Clemson Defense Key in Sweet 16 Midwest Clash with Kansas

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Swinging Johnson

Monday, March 19, 2018 3:11 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 19, 2018 3:11 PM UTC

The No. 5 Clemson Tigers head into the Sweet 16 after crushing Auburn, while their opponents from Kansas advance as only one of two No. 1 seeds left in the tournament. Let’s break down this Friday night showdown.

No. 5 Clemson (25-9 SU, 19-11 ATS) vs. No. 1 Kansas (29-7 SU, 19-15 ATS)Midwest Region, Omaha, Friday, 7:07 PM ETFree NCAAB Pick: Clemson +4Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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  • Kansas is 2-5 ATS in their last seven NCAA Tournament games as a favorite of 0.5-6.5.
  • Clemson is 5-0 ATS in their last five Friday games.
  • Clemson is 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a straight up win.
  • Clemson is 4-0 ATS in their last four games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
  • Clemson is 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 neutral site games as an underdog.

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When you wake up Monday and realize it's spring break ... And you're in the Sweet 16. #marchmadness pic.twitter.com/CIxRgBDbkb

— Clemson Men's Basketball (@ClemsonMBB) March 19, 2018
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The Clemson Tigers left no doubt which team was advancing to the Sweet 16 in their game against No. 4 Auburn. After the first half the Tigers built a 43-19 lead and never took their foot off the pedal, resulting in an 84-53 thrashing of the SEC regular-season champs and bringing home the cash for all those who backed them as two-point dogs in their college basketball picks. Senior guard Gabe DeVoe was a marksman from beyond the arc, sinking six of nine three-pointers and leading the team with 22 points, while teammate Elijah Thomas bucketed 18 and led all players with 11 rebounds. The 25 wins ties a Clemson school record as they enter the Sweet 16 for the time since 1997.

Kansas won the game but a late three-pointer by Seton Hall’s Myles Powell was the difference between a cover and a loss for all those betting the Jayhawks -4½ in the Round of 32. When the dust settled, the scoreboard read Kansas 83, Seton Hall 79, and a mere half point sent Pirates backers into ecstasy while those on the Jayhawks’ side were cursing the not-so-meaningless trey with two seconds remaining. Hulking sophomore center Udoka Azubuike was able to give Kansas 22 minutes and 10 points despite injury, but his presence was the decoy needed for teammate Malik Newman to get open and drain 28 points to lead the way for the Jayhawks.

Clemson has made their bones on defense this season, ranking 27th in the nation and allowing 65.5 points per game. Over their last three games, the Tigers have clamped down even more, surrendering an average of just 61.6 PPG and covering the college basketball odds in their last four. Of course, the Jayhawks bring a high-octane offense, scoring 81.4 points per game (29th in the country) and will prove to be the greatest test yet for the Clemson defense.

That said, Kansas also has a problem with their ailing big man Azubuike, who also will be tested by the Tigers’ big men in the paint. Clemson knows the game plan as they saw the Kansas guards get clean looks because Azubuike was getting all the attention vs. Seton Hall. I don’t see that happening here and Clemson has just enough firepower on their offensive end to keep this close. Grab the points and maybe even the outright victory as the winner will take on whichever team emerges from the Duke/Syracuse clash.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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