NCAA Tournament Odds: Kansas To Win And Cover Against Maryland

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 2:00 PM GMT

The second game in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament has one of the favorites to cut down the nets on April 4th against an opponent who at least from talent point of view could defeat them.

Kansas has given no indication they are going slip up in winning 16 games in a row (13-3 ATS), being strong in all facets of the game. Maryland has won both their tournament games by making free throws when it counted at the end of games and has individually talented players who if they have monster games, could pull off a stunning Sweet 16 upset.

The NCAAB betting odds have the Jayhawks as 6.5-point favorite, with posted total having been lowered to 143 for this approximately 9:40 Eastern time tipoff on CBS. Here is the breakdown and who you should use for NCAA basketball picks.

 

The Betting Numbers

Kansas
SU and ATS Records - 32-4, 22-11 ATS
Neutral Site Record -8-1 and 7-2 ATS
Favorite Record - 28-3 and 21-10 ATS
Off a SU Win - 27-4 SU and 20-9 ATS

Maryland
SU and ATS Record - 27-8, 16-16-2 ATS
Neutral Record - 7-1 and 6-2 ATS
Underdog Record - 0-5 and 2-2-1 ATS
Off a SU Win - 19-7 SU and 10-13-2 ATS

 

The Game Scoop
As stated, one can make a case if you compare individual talent or NBA ability, Maryland would arguably have an edge in this encounter. Do not for a minute think this does not matter, because if you survey the college basketball champions over the last 50 years, even seemingly miracle winners like Danny Manning at Kansas and N.C. State's unbelievable upset of Houston, each had three players who spent a fair amount of time in the NBA.

Melo Trimble is Maryland's most important player because he controls the ball and is the main facilitator. Though his three-point shot has been off, the sophomore has gotten aggressive again and has a knack for drawing fouls and he almost never misses at the charity stripe (22 of 23 in tourney). Rasheed Sulaimon played at Duke and while he has up and down tendencies, he has been sound.

Diamond Stone is a first round NBA pick and Robert Carter could develop into professional player, while Jake Layman is a versatile performer who can score in a variety of ways and plays harder than anyone on the Terps roster night after night.

After losing three consecutive road games in January and letting Kentucky shot 53.2 percent in a victory at Lawrence, the Kansas players took coach Bill Self's message to heart. He had been preaching they effort on the defensive end had to improve and not just individually, but collectively, in not just guarding your man by helping one another. This meant protecting the lane but also the three-point line. Since the Kentucky contest, only two of 15 opponents have made more than 41 percent of shot attempts and together the Jayhawks defense has held all these teams to under 38 percent shooting.

Offensively, Kansas is one of the best shooting teams in the country at 49.6 percent and their 42.3 percent mark from behind the stripe is fourth in the country. Perry Ellis is the leader and clever inside scorer and Wayne Selden Jr. and Devonte’ Graham are deadly from the perimeter.

Sagarin Spread - Kansas -6.01

 

Spread Winner and Totals Lean
Maryland is going to draw a lot of attention as an underdog because of the talent they have and they should. But winning is more than just ability, it is about teams performing as a group. While there is no question the Terrapins could win this game if they play fantastic and Kansas has off night, that is more hope than real analysis.

Maryland entered the tournament having lost five of eight and it was mostly due to selfish play when things were not going their way. Though the ACC has six teams remaining, the Big 12 was the best conference and the Jayhawks have covered 13 of past 16 contests.

As far as coaching, Bill Self is a Hall of Famer while Mark Turgeon is merely good and it is no accident Kansas is 10-2 ATS versus teams shooting 45% or higher and whose defense holds opposing teams to 42% or less this season, winning by 10.6 points a game.

It will not be simple but Kansas wins and covers and moves to Elite 8, and the NCAA basketball odds seem to favor this expectation.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Kansas -6.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Doug's Record: 7-5-1 ATS sides and 7-6 totals