Oklahoma Sooners vs. Kansas Jayhawks Prediction 2/15/20
Oklahoma Sooners (16-8 SU, 11-13 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (21-3 SU, 14-10 ATS)
When: Saturday, February 15, Noon
Where: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
Point Spread: OKLA +11/KU -11 (GTBets)
Total: O/U 136.5
Last Time Out:
Oklahoma slammed Iowa State 90-61; Kansas handled West Virginia 58-49.
Scouting the Sooners:
Three words come to mind when you think of Oklahoma: home court hero. The Sooners are an ugly 2-6 in true road games this season, including 1-4 in the Big 12. Some of those losses have been more than respectable, as they’ve fallen to Baylor by four and Texas Tech by 8, but they also lost by 13 to a below-average Iowa State squad in Ames. That’s the same Iowa State team that Oklahoma just beat in Norman earlier this week, so it’s rather evident that home court has a significant effect on the Sooners.
So does the play of Kristian Doolittle, who picked things up in the Sooners’ past two wins against West Virginia and Iowa State, scoring a combined 47 points in the victories. Doolittle is the Sooners’ main man on the boards, and the Sooners really don’t have enough behind him to get things done when he isn’t scoring as well. Brady Manek is a solid leading scorer, but Doolittle stepping up made the past two wins happen, and Oklahoma has to get a strong performance from both players and guard Austin Reaves, or it doesn’t have much of a chance.
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Scouting the Jayhawks:
If you get a good luck at the basket against the Jayhawks, commit it to memory, because it doesn’t happen often. Even when it does, Kansas’ defense is one that persists. If the Jayhawks don’t get you early, they’re probably going to get you late. That’s precisely what happened to West Virginia, which watched Kansas score the final nine points of the game and steal a win in Morgantown. The Jayhawks have held nine of their 11 Big 12 opponents to 60 points or less, and that includes Oklahoma, which got held to a season-low 52 points when the Sooners played host to Kansas a month ago.
What makes that more impressive for Kansas is that Oklahoma’s offense has been first-rate in Norman, topping 80 points in three of their past four Big 12 games (the one exception was West Virginia, which is right on par with the Jayhawks’ defense). But that’s what Kansas has done all year to its opponents, and it’s had to because it doesn’t do a lot on offense. Kansas shoots the ball well but doesn’t shoot the ball often, which leads to a lot of low scores. Only Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike consistently score in double figures, but because Kansas plays such great defense, it doesn’t really matter.
The NCAA tournament race. Oklahoma is running out of chances to get some quality wins on its profile, and there aren’t any bigger wins available in the Big 12 than Kansas or Baylor. The Sooners face both in the next 96 hours, which puts a lot of pressure on them to get at least one result. Meanwhile, Kansas has its sights set on Indianapolis. The Jayhawks know that if they keep winning, they’re going to be the top seed in the Midwest Region and likely get a favorable draw toward getting to the Final Four, which makes every game critical for them. There’s little chance of anyone taking this game lightly, simply because it means a great deal for both teams’ future.
Oklahoma will Cover if:
The Sooners can get Azubuike in foul trouble. Doolittle did a decent job against Azubuike in Norman, but he never really found an answer for the Kansas big man, who pulled down 14 rebounds and kept taking advantage of his inside mismatches. If Azubuike is able to do whatever he wants in the paint, it’s hard to see how Oklahoma is going to have much of a shot.
Kansas will Cover if:
The Jayhawks can get Dotson going. Dotson didn’t play in the teams’ meeting in Norman, but it didn’t matter because Isaiah Moss stepped up for 20 points, and the Kansas defense did the rest by holding Oklahoma to 30 percent from the floor. The defense can likely be counted on to put out another top performance, but the Jayhawks really need Dotson to make them a special team. When he gets going, Kansas finds another gear.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
Kansas has already shown that it can push around Oklahoma and did it without Dotson on the floor at all. Now the Jayhawks get another crack at the Sooners, get to play them in Lawrence — where the Sooners haven’t won since 1993 when the Big 12 was the Big Eight and had eight teams — and have Dotson in the lineup. This situation is set up perfectly for Kansas to put up a big number.
I have no problem taking Kansas to cover 11, and quite frankly, I think the idea of Oklahoma getting over 62.5 points is way too optimistic given how many teams have failed to even hit 60 against the Jayhawks. Oklahoma’s offense just isn’t good enough to stand up to this defense. Give me the Jayhawks to dominate this game and hold the Sooners under 62.
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