Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Kansas vs. Temple

Darin Zank

Monday, December 22, 2014 7:14 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 7:14 PM UTC

Get ready for a valuable NCAA Basketball pick tonight, as Kansas, who owns an eight-game winning streak, will look to keep the good times rolling when they visit 7-4 Temple. 

Jayhawks-Owls Betting Odds
Most NCAA Basketball odds opened this game with Kansas favored by seven points, the total pegged at 136. And both those numbers were holding steady in the early betting.

Those who believe Temple might spring the upset in this spot could get a price of +266 on the moneyline at Pinnacle.


Jayhawks-Owls: The Match-Up
Kansas returned just two starters this season from a team that won 25 games last year before bowing out of the NCAA tournament in the third round. Among the departed were the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in last spring's NBA draft. But the Jayhawks, as with other members of college basketball's elite, don’t have to rebuild; they just reload.

Kansas opened this season with two rather uninspiring performances, a 69-59 victory over UC-Santa Barbara and that 72-40 butt-kicking at the feet of Kentucky. But since then the Jayhawks have won eight in a row, with victories over Tennessee, Michigan State, Florida, Georgetown and Utah. In fact, the Sagarin ratings at Sports rank Kansas' schedule so far as the third-toughest in the country.

Saturday the Jayhawks took a bit of a break and beat Lafayette 96-69 in a game that wasn't lined. Kansas shot 50 percent from the floor, made 12 of 23 shots from beyond the arc, outrebounded the Leopards 44-26 and committed just five turnovers.

Temple returned three starters this season from a team that won just nine games last year and missed the NCAA tournament. And the two guys the Owls lost just happened to be last season's leading scorer and leading rebounder, who combined to averaged 31 points and 14 boards per game.

Temple started 2-0 this season, then lost back-to-back games to Duke and UNLV. The Owls then won four of five, beating nobody of any note, then lost 85-62 at Villanova, coming up short against the spread as 16-point dogs. But last time out Temple won at Delaware 82-62, covering as an 11-point favorite.

The Owls only shot 42 percent from the field last Thursday, but made 16 of 33 shots from 3-point range and held the Blue Hens to 40 percent shooting.

Temple took on reinforcements last week as transfers Jesse Morgan and Devin Coleman became eligible. In their first game they combined to score 25 points against Delaware.

These teams met most recently back in January of 2013 – not too long ago – a 69-62 Kansas victory in Lawrence. But the Owls covered that game as 12-point road dogs.


Jayhawks-Owls Key Numbers
On the season Kansas, uncharacteristically, is shooting just 43 percent from the floor, but 40 percent from 3-point land and 74 percent from the line, which for a college basketball team isn't bad. The Jayhawks are also holding opponents to just under 41 percent shooting.

Temple is shooting just 37 percent from the field, and 30 percent from 3-point land, but perhaps Coleman and Morgan can help boost those figures. Also, the Owls are holding foes to just 39 percent FG shooting.


Jayhawks-Owls Betting Trends
Kansas is 5-3 on the totals this season, as Jayhawks games have averaged 136 points.

Temple is 1-4 on the totals, as Owls games have averaged 127 points.


Jayhawks-Owls Free Pick
The additions of Coleman and Morgan make this game very interesting. Those two could really add a spark to Temple's game, with their ability to shoot the threes. Oftentimes we like taking good teams on the road for our NCAA Basketball pick, because home-court advantage can be overrated, and the pointspreads become more amenable. But in this case we like the home dog. So we'll take the points with Temple.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Owls +7 at Pinnacle

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