South Region Picks: Kansas Will Continue Their Winning Ways Over UConn

Doug Upstone

Saturday, March 19, 2016 1:32 PM GMT

For Kansas detractors of the NCAA Tournament, this the game everyone talked about them to be wary of. A skilled hot opponent who has same basic pedigree with a championship mentality.

For coach Bill Self it is the worst kind of team to play, one who is at least is close by talent standards and has absolutely nothing to lose, while the Jayhawks have everything at stake.

This will be the fourth game of the day on CBS, scheduled for 7:45 Eastern tip and top-seeded Kansas is a 8.5-point favorite with a total of 140.

Since losing to Iowa State in late January, the Jayhawks have been laser-focused in winning 15 straight games (12-3 ATS), but face a club that is feeling their oats also on a 5-0 SU and ATS. The NCAA tournament odds say Kansas, but they also had Michigan State in the Final Four.

 

Kansas
SU and ATS Records - 31-4, 21-11 ATS

Away Record -15-4 and 13-5 ATS

Favorite Record - 37-3 and 20-10 ATS

Off a SU Win - 26-4 SU and 19-9 ATS

 

Connecticut
SU and ATS Record - 25-10, 17-13-1 ATS

Away Record - 11-7 and 10-7-1 ATS

Underdog Record - 3-4 and 3-3-1 ATS

Off a SU Win - 16-8 SU and 12-10 ATS

 

The Game Scoop
If you are making NCAA tournament picks and you want to take Kansas, the first thing you want to see is the blood pressure of the Jayhawks players. It is a given Connecticut will be stoked and full of vigor, thus, Kansas has to be under control and playing in the moment, but not too cool for school, like they done in the past and made an unexpected early exit.

If Self has his guys dialed in, Deonte Graham, Wayne Selden Jr. and Frank Mason III will all have scoring opportunities from the wings, with ball movement that starts on one side of the floor, goes inside and is either reversed or sent back to where the pass originated, just a few feet up or down from starting point. Though the Huskies hold opposing teams to 38.3 percent shooting, in their two latest losses to Houston and SMU, they were disrupted by quick passes that were moving like a laser light and broken down not only on the perimeter, but in the paint also, which is where Perry Ellis patrols.

For Connecticut to compete, they will have to jump some passing lanes like they did in second half comeback against Colorado. Once they got a couple steals, coach Kevin Ollie's team stepped up the defensive intensity and that will be even more important here and not allow the Jayhawks ever to feel like they can find an offensive rhythm.

For the Huskies not only to cover but to pull the stunner, Ollie’s three-guard lineup of Daniel Hamilton, Sterling Gibbs and Rodney Purvis has to outscore their Kansas counterparts by 10 points and commit close to five fewer turnovers.

Sagarin Spread - Kansas -7.63

 

Spread Winner and Totals Lean
I am looking for this to be a closely contested first half, with Kansas building a three-to-four point halftime lead. In the second half the Jayhawks push it out to a six or seven point working margin by getting the ball to Ellis in the middle and him scoring or feeding passes to wing players for open looks.

Because of the tenacity of which Ollie coaches, UConn hangs around and is never out of the contest. Once we get to the four-minute mark, Connecticut has to get a little more desperate and being a good, not great three-point team, they fire up some errant attempts and are forced to foul. Kansas ended up parading to the line in the final two minutes and pulls away to win by 12 and all the dead ball scoring leads to Over.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Kansas -8
Best Line Offered: at Bet365