildcats just enough to grind out a victory in the end. The safe Houston vs Kansas State prediction is to take Houston covering the 5.5 point spread.
Score Prediction: No. 2 Houston 72, No. 13 Kansas State 65
This exciting top-15 matchup has major March Madness seeding implications. Houston’s quest to enter the NCAA Tournament as the top overall seed continues against a scrappy Kansas State team eager to score a statement home win for their tournament resume. The Cougars should do just enough to remain undefeated and notch another Q1 win on the road.
As two of the nation’s top teams clash on January 28th, the matchup between Houston and Kansas State has major March Madness seeding implications on the line. Led by National Player of the Year candidate Marcus Sasser, undefeated Houston looks to remain perfect and notch another quality road win. However, crafty point guard Markquis Nowell leads a gritty Kansas State team with the talent to defend its home court. While Houston has the defense to frustrate opponents, Kansas State has the rebounding to hang around. Still, the Cougars’ balanced attack and knack for rising to the occasion in crunch time should lift them to a hard-fought victory over the Wildcats. Riding high from yet another statement win, Houston will emerge as even stronger 2023 Final Four contenders. Expect this exciting showdown between title hopefuls to come right down to the final minutes, with Houston doing just enough to cover and stay perfect on the year.