Kansas vs Kansas State Basketball Prediction & Picks: Will KU’s rivalry dominance continue?

Eddie Griffin

There are two matchups on tonight’s college basketball schedule that are between ranked teams, and both are in the Big 12. First up, we have a must-see rivalry showdown as #2 Kansas visits #13 Kansas State in Manhattan.

Tonight’s tussle between the Jayhawks (16-1, 5-0 Big 12) and Wildcats (15-2, 4-1 Big 12) is set for a 7:00 pm ET (6:00 pm local time) tip at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas, and it will be televised by ESPN.

This has been quite the lopsided rivalry, as KU has won seven straight since a 74-67 loss in Manhattan on February 5, 2019. Overall, the Jayhawks are 38-6 against the Wildcats since Bill Self took the reins in Lawrence in 2003.

But KSU is having a fantastic first season under new coach Jerome Tang, and even after a loss at TCU on Saturday, they still occupy a prominent place in this week’s national rankings.

Will they break their losing streak against the Jayhawks tonight? Read on for our Kansas vs Kansas State basketball prediction and picks.

Kansas vs Kansas State Odds

Game odds are via FanDuel as of Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at 12:55 pm ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.


  • Kansas -1.5 (-115)
  • Kansas State +1.5 (-105)


  • Over 147.5 (-105)
  • Under 147.5 (-115)


  • Kansas -126
  • Kansas State +105

Can Kansas Continue to Play with Fire?

Entering tonight, the only loss for the reigning national champions this season remains a 64-50 loss to Tennessee in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game the day after Thanksgiving.

But there aren’t any other blemishes on KU’s record because of how they have excelled in close games. Eight of their wins this season have come by six or fewer points, with four of their five Big 12 wins coming by four or fewer points.

The latest escape came on Saturday against Iowa State, a 62-60 win at Allen Fieldhouse.

After the Cyclones tied it up in the final minute with a three, KJ Adams Jr. put Kansas back ahead with ten seconds left, and Caleb Grill missed a potential game-winning three.

Is this way of winning sustainable for the Jayhawks? Well, it works until it doesn’t.

Tonight, things will need to click more offensively than they did against the Cyclones, who are one of the very best defensive teams in the country.

In the win, Kansas shot 59.3% (16 of 27) on two-point shots, but they made only 28.6% (6 of 21) of their threes and 60% (12 of 20) of their free throws.

Leading Scorers for Kansas

  • F Jalen Wilson: 19.8 PPG (1st in the Big 12), 8.9 RPG (2nd in the Big 12), 2.8 APG
  • G Gradey Dick: 14.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG
  • G Kevin McCullar Jr.: 10.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.7 SPG (1st in the Big 12)
  • F KJ Adams Jr.: 10.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG

Tonight, the Jayhawks will be going up against a K-State team that ranks third in the conference in scoring (78.2 PPG) and has two of the top seven scorers in the Big 12 in Florida transfer Keyontae Johnson and Markquise Nowell.

Leading Scorers for Kansas State

  • F Keyontae Johnson: 18.4 PPG (3rd in the Big 12), 7.1 RPG (t-6th in the Big 12), 56.4% FG (2nd in the Big 12)
  • G Markquise Nowell: 17.1 PPG (7th in the Big 12), 8.5 APG (1st in the Big 12)
  • F Nae’Qwan Tomlin: 10.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG

The Wildcats have shown that they can win ugly themselves, but I don’t see them winning tonight if they score in the 60s for a third straight game.

They were able to take care of business at home against Oklahoma State, who is last in the Big 12 in offensive efficiency at KenPom, but they fell 82-68 at TCU on Saturday.

In the loss in Fort Worth, they shot only 28.6% (6 of 21) from three and 43.1% (28 of 65) from the field, turned the ball over 20 times, and attempted only seven free throws.

Kansas vs Kansas State Prediction and Picks

KU vs K-State Prediction: Kansas 78, Kansas State 71

KU vs K-State Picks: Kansas ML (Best Value: BetRivers) & Kansas/Kansas State first half over (Best Value: over 69 at BetRivers)

What the Wildcats have done with a new coach and some solid additions on the court, but I don’t think it will be enough to bridge the gap between themselves and the Jayhawks.

KU may not be winning pretty, but they are winning, and close win after close win is showing what this team is made of.

Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.