Texas Longhorns vs. Kansas Jayhawks Pick
Texas Longhorns (16-15 SU, 15-16 ATS) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (23-8 SU, 13-17-1 ATS)
When: Thursday, March 14, 2019 – 9 p.m. ET
Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
By: Matt Lowry, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TEX -2.5 / KU +2.5 (MyBookie )
Total: O/U 137.5
Last Time Out: Texas lost to TCU 69-56; Kansas beat Baylor 78-70
Scouting the Longhorns:
The Longhorns have had a rough season so far and find themselves needing a magical run in the next couple of days to make the tournament. At at the very least, they will need 1 or 2 wins in the conference. Joe Lunardi does have the Longhorns in the field of 68 as one of his “Last Four Byes”. They are currently projected to be a 11 seed. This is head scratching because the Longhorns are barely above .500 and have several bad losses on their resume. Yes, they did beat Kansas once this season, but losing to teams like Georgia, who are well under .500, does not look good for their resume.
Scouting the Jayhawks:
For the first time in 14 years, the Jayhawks were unable to secure a share of the Big 12 regular season title and fell to a 3 seed for the annual Big 12 tournament. They are obviously still in the field of 68, but instead of having the potential for a 1 or 2 seed, they are projected to be a 4 seed. Perhaps if the Jayhawks win the Big 12, they will have potential to move to the 3 seed line. Another loss to this Texas team and they could be in danger of falling to a 5 seed.
Head to Head:
The Longhorns finally snapped a nine-game losing streak when they beat the Jayhawks in Austin, Texas back on January 29th. This game will be a little different because it will be played on a neutral floor. However, even with that fact, the Jayhawks travel very well so this game has the potential to feel like a game in Lawrence.
Notable Betting Trends:
While Texas has struggled to beat Kansas straight up dating back to 2015, they do have a slight edge in terms of covering the spread. Over the last 10 meetings, the Longhorns have covered in 6 of the 10 and, are 3-0 against the spread in the last 3 meetings. An important trend for Kansas shows they are 21-1 overall when scoring 70 points or more, but just 2-7 when scoring 69 points or less.
The return of Kerwin Roach II. Roach II was most recently suspended for violating team rules but is expected to be available for this game against Kansas. During the five-game suspension, Texas went 1-4 straight up and 2-3 against the spread. It should be noted that Roach is the leading scorer for this team, so having him back should increase the offensive production considerably.
Texas will Cover if:
They can replicate the defensive effort put forth in the last meeting with the Jayhawks. The Longhorns held the Jayhawks to just 63 points in the meeting in Austin, one of Kansas’ lowest scoring outputs this season. Not only that, but Texas held them to 43.1% shooting from the field and 33.3% from behind the arc. These low percentage had to do with the fact that the Jayhawks’ best player, Dedric Lawson, was held to 4 of 15 from the field and 1 of 5 from three-point range.
Kansas will Cover if:
Someone can step up and fill the role of Lagerald Vick. We know that Lagerald Vick is unable to play and is listed as “out for the season” due to personal reasons. The Jayhawks have gone 6-3 in his absence and will need someone like Devon Dotson to be that guy. Dotson is averaging 11.7 points per game this season, which is second behind Dedric Lawson when you take out Lagerald Vick an Udoka Azubuike due to their games played being much less. Combined with a big performance from Lawson will give the Jayhawks the performance they need to move into the semifinals on Friday night.
Matt’s Pick for Texas vs. Kansas:
MyBookie has the Jayhawks as a 2.5 favorite and with how dominant they have been in this conference over the past decade, it is hard to believe they will get upset in the quarterfinals. The Jayhawks will have a chip on their shoulder after failing to win the regular season title and they will advance to the semifinals by a comfortable margin.
Matt’s College Basketball Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -2.5