No. 15 Kansas Jayhawks +2.5 (22-5) 15-6 ATS, 9-13 O/U at No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners -2.5 (25-2) 13-9 ATS, 15-7 O/U Monday February 23, 2009 Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma 9:00 p.m. EST TV: ESPN (Big Monday)
by Wilson of Predictem.com
Tonight will definitely be why they call it Big Monday as the number one spot for the Big 12 is on the line when the Jayhawks visit the Sooners in Norman. Kansas and Oklahoma are both 11-1 in conference play but only one team will walk away as the Big 12 leader when the final buzzer sounds. Both teams are averaging near 80 points per game and can clamp it down on defense as well with both only giving up no more than 66 per outing. Which team will make the least mistakes tonight? Only time will tell.
Kansas is 5-0 ATS in their last five games and 5-1 SU in the last six versus Oklahoma. They Jayhawks have won three straight coming into tonights matchup as they last beat Nebraska 70-53 over the weekend. The Jayhawks have won by double figures in 8 of their 11 conference wins.
The Jayhawks are putting up 77 points per game and they lead the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at 38.1 percent as well as rebound defense at 31.1. Kansas is second in conference only to Oklahoma in field goal shooting percentage at 50.3 percent, OU is shooting 50.5. However, the Jayhawks do lead the conference in FG percentage defense at 37.5 percent, which may come in handy tonight.
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Junior guard Sherron Collins leads the Jayhawks in scoring with 18 ppg, good enough for fourth in the Big 12. Collins has poured in 22 points in his last two games (Iowa State and Nebraska), and he has also dished out ten dimes (assists) with zero turnovers. Oklahoma will want to get some pressure on him as he clearly is the engine for KU.
KU gets plenty of help from their younger players in sophomore center Cole Aldrich and freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor. Aldrich leads the conference in blocked shots at 2.6 per game and has grabbed 63 boards in his last five outings to go with his 15 ppg. Taylor has contributed well by averaging 9.1 ppg and was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the week three times this year. They both bring a ton of energy to the floor.
Kansas went as long as seven weeks without being ranked in the AP or ESPN/Coaches Polls, but now they are back on track as they are currently sitting at No. 15.
The Sooners, meanwhile, started the season ranked 12th in the country but have since climbed into the No. 2 spot. OU has only lost two games and both were on the road at Arkansas and most recently at Texas. The Sooners are 15-0 at home and you can bet that they want to keep that streak alive tonight.
Oklahoma is guided by national player of the year candidate Blake Griffin. Griffin has been nearly unstoppable all year as he is averaging 22 points per game and 13.8 rebounds. He also has a national best 22 double-doubles and tops the Big 12 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage at 63.2 percent. I would say hes pretty solid! However, Griffin only played 11 minutes against Texas on Saturday due to a first half concussion, which may cause some concern in tonights game. Will Griffin be ready to go? I have a feeling he’ll be ruled out for safety reasons.
Oklahoma is 8-4 ATS in their last 12 games and the total has gone over in their last five games at home. Tonights game should be an instant classic as both teams are well coached and have plenty of ammunition. Im sure well see some different looks on defense from both sides.
Wilsons Pick: Kansas wins straight up on the road!