Oklahoma Sooners (13-13 SU, 9-14 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (26-1 SU, 10-13-1 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Monday, February 22, 2010, Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Oklahoma +22/Kansas -22
Before the season, this was supposed to be a marquee matchup. The Kansas Jayhawks have lived up to their end of the bargain, as the team is sitting at 26-1 overall and 12-0 in the Big 12 with a No. 1 ranking, but the Oklahoma Sooners haven’t nearly reached their expectations. OU are 13-13 overall and 4-8 in the Big 12 and are worried about even making the NIT.
To make things worse, Oklahoma’s best player, Willie Warren, who before the season was thought to be a frontrunner for Big 12 Player of the Year and possibly an All-American, has an ankle injury and will likely miss this game. Just like his team has severely underperformed, Warren has been anything but an All-American candidate as well. He is leading the team in scoring with 16.3 points per game, but he is shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3-point range, and is averaging 4.1 assists and 3.8 turnovers per game.
Tommy Mason-Griffin, who is making 45 percent of his 3-point attempts, is averaging 14 points and 4.5 assists per game. Tony Crocker, Tiny Gallon and Cade Davis are all averaging double-digit points per game as well. Offense hasn’t been the problem for the Sooners. It’s their defense that is the main concern. They’ve given up more than 70 points in seven of their last eight games, and ironically they’ve also lost seven of their last nine games. In conference play, the Sooners are getting out-rebounded by nearly two boards per game, they’re committing two more turnovers per game than they are forcing, they’re shooting 41 percent from the field while allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent, and they are allowing opponents to shoot over 41 percent from beyond the arc.
The only statistical category in which Oklahoma has the advantage over Kansas is turnovers committed. Kansas turns the ball over 13.3 times per game in conference play, while Oklahoma averages 12.8 turnovers per game in conference play. The Jayhawks are also vulnerable in defending the 3-pointer, allowing Big 12 opponents to make 39.8 percent of their 3-point attempts. If Mason-Griffin, Crocker and Davis can get hot from beyond the arc, maybe the Sooners can keep the game close. That’s probably their best chance of staying in the game – limiting their turnovers and knocking down open 3-point shots.
Kansas’s one loss this season came at Tennessee on January 10. Since then, the Jayhawks have won 12 straight games, all in the Big 12. They’ve won 57 straight home games at Allen Fieldhouse. Cornell and Baylor are the only teams to keep it within single digits at Kansas this season.
In their last game, the Jayhawks won 94-74 at home over Colorado on Saturday. Xavier Henry scored 24 points and added six rebounds. Cole Aldrich had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Tyshawn Taylor had 17 points and six assists. Sherron Collins added 13 points, and Markieff Morris had 11 points. The Jayhawks shot 55 percent from the field and 9-for-20 from 3-point range. They committed 18 turnovers, but they forced 20 turnovers and held a 14-rebound advantage on the boards. Colorado shot a respectable 45 percent from the field and 8-for-16 on 3-pointers, but the Buffaloes couldn’t stop the Kansas offense and couldn’t compete with the Jayhawks on the glass.
In the Sooners’ last game, the lost 83-68 on Saturday at home to Kansas State. The Sooners trailed by just two at the half, but Kansas State controlled the second half and walked away with a 15-point victory. Without Warren in the lineup, five different Oklahoma players scored in double figures, led by Mason-Griffin with 16 points. The Sooners shot 43 percent from the field and 8-for-23 on 3-pointers, but they allowed Kansas State to shoot 53 percent from the field and 10-for-20 on 3-pointers. If the Sooners are going to come anywhere close to the Jayhawks on Monday, they have to really step up on defense, or this game will be ugly.
Oklahoma is 1-5 ATS in its last six games following an ATS loss and 0-4 ATS in its last four games overall. Kansas is 1-4 ATS in its last four games following an ATS loss, 1-4 ATS in its last four home games, and 1-6 ATS in its last seven games as a favorite. The under is 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these teams. The home team is also 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings at Kansas.
Ryno’s Pick: Look for Kanss to win this game by 25 or more and to cover the spread and get the money.