Looking For Eight Straight

No matter how well Kansas State's best players have been playing, the Wildcats have had trouble winning recently. Texas, meanwhile, doesn't lose even when its stars struggle.

The seventh-ranked Longhorns (23-4, 10-2 Big 12) look to win their eighth straight game Monday when they visit the No. 24 Wildcats, who are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Kansas State -3 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Texas +3 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

Kansas State (18-8, 8-4 Big 12) fell for the third time in four games Saturday, 92-86 at Baylor despite a Big 12-record 44 points from star freshman Michael Beasley.

Bill Walker added 31 for the Wildcats - meaning the duo scored more than 87 percent of Kansas State's points - but Baylor shot 10-of-18 from 3-point range and scored 54 second-half points as Kansas State struggled defensively.

On the same day, it was Texas' defensive play that lifted the Longhorns over Oklahoma 62-45. They won even though standout guard A.J. Abrams scored a season-low five points and was 0-of-6 from 3-point range.

Texas has allowed 95 total points in the last two games, with opponents shooting 28.4 percent in that span. The Longhorns have held five of their last six foes under 40 percent from the field.

"It's been going on for five or six games. We continue to get better on defense," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We started talking about this during February about a way we have to separate ourselves from the rest of the league because all good teams do that during this time of the year."

Texas limited the Sooners to 26.4 percent shooting and got 19 points from D.J. Augustin in the win, which moved it into sole possession of first place in the Big 12 after Kansas lost to Oklahoma State.

Even when Augustin has struggled - he went 2-of-12 from the field in an 82-77 victory at Baylor on Feb. 16 - Texas has kept rolling. The Longhorns are 7-0 this month, and a victory Monday would give them their first perfect February since the 1962-63 season.

In addition to tough defense, Texas has benefited from improved inside play. Augustin and Abrams are the Longhorns' top scorers, but forward Damion James had 13 points and 11 rebounds against Oklahoma for his third double-double in the last four games.

"You've got to have an inside game to win," James said. "People know we have great guards, but we also need good posts in order to have an inside-outside threat."

There's no questions about Kansas State's inside game, as Beasley leads the nation with 12.5 rebounds per contest and is third in scoring at 26.1 points.

Beasley's 44 points and 13 rebounds against Baylor gave him his 23rd double-double of the season - breaking the NCAA freshman record set by former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony.

"I was just playing, trying to help my team," Beasley said. "I really don't want to talk about my points because it obviously wasn't enough to win."

Walker had 11 boards to go with his 31 points and recorded his first double-double since December, but the Wildcats couldn't shut down five Baylor guards who combined for 69 points.

"I was impressed. I feel like we had the game," Walker said. "We had some breakdowns on defense. They made some tough shots, and it was over."

All three of Kansas State's recent losses have come on the road, but the Wildcats have won 11 in a row at home. They're 6-0 in Big 12 games at Manhattan, winning by an average of 21.3 points, including a pair of victories over top 10 teams.

Kansas State won 73-72 at Texas in the teams' only meeting last season, holding Abrams to seven points on 2-of-16 shooting.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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