Basketball Pick: Louisiana vs. Kansas
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (1-1, 0-1 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (2-0, 1-1 ATS)
When: Friday, November 16th, 2018 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, KS
By: Kyle Cash, NCAA Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UL +21.5/KAN -21.5
We’re still waking up from our long summer slumber in the college basketball world, and the non-conference games are the Folgers in our collective cups. It’s best to get a little taste of the college basketball season before hunkering back down in our beds and flipping on the NBA or NFL RedZone or College Gameday Saturdays. NCAA Basketball is a slow burn; it’s an escalating series of events that eventually leads to the greatest three-week stretch in sports.
To wet our appetite some more, let’s head down to Allen Fieldhouse in the House that Self Built as the Kansas Jayhawks take on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in an early-season affair. My son Joel Embiid’s alma mater is currently a 21.5-point favorite over UL with the total set at 159.5 points. Rock chalk!
Elfrid Payton Went Here?
Sorry, college basketball superfans – that’s all I have for you here. The Sun Belt Conference is not exactly at the ACC, so they don’t really enter my preview until sometime around the second week of every March. To me, the Sun Belt winner is the 12th seed that I always pick to upset Oregon or Baylor in the first round, and then all of my friends and family ask me, “How did you know that Georgia State was so good?” Because I’m the best, friends and family. That’s why.
Louisiana-Lafayette is facing off against their second top-10 team in as many games after being subjected to the wrath of the Tennessee Volunteers in their last outing. UL scored 120 points in their home opener and are making 11 3-point field goals per game, and their 18 ppg senior forward JaKeenan Gant is a legitimate problem for opposing teams. Against Kansas, it’s best for UL to try to keep math on their side; the more 3s they shoot, the more they may make, and that should keep the game closer. The truth is that outside of an unconscious performance from one of UL’s top scorers, Kansas is in another league as them, and should roll over them with little to no resistance.
Lagerald Vick’s Big Day
As Dante from Clerks would say: “I wasn’t even supposed to be here today!” I bet that Lagerald is feeling a little bit better at his situation at Kansas University now that he owns the record for most made three-pointers without a miss as he stroked 8-for-8 in Kansas’ last game. If we can learn anything from Kansas’ two game sample size, it’s that they have the ability to hurt you with multiple guys in multiple ways, and every NCAA team (except maybe Duke) is in for a world of trouble.
Dedric Lawson looked unstoppable versus Michigan State, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he handed in another ass-kicking in Friday night’s game. Quentin Grimes looks and plays like an NBA lottery pick, and he’s the guy that I’m most interested in from a scouting perspective (I also loved Brandon Rush, Xavier Henry and Ben McLemore; Kansas wings just suck me in, I guess). Most importantly, Udoka Azubuike is a force near the rim, both offensively and defensively, and I find it hard to believe that UL will have anyone that can even come close to stopping him or scoring on him. Kansas is the #2 team in the country for a reason; don’t overthink this one.
I wish that there was some type of nuanced opinion that I could bring to the table in this one, but the simple fact is that Kansas is going to be in the mix to compete for the National Championship in four months, and sadly, the Ragin’ Cajuns probably won’t even make it out of their conference tournament alive. Allen Fieldhouse rivals Cameron Indoor as the toughest places to play in college basketball, and it seems like it’s too early for Kansas to be caught sleeping. Lagerald Vick isn’t going to go 8-for-8 again, but Dedric Lawson won’t be held scoreless, and Azubuike should have his way. Kansas will safely run this score up, and fire them up with confidence.
Final Score Prediction: Kansas 91 – LA Lafayette 65