Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Kansas State Wildcats Pick & Prediction MARCH 2nd 2024

The stakes will be high Saturday night when Cincinnati hosts Kansas State in a critical Big 12 showdown. The Bearcats (16-12, 5-10 Big 12) come in reeling, having dropped three straight conference games to drop five games below .500 in the Big 12. Kansas State (17-11, 7-8) has rebounded from losing seven of eight to win two straight and climb back into NCAA Tournament consideration. “We are in the same boat that they are in, and they have an advantage because they’re at home,” Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang said. “This is the biggest game of the year, and not just because it’s the next one. “This one’s huge, and we might as well call this an NCAA Tournament game. I think whoever wins this game is going to the tournament. Not that whoever loses is not, but I think whoever wins this game is going to go to the NCAA Tournament.” The Wildcats, who are No. 75 in the NET rankings, showed signs of life with home wins over then-No. 25 BYU (84-74) last Saturday and West Virginia (94-90 in overtime) on Monday. Tylor Perry led the Wildcats with 29 points against West Virginia. “We never really lost our confidence,” Perry said. “It was just about putting the pieces back together, and this is a tough league. And as we’ve seen all year, this is a one-game season, and you can’t look past anybody.” Since beating then-No. 15 Texas Tech on the road on Feb. 3, the Bearcats have lost five of six to fall out of realistic at-large consideration for the NCAA Tournament. Their most recent setback came on Tuesday night at No. 1 Houston, 67-59. Cincinnati fell behind 14-2, missed eight of its first nine shots and scored just 17 points in the first half. To top it off, the Bearcats committed 19 turnovers against Houston’s aggressive defense. “Obviously, 19 turnovers isn’t gonna cut it when you’re going against a team of that caliber,” Cincinnati coach Wes Miller said. “We definitely have to take better care of the basketball. They force turnovers a lot. Those are not always unforced, so give credit to them there.” Cincinnati leads the all-time series with Kansas State 7-1, with the first seven matchups coming between 1957-68, and the other a 75-61 win in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

–Field Level Media

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