Kansas Jayhawks (28-2 SU, 11-15-1 ATS) vs. Missouri Tigers (22-8 SU, 14-10 ATS), 2:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, March 6, 2010, Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo. TV: CBS
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Kansas -3/Missouri +3
Mizzou Arena might be the toughest place to play for opposing teams in college basketball. Kansas might be the best team in college basketball. That combination should make for an interesting Big 12 duel, as the Missouri Tigers host the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday afternoon.
Kansas has been absolutely spectacular this season with a 28-2 overall record and 14-1 conference record. The Jayhawks are arguably the favorites to win the National Championship. Missouri has only lost one home game this season, 77-74 to Texas A&M on February 3, but the Tigers don’t lose at home very often. However, Kansas has won six of the last nine at Missouri. But the Tigers did win it last season by two points, and most of the matchups between these teams at Mizzou Arena have been decided by single digits.
This game doesn’t mean much for Kansas other than pride and rivalry. The Jayhawks have already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament and they’ve also probably already locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, regardless of what happens in the Big 12 tournament. Missouri is probably safe as an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament but this victory would certainly lock up a spot for the Tigers and give them a better seed. Other than that same pride and rivalry factor, the Tigers also need this win to be assured of a top four seed in the Big 12 tournament and that all important bye in the first round.
Missouri has won four of its last five games and six of its last eight. The Tigers are coming off a 69-67 road victory at Iowa State in overtime on Tuesday. With the game tied at 67 in the final seconds of overtime, Zaire Taylor drove the length of the court and banked in a shot to win the game as time expired. J.T. Tiller scored 17 points, Marcus Dentmon had 16 points and eight rebounds, and Michael Dixon added 10 points. The Tigers shot 44 percent from the field and just 4-of-19 from 3-point range. They also committed 19 turnovers and were out-rebounded by two, but they did force 20 turnovers and hold Iowa State to 41 percent shooting from the field and 3-for-17 from beyond the arc.
Kansas had 13-game winning streak and was 13-0 in the Big 12 before its loss at Oklahoma State last Saturday. But the Jayhawks bounced back with a huge home victory over Kansas State on Wednesday. 82-65, in a game that pitted two teams ranked in the top five in the country. The Wildcats battled back every time the Jayhawks tried to extend the lead. They even tied the game up at one point in the second half, but the Jayhawks were just too much down the stretch. Xavier Henry scored 19 points, Sherron Collins had 17 points, Tyshawn Taylor scored 11, and Markieff Morris had 10 points and nine rebounds. The Jayhawks shot 51 percent from the field and 8-for-18 from 3-point range. The Wildcats shot 40 percent from the field and 5-for-14 on 3-pointers.
Kansas State is a very aggressive team with a lot of strong athletes. The Wildcats play extremely hard and try to crash the boards and create turnovers for easy baskets. They are forcing more than 16 turnovers per game in conference play and are out-rebounding opponents by more than four boards per game. They are committing 15 turnovers per game in conference play, shooting 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond the arc, and holding opponents to 42 percent shooting from the field and 34 percent on 3-pointers. Kansas shoots 47 percent from the field in conference play and 39 percent on 3-pointers, while holding opponents to 40 percent shooting from the field and allowing opponents to shoot nearly 40 percent on 3-point attempts. The Jayhawks are out-rebounding opponents by more than four boards per game, committing 12.5 turnovers per game, and forcing almost 14 turnovers per game.
Kansas is 1-4 ATS in its last five road games, 1-5 ATS in its last six games overall, 1-6 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS win, and 0-5 ATS in its last five Saturday games. The Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS and the same record in their last six Saturday games. Kansas is 4-0 ATS in its last four games against Missouri, and the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams.
Ryno’s Pick: This game should prove to be one of the best games of the season in all of college basketball. I’m calling upset. Missouri wins straight up by 5 points.