Kansas Jayhawks Odds to Win 2014 NCAA Tournament with Picks and Predictions
by George Monroy - 3/10/2014
The Kansas Jayhawks struggled through parts of the regular season, but they finished the year with a 23-8 overall record and the No. 8 ranking in the AP Top 25. The Big 12 Champions are also receiving a lot of love from the oddsmakers as they continue to be the second favorite to win this year's national title. Kansas may be the most talented team in the nation and could have the top two picks in this summer's NBA Draft, which also explains why the squad never fell too far from the top of national title futures odds this season.
Kansas, however, lost two of its final three matchups and might be entering the Big 12 Tournament off its game. Coach Bill Self will probably do whatever it takes to get his squad ready for the upcoming postseason tournaments, and even if the team itself doesn't have much experience, the coaching staff will have enough to lead the way. Let's take a closer look at Kansas' 2014 NCAA Tournament odds with picks, analysis and predictions.
Kansas 2014 NCAA Tournament Story Lines
Andrew Wiggins finished the regular season with a dominant and star-making performance in a loss to the West Virginia. The freshman forward exploded for 41 points on 12-of-18 shooting and added eight rebounds, two assists, five steals and four blocks in a career-best performance. Wiggins may have also regained his place as the top pick in the NBA Draft with that performance-teammate Joel Embiid had passed him in the eyes of most NBA experts.
Kansas' other star, Embiid missed the final two games of the season with a lower-back sprain, but the injury has since been described as more "significant" than originally thought. The center is expected to visit with a back specialist in Los Angeles early this week and is still listed as day-to-day. Luckily for the Jayhawks, a loss in the Big 12 Tournament won't affect their standings in the NCAA Tournament much, which gives Embiid another full week of rest if he is not ready to play on Thursday.
Lost in all the Wiggins and Emiid hype is the fact that Kansas has a deep roster full of quality--to very good--players that make the team extremely dangerous, even if it still lacks experience and discipline on the defensive end. Sophomore forward Perry Ellis and freshman guard Wayne Selden Jr. are two more excellent players on the team that average double-digit points and can produce late in games. Ellis averaged 13.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists for the team, while Selden Jr. chipped in 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
Kansas 2014 NCAA Tournament Odds and Key Trends
Kansas is receiving the second-best national title odds in the nation at +650, according to Sportsbook.ag. Kansas ended the season with a 15-15-1 overall ATS record and with an 18-12 "over/under" mark. The team also covered seven of its last 10 matchups but split its last four games with a 2-2 ATS record. The Big 12 Champions are also 4-1 over its last five games as a double-digit favorite.
Kansas was one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation with an average of 79.6 (25th) points per game. The squad was also ranked in the top 40 in rebounds (38.0), assists (15.3) and field goal percentage (.497) per game. One of the Jayhawks biggest issues, however, is on the defensive side of the ball as they allow nearly 70 points per game, which is ranked 160th in the nation, and allow opponents to shoot 35.4 percent from the 3-point line, which is ranked 242nd in the nation.
Kansas Odds to Win 2014 NCAA Tournament Picks and Predictions
Kansas' title odds might just rest on the health of the possible-No. 1 pick, Embiid. The team is still very good without its center, but it probably cannot win a national title if he is not in the lineup-there are simply too many talented teams in the tournament. Kansas is ranked No. 8 in the nation, yet it is receiving the second-best title odds, so there is a bit of overvaluing by the oddsmakers.
Kansas is good, but +650 odds seem too low for an inexperienced squad that struggles on defense and may not have one of its best players fully healthy for the tournament. The Jayhawks came up short during some of their biggest moments of the season, and a bet on the team would have much more value if the odds were in the +1000 range. Kansas might be one of those teams that makes a shocking early exit from the tournament.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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