The Kansas Jayhawks earned their 12th consecutive Big 12 regular-season title with a dominating win over Texas to end the month of February, and they will head into the conference tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. Coach Bill Self and his squad are expected to carry that ranking into the NCAA Tournament later in the month and may be on course to grab their second national title and third Championship Game appearance since 2008. A second tournament title would catapult Self into rarified air as one of the few coaches with multiple National Championships wins.
Kansas' road to another title starts with the Big 12 Conference Tournament, which is scheduled to begin March 9 and end on the 12th. Let's take a closer look at the current No. 1-ranked team in the nation, go over its futures odds, ATS records and figure out if they have enough talent to win the 2016 NCAA tournament. All odds come from Bovada.
2016 Kansas Jayhawks National Tile Betting Storylines
The Jayhawks are in the middle of an 11-game winning streak that includes six victories over five Top 25-ranked teams in the nation. The squad struggled to start 2016, losing three of five matchups in January, but it has since rebounded into a powerhouse and favorite to win the national title. Kansas is led by senior forward Perry Ellis, who is averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game while blossoming into an excellent player in his own right. Ellis ended the regular season having played in his 137th college basketball game during his tenure at Kansas, but he is not considered a star in the sport.
Kansas has talent and plays well as a team, but the Jayhawks do not possess a single player that is projected to be an NBA lottery pick next year. In fact, this summer may be the first year since 2006 where Kansas does not produce a first-round prospect in the NBA draft. Even coach Self mentioned during the regular season finale that "the margin of error is less" for his team. Yet Kansas continues to win behind the excellent coaching of Self and with his players embracing the "team" concept.
2016 Kansas Jayhawks Tournament Odds, ATS Record and Tournament History
Title Odds : +500 (best in the nation)
ATS Record : 18-10 (8-6 home)
Tournament History : 25 straight appearances, national title in 2008 and 1988
Kansas is an excellent team and the overall favorite to win the 2016 national title, but most experts would freely admit that the NCAA Tournament is wide open for the taking, and there are no dominant teams in college basketball this season. The Jayhawks are well-coached, have a roster of excellent players that shoot the 3-ball better than most teams in the nation, yet they are not a dominant +500 like those Kentucky teams over the last few years.
Kansas is an excellent 19-10 ATS and has covered eight of the last 10 matchups. Statistically, the team is ranked 16th in points scored with an average of 81.8 per game, seventh in field goal percentage, and third in 3-point shooting percentage. Kansas currently owns a streak of 25 straight NCAA Tournament appearances beginning in 1990, yet the team has been eliminated in the second round for two consecutive years.
2016 Kansas Jayhawks National Title Odds and Predictions
Regardless of what happens in the Big 12 tournament, most experts still expect Kansas to enter the NCAA Tournament with the No. 1 seed. Coach Self has his team playing well and clicking on the offensive end. And while the Jayhawks do not have a star player, Wayne Selden Jr and Frank Mason are excellent players with the ability to score the ball late in games (which is invaluable during the tournament). Not having high-profile player may be an advantage for Kansas because the squad has learned to play basketball as a team and not rely on a single player for offense.
There may not be a prohibitive favorite entering the tournament, but Kansas has a history of making deep runs, and the school is the type of program that can win a title. If you are a Kansas fan, picking the Jayhawks to hoist another national title is as good of a wager as any currently on the board.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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