Kansas Jayhawks vs. Colorado Buffaloes Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Kansas Jayhawks (20-1 SU, 9-8-1 ATS) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (11-10 SU, 8-9 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, February 3, 2010, Coors Events Center, Boulder, Col. TV: ESPN2
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Kansas -13.5/Colorado +13.5
Over/Under: 151

The best teams in the Big 12 faces one of the worst teams in the Big 12, as the Kansas Jayhawks visit the Colorado Buffaloes on Wednesday night.

The Jayhawks are 6-0 in conference play and have just one loss for the season, a road loss at Tennessee, but any team is capable of pulling off an upset on their home floor, so the Jayhawks have to bring their best effort when they are away from Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas is coming off back-to-back wins over two of the best teams in the Big 12, Missouri and Kansas State. The win over Kansas State was on the road in overtime on Saturday, 81-79. Sherron Collins made all of the big plays for the Jayhawks down the stretch and finished with 16 points. Cole Aldrich had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Marcus Morris had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Brady Morningstar had 14 points, and Tyshawn Taylor scored 12. The Jayhawks shot 50 percent from the field and 5-for-10 on 3-pointers and got to the free throw line 33 times.

Colorado did not play well in non-conference play but has been decent in Big 12 play. The Buffaloes have defeated Baylor and Nebraska at home, lost by six at home to Kansas State in their only home loss this season, lost by four at Texas A&M, and lost by one point at Iowa State. A couple of more made shots or free throws could have the Buffaloes with a 4-3 conference record right now instead of 2-5.

Colorado is 10-1 at home this season but has lost 32 straight road games in conference play.

In their 64-63 loss at Iowa State on Saturday, Marcus Relphorde missed a layup at the buzzer for the Buffaloes. Cory Higgins led them with 21 points. Alec Burks, who is averaging 16.3 points per game as a freshman this season, left the game with a knee injury after two minutes on the floor. He is listed as day-to-day and is questionable for the game against Kansas. Against the Cyclones, Colorado shot 34 percent from the field and 9-for-26 on 3-pointers. The Buffaloes were out-rebounded, 49-24. The one huge positive was that they only had four turnovers while forcing 21 of them. Replicating that turnover differential against Kansas will give them a great chance of pulling off the upset. But they have to do a much better job of crashing the boards and knocking down shots. A -25 rebounding margin and 34 percent shooting will not get it done against a great team like Kansas.

Kansas is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range for the season and in conference play, but the Jayhawks are allowing Big 12 teams to shoot 40 percent on 3-pointers. That’s something the Buffaloes can exploit, as they are shooting 38 percent on 3-pointers for the season and in conference play. They are also holding Big 12 opponents to 30 percent from beyond the arc. Colorado has been stellar in conference play at protecting the ball, committing 10.9 turnovers per game. The Buffaloes have a +4.5 turnover margin in conference play, while Kansas has a -1.4 turnover margin in conference play. Rebounding is where these teams really differ. Kansas has a +8 rebounding margin in conference play, while Colorado has a miserable -13.4 rebounding margin in conference play. The Buffaloes really have to rebound much better than they have been in Big 12 play to have any chance against the Jayhawks.

Kansas is 8-1-1 ATS in its last 10 games following an ATS loss, 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight road games, and 20-7-2 ATS in its last 29 Big 12 games. Colorado is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games overall, 6-2-1 ATS in its last nine games as a home underdog, 4-1-1 ATS in its last six games as an underdog, and 5-2-1 ATS in its last eight home games. Kansas is 5-1 ATS in its last six games against Colorado. The road team is also 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these teams. The under is 5-0 in the last five meetings between these teams and 8-0 in the last eight games between these teams at Colorado.

Ryno’s Pick: Kansas is a much better team than Colorado. But playing on the road in the Big 12 is a tough task. Colorado is 10-1 at home this season and its only home loss was by six points. There is much more value in Colorado getting 13.5 points with a small chance of actually winning the game than there is for Kansas to win by at least 14 points. Colorado already beat Baylor at home, and Baylor won at Texas, so it’s not crazy to think Colorado could maybe win this game. If Burks doesn’t play, take the under of 151. But if Burks is going to play, take Colorado +13.5.