NCAA Tournament Round 1: Lehigh Mountain Hawks (22-10 SU 3-1 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (32-2 SU 14-16-1 ATS) Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK 9:30 PM EST Thursday March 18, 2010 on CBS
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Kansas -25.5 / Lehigh +25/5
On Thursday night in 1st round game in the tough Midwest Region the 16th seed Lehigh Mountain Hawks face the nation’s top ranked and region’s top-seed in the Kansas Jayhawks. Can Lehigh make history by being the first 16th seed to beat 1st seed? Not likely, as Kansas is not just the top-seed in the region, but may be one of the most stacked teams in the college game in quite a few years.
I could not tell you where Lehigh is, it’s in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, but I can tell you a few of the current Jayhawks’ players will be in the NBA very soon.
Lehigh won the Patriot League in the regular season and they also won the conference tournament, which gave them an automatic bid to the Big Dance. Even though they are facing Kansas the Mountain Hawks come into this game with confidence, as they have won 5 games in a row and 7 of their last 8.
Kansas has been #1 in the nation for most of the season and they won the Big 12 by 4 games and they had no problem winning the conference tournament, as their closest game was in the finals where they won by 12 points.
One thing the Mountain Hawks have going for them is that the Midwest Region is, by far, the toughest region and the Jayhawks may be looking past them.
Lehigh is led by their backcourt with the guard duo of C.J. McCollum (18.9 ppg) and Marquis Hall (11 ppg). The Mountain Hawks do have a couple of solid forwards, but the Jayhawks still have a much better frontcourt. McCollum and Hall will have to light it up from deep in order to pull off the massive upset.
The Jayhawks are a MUCH more athletic team and Lehigh will have to slow the tempo and hope they can have a great shooting game.
Lehigh did not play one ranked team all season while Kansas played one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
Kansas has one of the more well-balanced, not to mention deep, teams in the NCAA tournament. Their backcourt is loaded with guards Sherron Collins (15.6 ppg) Xavier Henry (13.6 ppg) and so is their frontcourt with F Marcus Morris (12.3 ppg) and C Cole Aldrich (11.2 ppg).
Both Lehigh forwards are giving up a few inches to the 6’11 Aldrich, who is averaging just under 10 rpg, so they will really have to work hard to keep the Jayhawks’ C off the glass.
In their last game Lehigh beat Lafayette 74-59 in the Patriot League tourney final on Friday. The high scorer for Lehigh in the game was C.J. McCollum going for 20 points on 7/15 shooting. For the game the Mountain Hawks shot 27/55 for a FG% of 49.1%. On defense the Mountain Hawks were solid holding Lafayette to only 24/66 from the floor for a FG% of 36.4%.
Kansas beat in-state rival Kansas State in their last game 72-64 in the Big 12 tourney final on Saturday. The high scorer for Kansas in the game was Marcus Morris going for 18 points on 8/13 shooting. For the game the Jayhawks shot 23/52 for a FG% of 44.2%. On D the Jayhawks clamped down holding Kansas State to 24/69 shooting for a weak FG% of 34.8%.
According to the Sagarin NCAA basketball ratings Kansas ranks 1st (96.43) and Lehigh ranks 204th (69.35).
Kansas is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games as a favorite, and 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite of 13.0 or greater.
Kansas has an Under record of 5-1 in their last 6 non-conference games and an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games.
Lehigh is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
Lehigh has an Over record of 4-1-1 in their last 6 non-conference games.
Jason’s Pick: I think Kansas will have no trouble winning this game and I would be surprised if the starters log a lot of minutes in the 2nd half. Lehigh is overmatched in this game, duh, but Kansas does not have a good ATS record when they are the huge favorite. I think Lehigh will play a good game and not get embarrassed, which is why I say take them and the points.