NCAA Tournament Picks: Will Maryland Cause An Upset Against Kansas?

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, March 24, 2016 1:45 PM GMT

This is familiar territory for Kansas, while Maryland steps into this Sweet 16 a bit out of their element. See what the NCAA tournament odds say about this matchup. 

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Maryland vs. Kansas 
When opening day rosters were set, it was no surprise to many that Maryland was predicted to be a Top 5 team to appear in the Sweet 16 Tourney. There was returning PG Melo Trimble and senior Jake Layman. Joining those two was a precocious NBA bound big man, Diamond Stone in the middle. They were joined by a pair of high-profile transfers Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke) and Robert Carter (GA Tech). With the coaching of Mark Turgeon, it looked like a potential Final Four team. Though that is still a possibility, the probability is that the journey ends tonight.  

For, Maryland has been a notable underachiever this season. Not only are there 8 losses, but there is also a less than sterling 15-18 ATS record. To their credit, the Terps knocked down 49% of their shots and convert 77% of their shots from the stripe. Though they allow just 41% from the field, they only force 11 TOs per game (the lowest among the 8 teams competing tonight). Round 1 of this event witnessed Maryland holding on for a (79-74) victory, as 9 point favorite against perennial l NCAA participant, S. Dakota St.  

That set the stage for Saturday’s win against up-start Hawaii (73-60) in which they caught the Rainbows ultra-flat after their Opening Round victory against Cal. Maryland got that win, despite shooting just 1/18 from behind the arc. That brings them to this Sweet 16 event against Kansas. This contest is most meaningful for HC Turgeon, a Kansas native, who played for the Jayhawks in the middle ‘80s, then was on the coaching staff for the Jayhawks under Larry Brown and Roy Williams. Though the Terps have plenty of upside based on their underperformance to date, it appears they are biting off more than they can chew today. 

For, it is in Louisville that Maryland must face a throaty, pro-Kansas crowd, who will be “day-trippin” the less than 400 miles from Lawrence to attend this event. With a record of 32-4 SU, and coming off a 30-4 SU season of last, the Jayhawks deserve the No. 1 overall seed, as they are playing better than any team in the country.  

Today, Kansas enters the Sweet 16 with a recent record of 16-0 SU, 13-3 ATS. Last weekend, the Jayhawks easily cruised by Austin Peay (105-79), before methodically defeating UConn (73-61) as 8 point chalk on Saturday. That win afforded them an extra day of rest and less travel time than for a Maryland team, who must fly home from Spokane and play the next contest on just 3 days’ rest.  

The fundamentals are fully in place for Kansas, as they are a (9.6) 3* fundamentalist. In that regard, note that 3* fundamentalists, when NOT playing other 3* teams, have gone 17-11 ATS in the first 2 Rounds of NCAA play this year. Abetting that strong fundamental play is an explosive offense that averages 82 points per game on 50% from the field and 42% from the arc. Though it is never easy to lay this price at this point in the Tourney (note that it is the highest price in the Sweet 16), it is worth noting that 28 of 32 Kansas wins have come by 6 or more points.

I invite you to put the NCAA basketball odds in your favor and join me in my NCAA basketball picks on Kansas tonight.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Kansas -6
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle