Iowa State Cyclones vs. Kansas State Wildcats Pick & Prediction MARCH 14th 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas State knows it has to keep winning to keep alive its chances for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.

The Wildcats will get another opportunity to do just that on Thursday night when they face seventh-ranked Iowa State (24-7) in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Conference tournament.

Tenth-seeded Kansas State (19-13) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to record a 78-74 victory over Texas in the second round on Wednesday night. The Wildcats scored the first seven points of the second half.

Kansas State led by 10 with just over four minutes to play, but Texas kept charging. Dylan Disu’s put-back with 32 seconds left cut the Wildcats’ lead to 70-68.

Tylor Perry made two free throws and Cam Carter converted a layup to put Kansas State up by 6. Max Abmas sank a pair of 3-pointers; however, Perry and Carter each sank to foul shots to seal the victory.

Now the Wildcats’ attention is on the Cyclones, who didn’t have to play Wednesday.

“I’m going to go and enjoy this with the guys for a few minutes and then we will lock in on Iowa State,” Kansas State coach Jerome Tang said after the emotional victory. “Obviously, they’ve had a great year. They’re going to probably be a (No.) 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

“They’re one of the best defensive teams in our league. They pride themselves on all the things we pride ourselves on, too. (Coach) T.J. (Otzelberger) does a great job with his program. I’m just happy we get a chance.”

Kansas State’s second-half comeback was keyed by taking care of the ball. After committing eight turnovers in the first half, the Wildcats only had two after intermission.

“I stopped turning the ball over,” Perry said, when asked what the difference was in the second half. Tang followed with “Amen.”

Iowa State enters Thursday’s game as the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Cyclones lost their last regular-season game on Saturday, ironically against Kansas State.

Just like they did Wednesday, the Wildcats used a strong start of the second half to assume control of that game. The Wildcats started the second half on a 15-2 run over the first six-plus minutes and built a 17-point lead before fending off a late rally.

Iowa State had already locked up the No. 2 seed, so it was easy for Otzelberger to put that game in the past. On Wednesday, he met with the media and was focused on what’s next.

“Our guys have a very clear picture on who we are as a group, a team, and what we need to do when we take the court,” he said. “(We know) what winning looks like for us and what that needs to be offensively and defensively.

“Those are things we don’t take for granted. We want to make sure that we work every single day to continue to develop all of those aspects. It’s a good spot to be in, because our guys should be confident in the work they’ve done and confident in their togetherness and now we just have to go out and play.”

–David Smale, Field Level Media

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