No. 3 Kansas, Georgia Tech Feature in College Basketball Ball Top Picks

Jay Pryce

Friday, November 24, 2017 2:25 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 2:25 PM UTC

The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks are playing like the top team in the country as they host Oakland as heavy favorites at Allen Fieldhouse. Check out our pick in the matchup and our prediction for North Texas at Georgia Tech here. 

Oakland vs No. 3 Kansas (-19.5)

Kansas set a school record hitting 19 3-pointers last time out in a 114-71 victory over Texas Southern. It was the second most points in the 15 years head coach Bill Self has led the program. Per KenPom, the Jayhawks scored 1.54 points per possession, the most efficient performance ever in his 508 games in charge.

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👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌👌

A lot of those last night as #KUbball hit a program-record 1️⃣9️⃣ 3-pointers in their win over Texas Southern. pic.twitter.com/kx91eMD1WE

— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) November 22, 2017
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Kansas is running a 4-guard lineup in many sets with center Udoka Azubuike controlling the paint. This equates to a more dynamic, faster, better ball-handling lineup that is proving tough to handle on both ends of the court. The skill set of the starting five, which includes two oversized guards 6-foot-8 leading scorer Sviatoslov Mykhailiuk (20.0 ppg) and 6-foot-5-Lagerald Vick (18.3 ppg), is unmatched nationally. This is possibly Self's best squad ever.

Oakland, meanwhile, is not off to the start it envisioned. The Golden Grizzlies won 48 games over the last two seasons and fields a trio of fifth-year seniors in Jalen Hayes, Martez Walker and Kendrick Nunn—all three were recognized in preseason all-conference Horizon League voting. Oakland is 2-2 SU and 1-2 ATS to begin the year, playing 7 points below a 0.7 average line. Poor shooting is plaguing the bunch. In the three games hitting the oddsboard, the Grizzlies are shooting 39.0 percent from the floor and 30.6 behind the arc. In two games it tipped off underdogs (Toledo, Syracuse), the numbers dip to 34.4 and 27.7 percent respectively. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, have tipped off twice as double-digit chalk. It's holding opponents to 32.8 percent shooting. Market projections put Oakland's team total at 68 points. It will be lucky to hit 60 if these figures hold.

In the last decade, Kansas has hosted two Horizon Conference teams (Detroit and Valparaiso) at Allen Fieldhouse. It won by 20 and 35 points respectively, holding them to 28.6 percent shooting from the floor. The 'under' hit in each by a whopping 24.8 margin due to the strong defensive efforts. In this span, Oakland has failed to cover the spread in three road attempts versus AP Top-10 teams. It shot 39 percent overall. Expect the Grizz to fall flat offensively. Including the exhibition period, Kansas has put up 86 points or more in every game outside of its 65-61 win over fellow blue blood Kentucky. This matchup could end up a bloodbath for the Grizz if they can't improve on both ends of the court. Lay the points with the Jayhawks.

Free NCAAB Pick: Kansas 19.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

North Texas vs Georgia Tech (-18)

North Texas finished 11 out of 14 in the 2017 C-USA Men's Basketball Preseason Poll after winning just 8 games last season. New head coach Grant McCasland, a longtime Baylor assistant under Scott Drew, was brought in to right the ship. It's tough to tell if the Mean Green have improved from last season despite a 2-2 record to begin the year. Three games have come against NAIA competition, including an ugly 75-63 home loss to UT Rio Grande Valley last time out. North Texas shot just 31.7 percent from the floor. The team is led by a trio of sophomore guards: Roosevelt Smart (16.6), Ryan Woolridge (16.0 ppg) and A.J. Lawson (11.2 ppg). When they shoot poorly from the perimeter, it hits the team hard as evident in the Vaqueros defeat.

Georgia Tech second-year head coach Josh Pastner is caught up in the FBI's league-wide investigation into illegal benefits. The school suspended guards Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson indefinitely at the start of November for their role in accepting money and gifts. The duo made up a significant amount of the Yellow Jackets scoring last season, combining for 27.2 points per game. Their absence is being felt. Georgia Tech average 67.7 points per contest, two versus D-II opponents.

The Yellow Jackets are defense-first behind Pastner. Including the exhibition season, it is allowing 61.6 points per game. This includes a 63-60 loss to high-flying UCLA in the season opener. Pastner's style is deliberate and unforgiving. The Ramblin' Wreck rank 290 in pace. Hitting the half century in points might be considered a small victory for North Texas in this spot.

The Mean Green averaged 56.6 points in five games as double-digit underdogs last season versus opponents with a 250 tempo rating or higher. A 137.9 average total is nearly identical to today's initial offer of 139 points. With Georgia Tech scrambling to fill the scoring void left behind by Okogie and Jackson's absence, look for this game to stay 'under' the total. Check the SBR Oddsboard for the best number.  

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 139.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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