No. 2 Kansas Without Azubuike In KC Vs. New Mexico State

Willie Bee

Friday, December 7, 2018 2:28 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 2:28 PM UTC

Even without their big man Udoka Azubuike, the No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks are still big favorites on the NCAA basketball odds in Saturday’s neutral-site bout with New Mexico State.

Season Record: 17-11-1 (+5.40 units)

New Mexico State (7-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. No. 2 Kansas (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS)Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Kansas City (ESPN2)Free NCAAB Pick: Jayhawks ATSBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Technically, Saturday’s skirmish between Kansas and New Mexico State is a neutral-site affair. But since the Jayhawks are traveling a mere 41 miles from their home in Lawrence to Kansas City’s Sprint Center, while the Aggies are trekking more than 900 miles from Las Cruces, well, it’s anything but a neutral site.

Not to mention, the event is carrying Jayhawk Shootout as its moniker, and that’s exactly what the sportsbooks believe it will be with Kansas installed as sizeable chalk. With two offenses ranked in the top quarter of the nation in scoring, playing the scoreboard means a decision on a total in the mid-to-upper 140s.

How Will KU Adjust To Life Without Azubuike?

New Mexico State has quietly built a 7-1 record, and reaches Kansas City off its most complete performance of the season in a 100-65 win over rival New Mexico. It was the Aggies’ second win of the season against the Lobos, the first one coming in Albuquerque as small underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds board and the latest taking place in Las Cruces as 7-point home chalk. Head coach Chris Jans watched his club net 50 in both halves against the Lobos, the victory fueled by double-doubles from Ivan Aurrecoechea and Eli Chuha.

Bill Self and the Jayhawks will hit the floor for the first time since losing center Udoka Azubuike to a high-ankle sprain in Tuesday’s win over Wofford. The 7-footer was forced from the game early in the first half when the Terriers were giving Kansas a hard time, and Self is hopeful the Jayhawks get the junior back in a few weeks when it’s time to begin Big 12 action. Leading by only three less than nine minutes into the second half, Kansas went on a 27-zip run to pull away in the 72-47 final. The Jayhawks made just 3-of-23 attempts from 3-point range and were outhustled on the glass by Wofford.

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LIVE at the top of the hour, @CoachBillSelf previews this weekend's matchup with New Mexico State in his weekly press conference #KUbball

WATCH: https://t.co/L01omgeXnL pic.twitter.com/SqwHuzkDs2

— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) 6 de dezembro de 2018
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Rematch Of 2015 March Madness Contest

Friday’s clash marks the fourth meeting between Kansas and New Mexico State, the Jayhawks winning the previous three with the smallest margin of victory being 19 points. The most recent matchup came in the opening round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament where 2nd-seeded Kansas posted a 75-56 decision over the 15th-seeded Aggies in the Midwest Region at Omaha. The Jayhawks doubled-up the -9½ spread in the triumph with the final falling a bucket short of a 133-point total.

Self really doesn’t have anyone to take Azubuike’s place in the middle of the paint, so it’s going to be interesting to see how books fine-tune Kansas spreads while he’s out. Still, as bad as they shot and still romped past Wofford, I’m willing to eat the chalk in this one with my free NCAA basketball pick.

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