Colorado Buffaloes vs. Kansas Jayhawks Pick 12/7/19
Colorado Buffaloes (7-0 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (6-1 SU, 3-4 ATS)
When: Saturday, December 7, at 7 p.m.
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
Point Spread: COLO +9.5/KU -9.5 (Best Basketball Lines)
Total: O/U 137
Last Time Out:
Colorado handled Loyola Marymount 76-64; Kansas beat Dayton 90-84 in overtime.
Scouting the Buffaloes:
Colorado is a defense-first outfit, and it has saved the Buffaloes on more than a couple occasions. The Buffaloes don’t score a lot of points, having topped 71 points just twice in seven games, but 71 has been a winning number for the Buffaloes in every game, as they haven’t given up more than that number once this season.
The key to Colorado’s success is guard Tyler Bey, who stands just 6-foot-7 but leads the Buffaloes in both points and rebounds, averaging a double-double with 14 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Colorado rebounds the ball well as a group, but Bey gets nearly a third of the Buffaloes’ rebounds on a typical night. If Kansas can clamp down on him and keep him away from the basket, Colorado might not have an answer for a backup scorer or rebounder.
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Scouting the Jayhawks:
You’d never know it from Kansas’ most recent game against Dayton, but the Jayhawks are also rock solid on defense. Take out that game, which did go to overtime, and the Jayhawks haven’t given up more than 68 points in a game this season, and that one was Duke on a neutral floor. The Jayhawks have ridden Devin Dotson and Udoka Azubuike for most of the early season, with the two combining for just under 35 points a game.
What’s made Kansas dangerous is that Dotson and Marcus Garrett have proven quite adept at getting the ball around to the rest of the Jayhawks and setting them up for easy baskets. However, they’ve also combined for 4.5 turnovers per game, which could put Kansas in danger against a solid opponent like Colorado. The turnovers didn’t hurt Kansas as a whole against Dayton, but against a defense like Colorado, turnovers could be a significant factor that gives the Buffaloes the edge they need to stick around.
Rest. Rest is always important to college basketball, and this point of the season makes it even more important because teams are facing finals week. As most people who have attended college know, finals week is a stressful time no matter who you are, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with mental fatigue during the process.
The Jayhawks don’t have the added worry of physical fatigue, because they’ve been at home now for a full eight days since playing in Maui and winning the tournament title. Colorado, on the other hand, played on Wednesday against Loyola Marymount and didn’t have an easy time against the Lions, escaping with a 12-point win after a difficult slog. How rested are the Buffaloes going to be, and are they ready to face the kind of challenge that Kansas presents?
Colorado will Cover if:The Buffaloes can drill their deep shots. Dayton is the only team that’s come close to beating Kansas since the Jayhawks’ opening-night loss to Duke, and that’s because the Flyers shot 48.5 percent from behind the arc, taking 33 shots from deep and hitting 16. Opponents have decided that the best way to beat the Jayhawks is to try to challenge them on the perimeter as opposed to risking taking them on inside. Kansas is facing more 3-point shots than all but eight teams in the nation because Kansas has the perception of being weak on the perimeter. Given how solid the Jayhawks’ defense is as a whole, Colorado has to try to exploit this perceived weakness.
Kansas will Cover if:
The Jayhawks can push the tempo without committing turnovers. Kansas and Colorado play at pretty close to the same speed, with the Jayhawks a little bit faster than the Buffaloes. However, playing a fast tempo backfired on the Jayhawks in the Duke game because Kansas couldn’t take care of the basketball. The Jayhawks have improved with ball handling, but they also got six turnovers from Dotson in the narrow escape from Dayton. If the Jayhawks give up the ball, Colorado has a real chance.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
Colorado has built itself into a reliable team under the leadership of Tad Boyle, and the Buffaloes are deservedly ranked in the top 20 for what they’ve done. But they’ve got to play in one of the toughest buildings on short rest against a rested and talented Kansas squad. I expect this to be a low-scoring game that ends up going to Kansas because the Jayhawks will push the tempo enough to push Colorado into fatigue and cause them to make the kinds of mistakes that become commonplace for visitors to Allen Fieldhouse. Give me the Jayhawks.
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