College Basketball Picks: Texas at Kansas Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 1/21/2011
Saturday is easily the best day of the season thus far in college basketball. How good? There are five games matching Top 25 teams on the day, and for this story I didn’t even go with No. 1 Ohio State at No. 22 Illinois, in which the Buckeyes could easily suffer their first loss. I also passed on No. 7 Villanova at No. 3 Syracuse even though both teams could suffer a second straight loss to a Big East Top 10 foe, and in which the Orange could set an NCAA record for attendance in an on-campus game. Nope, the game of the day is No. 11 Texas at No. 2 Kansas because of the No. 70.
How the Teams Enter
Texas (15-3, 3-0 Big 12) is rolling right now, having won nine of 10 – with the lone loss coming to Top-10 team Connecticut on a Kemba Walker last-second shot in overtime. The Big 12 has been a pushover so far for UT as the Horns have won their first three games by at least 20 points for the first time since the 2005-06 season. On Wednesday night the Longhorns beat No. 10 Texas A&M, 81-60, in Austin, ending the Aggies’ 13-game winning streak. UT shot a season-high 58 percent from the field and season-high 86.4 percent (19-for-22) from the free-throw line; UT is the worst shooting free throw team in the conference.
Kansas (18-0, 3-0) is one of three unbeaten teams left in the country along with Ohio State and San Diego State. KU actually had struggled a bit in its previous three games before Monday, winning in overtime at Michigan, by five at Iowa State and by just three at home against Nebraska. But everything clicked again on Monday as the Jayhawks won, 85-65, at Baylor to end the Bears’ 15-game home win streak. KU shot an obscene 79 percent in the first half – a season-high 62.5 percent from the field for the game -- and never looked back.
Texas at Kansas Storylines
This game is all about Kansas defending its national-leading 69-game winning streak at historic Allen Fieldhouse. And Texas has had no success in Lawrence as Kansas is 9-0 against Texas in games played in Lawrence, including 7-0 in Allen Fieldhouse. However, the last team to beat the Jayhawks at home was from the Lone Star State. Texas A&M defeated KU on Feb. 7, 2007. Plus, the Jayhawks have had a few close calls this year. They needed a free throw with less than a second left to beat UCLA, a late three-pointer from star freshman Josh Selby to beat USC and some key late free throws to hold off the Cornhuskers.
Other than perhaps UConn’s Walker, Texas swingman Jordan Hamilton will be the best player that Kansas has seen thus far this season. The 6-foot-7 Hamilton is a matchup nightmare as he has a team-high 50 three-pointers and leads Texas with 19.7 points per game and is second in rebounding with 7.1 per game. He is far from the only threat as the Horns also have one of the best freshmen in the nation in forward Tristan Thompson, who has made a huge difference in the paint as a shot blocker and rebounder. He has averaged 17.0 points and 8.1 rebounds in the Longhorns’ last seven games.
This should be a fascinating offense vs. defense matchup. KU is eighth in the nation in scoring at 83.2 points per game and No. 1 in field goal percentage at 52.4 percent. Texas, meanwhile, is holding opponents to an average of 61.3 ppg on 37 percent shooting, including just 28.7 percent from the three-point arc.
Texas at Kansas Betting Odds and Trends
KU opened as a 7.5-point favorite, according to college basketball odds, with the total at 143. Kansas is 11-0 at home this season and 4-5 ATS (8-8 ATS overall). Texas is 2-1 in true road games and 2-1 ATS (10-3 ATS overall).
UT is 6-1 ATS in its past seven games.
KU is 0-5 ATS in its past five games.
The ‘over’ is 5-0 in the past five meetings in Kansas.
The road team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Five of the last six meetings have been decided by 10 points or less.
College Basketball Picks: Texas at Kansas Predictions
Even outside of Lawrence, KU has had Texas’ number, winning three in a row and six of seven. But Texas seems to have found itself and is actually more athletic than Kansas. The Horns might win outright, but I think they certainly cover. And go with the ‘over’.
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