Motivation becomes a factor when handicapping Saturday's Kansas-Oklahoma bout in Norman. The Jayhawks have already clinched the top seed for the Big 12 tournament, and might not go all out. Maybe that's why the Sooners are favored, and going up.
Jayhawks-Sooners Betting Odds
The NCAA Basketball odds opened Oklahoma at either -4 or -5; many of those books then bumped Boomer to -5.5.
Also, the total on this game opened at right around 140, then rose to 142.
Kansas-Oklahoma: The Situation
Kansas had already won the Big 12 regular-season title – that's 11 in a row – and it's also banged-up. It's hard to tell exactly how Coach Self will approach this game.
Kansas has won two in a row, after rallying from 18 points down to beat West Virginia Tuesday night 76-69 in overtime. The Jayhawks trailed that game throughout, finally tying the score with 11 seconds left, then taking over in OT. Kansas shot just 41 percent from the floor, in part because it missed all 15 of its 3-point attempts.
Also, the Jayhawks came up short against the spread as nine-point favorites, and are now 0-5 ATS over their last five games.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, which had won eight of its previous nine games, just blew any chance it had of trying Kansas atop the Big 12 by blowing a game at Iowa State Monday night 77-70. OU led by 21 early in the second half, but a Sooners technical foul led to a 22-0 Cyclones run, which turned the whole game around.
The Sooners shot just 36 percent on the night, while allowing ISU to shoot 48 percent, and pissed away the cover as five-point underdogs.
In fact, even while winning three in a row heading into that game, Oklahoma is also 0-5 ATS over its last five games. Last Saturday the Sooners beat TCU 67-60 but lost ATS as 11-point favorites.
At 11-6 in conference play the Sooners can clinch the two seed for next week's Big 12 tournament with a victory and a little help from elsewhere. But they have to take care of their own business first.
Jayhawks-Sooners, By the Numbers
Kansas is shooting 44 percent from the floor this season, 39 percent from 3-point range, which makes us wonder how the hell they went 0-for-15 the other night, and 72 percent from the FT line. The Jayhawks are also holding opponents to just under 40 percent FG shooting.
Oklahoma is shooting 44 percent from the floor, 35 percent from long range and 73 percent from the line, while stiffing foes to 38 percent FG shooting, which ranks in the top 20 in the country.
Jayhawks-Sooners Recent History
Kansas has taken 13 of the last 14 meetings in this series, after winning the first meeting between these
rivals this season six weeks ago in Lawrence 85-78. The Jayhawks led by 19 at the half, allowed OU to come all the way back and take a four-point lead, then rallied late for the victory.
Kansas shot 48 percent from the floor that night, and hit 10 of 19 on 3-pointers, while holding the Sooners to 40 percent shooting.
Jayhawks-Sooners Betting Trends
Kansas is 15-12 on the totals this season, as Jayhawks games have averaged 137 points.
Oklahoma is trending UNDER this season by a 16-10 margin, as Sooners games have averaged 135 points.
Kansas F Perry Ellis, who leads the team at 14 points and seven boards per game, tweaked a knee Tuesday night, and will miss this game. Also, fellow F Cliff Alexander will probably miss this game, as powers-that-be look into some off-court dealings. And G Wayne Selden tweaked an ankle Tuesday, although he is expected to play. For the moment Kansas is a bit shorthanded.
Jayhawks-Sooners Free Pick
The early line movement on this game indicates bettors believe Kansas might mail this one in. But the Jayhawks could still play for pride, right? And how many times in situations like this have we seen the team with nothing to play for play its balls off, and cash in? Also, Kansas lost Ellis in the first half night against West Virginia, then rallied for the victory without him. If Coach Self wants to play for Rock Chalk pride, the value resides with the Jayhawks, plus the points for our NCAA basketball picks.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Kansas +5.5 at BookMaker