No. 6 Cincinnati vs. No. 11 Kansas State Prediction, Game Preview


The No. 6 Cincinnati Bearcats will take on Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, following the Wildcats’ First Four victory in Dayton.


Kansas State survived Wake Forest in a First Four contest, earning the right to face Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game was close until the back end of the second half, where the Wildcats pulled away.

Now tasked with traveling from Dayton to Sacramento, Bruce Weber’s team will look to keep the momentum going against a Cincinnati team that plays sweltering defense. Below are a prediction and game preview for the upcoming South Region contest.

Cincinnati vs. Kansas State Preview

Date:  March 17
Time:  7:27
Venue:  Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Region: South

Cincinnati Strengths

Mick Cronin is not a fan of seeding, calling it little more than revenue driving drama. Fair enough. Maybe he has a point, given how strong this year’s team is. Cincinnati is one of the nation’s best defensive clubs, proving able to lock down nearly anyone they face. This is a balanced team, with three players averaging double figures (and senior guard Troy Caupain coming just close with his 9.8 points per game in the regular season). The Bearcats distribute the ball well, hold on to the rock and have one of the nation’s top assist-turnover ratios. This is a very efficient club.

Cincinnati Weaknesses

This is not a team that wants to get into a shootout. While balanced, much of the production comes from inside the arc – Cincinnati averaged fewer than eight 3-pointers during the regular season. If they get jammed up inside, that could spell trouble.

Kansas State Strengths

Kansas State’s biggest strength is that it’s playing its best basketball of the season heading into the Tournament. It won three in a row – including a win over Baylor – before losing by one point to West Virginia in the Big 12 semifinals, and then overwhelmed Wake Forest in the First Four. Four players are averaging at least 11 points per game, and Wesley Iwundu has scored in double figures in 15 of his last 17 games. Bruce Weber has the Wildcats on a bit of a roll going into the Big Dance and they could make some noise.

Kansas State Weaknesses

Inconsistency is the biggest reason Kansas State is 21-13 and finished with a sub-.500 record in Big 12 play. It went from shooting 52.3 percent in the win over Baylor to hitting just 39.1 percent the next day against West Virginia. The Wildcats have been known to go cold, and they’ll have to avoid that since their defense isn’t strong enough to make up for a lack of offensive efficiency.

Cincinnati vs. Kansas State By The Numbers

Cincinnati Statistics

Scoring Margin: 14.5
Rebound Margin: 4.6
Turnover Margin: 3.7
3-point Field Goal Percentage: 34.7%

Kansas State Statistics

Scoring Margin: 4.8
Rebound Margin: -1.1
Turnover Margin: 2.1
3-point Field Goal Percentage: 36.1%

Cincinnati vs. Kansas State Prediction

Which Kansas State shows up? At first glance this looks like a matchup where Cincinnati will put the clamps on with it’s exceptional defense and force the Wildcats to build a brick house. And yet, there’s some serious momentum on the side of Bruce Weber’s club. This has all the makings for a sometimes sloppy game that ends up with an exciting finish. K-State pulls it out in the waning moments.

Cincinnati vs. Kansas State Score Prediction: Kansas State 71, Cincinnati 69

MORE: Never Count Out Kansas State Head Coach Bruce Weber