Kansas Jayhawks (23-1) -4.5, 147 O/U at Texas Longhorns 19-4) +4.5,
147 O/U, Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas, 9 PM Eastern, Monday
by Badger of Predictem.com
Its not often that college basketball fans get to start off the week
with a great game, but thats exactly what happens Monday night when
the No. 4-ranked Kansas Jayhawks travel to take on the No. 12-ranked
Texas Longhorns in a crucial Big 12 Conference showdown on ESPN.
These two teams have played some classics lately, including an 88-84
overtime thriller won by Kansas in the Big 12 Conference title game
last March. Mondays game stands to be another big one in the series,
as this will be the ninth straight meeting that both teams have been
ranked in the APs top-25 and the two sit at the top of the Big 12
standings (Kansas has 1.5-game lead).
Both teams will also be looking to win their fourth straight game after each survived a scare over the weekend. Kansas was held without
a 3-pointer for the first time in 271 games, but they still managed
to score 64 points after the break to pull away from Baylor on
Saturday, 100-90. Texas meanwhile needed an overtime session to
finally dispose of Iowa State on Saturday, 71-65.
Online Bookies opened the big game with Kansas as 4.5-point favorites, with a total of 147. The early look at the moneyline has Kansas at -198, with Texas at +178.
What really needs to be said about a Kansas offense that can go 0-for-9 from 3-point range and still put up 100 points. The Jayhawks
got huge games from Darrell Arthur (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Mario
Chalmers (10 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals) in the win over
Baylor, but the reality is that Kansas can score from anywhere on the
floor with just about anyone in their lineup.
Texas relies heavily on one of the best guard tandems in the country for their offense. Point guard D.J. Augustin and off-guard A.J.
Abrams are 2nd and 3rd in the Big 12 in scoring, and they carry the
offensive load as their combined 42 points in the Iowa State game
Although they are prone to bad shooting games (shot only 35.7 percent
from the floor vs. Iowa State; Augustin was 5-of-22; shot 34 percent
in an earlier loss to Texas A&M), Texas does have a way of finding
Abrams or Augustin for a clutch basket in crunch time.
The defensive end of the floor is where this game is going to be won
or lost. Kansas has a slightly better points allowed average overall
(61.5 ppg to Texas 65.4), but those numbers are reversed when you
look at their home/away splits. Kansas allows 64.6 points on the
road, while Texas turns up the pressure on the Frank Erwin Center
floor by allowing just 60.2 points per game.
Texas will need to get big games from their inside players, namely
Connor Atchley, Damion James and freshman Gary Johnson. Atchley had
four blocks versus Iowa State and gives them a presence on defense,
James is their offensive threat and glass cleaner in the post (8
pts., 14 reb. vs. Iowa State), and Johnson is coming back from injury
and is the players off the bench that gives both Atchley and James a
rest from time-to-time.
Kansas has beaten the Longhorns in three straight games, but Texas
has defended its home floor well by winning the last two played in
Austin, including the Jayhawks worst loss in five seasons under coach
Bill Self, a 80-55 thumping back in 2006.
Even though the Jayhawks have owned the series of late, bettors will
note that the Longhorns are a strong 6-2 ATS in the last eight games
head-to-head. The game has gone over the total in eight of the last
10 head-to-head games in the series as well.
Its hard to get a good read on some of the other recent betting
trends. Kansas is a strong 14-8 ATS for the season, but they are just
1-3 ATS in the last four and 5-4 ATS since Big 12 play began. Texas
is a meager 9-8 ATS on the season overall, and they have struggled in
Big 12 play with a 3-4 ATS record in conference games.
The point spread has already dropped to Kansas by 4 points at some of the
offshore sportsbooks. The early money is banking on the Longhorns
strong home court record, recent success at covering the number in
this series, and maybe the fact that Texas is 6-2 ATS in their last
eight Monday night games.
Badgers Pick: This is going to be a great game to watch, so enjoy
it tonight. Both teams are strong on defense, but there are just too
many athletes and scorers on the floor in this game to keep it under
the total, so take the over of 147. If you can find it listed lower
anywhere, giddy up. If you need to bet a side, I would suggest taking
the Jayhawks. I know Texas is at home, and they have covered the
number well in the series lately, but the Jayhawks are loaded and
still the better team. So take Kansas plus the points.