Texas vs. Kansas College Basketball Picks: Self Looks For 16th Conference Title With Jayhawks
Kansas is back in familiar territory, competing for a Big 12 regular-season title in the last game of the regular season. Can Texas play spoiler? Check out our Texas-Kansas picks.
The Jayhawks are tied atop the conference standings with Baylor at 14-4, with head coach Bill Self looking for an incredible 16th conference championship in his 19 seasons. Kansas lost its previous matchup to the Longhorns by a score of 79-76 in Austin.
Self will need a big effort from a Kansas team that struggled in recent losses to Baylor and TCU. It also narrowly escaped disaster with a 72-68 comeback home win over the Horned Frogs on Saturday. Will the Jayhawks find a way to nab that 16th conference title under Self’s watch, or have their recent struggles been a sign of a much bigger issue?
Here are my picks and predictions for Saturday's season-ending battle between Texas and Kansas (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
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Texas vs. Kansas Game Info
Date/Time: Saturday, March 5, 4:00 p.m. ETTV: ESPNLocation: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS
Texas vs. Kansas Odds Analysis
This line is consistent across all books, with the majority keeping it around the opening number of Kansas -6.5 following a slight increase to -7. Sharps have kept the overall money much closer, as Texas is getting 43% of the money but only 21% of the bets. The public clearly expects a Jayhawks cover.
If you're looking for confidence in a Kansas cover, don’t look at their season-long numbers. The Jayhawks are only 13-17 overall against the spread, including only 8-8 at home. Kansas is also only 7-10 ATS in the Big 12 and has failed to cover its last three games.
Texas isn’t much better, with a 12-17 record ATS. The Longhorns are just 7-9 ATS in Big 12 play and just 3-7 ATS in true road games.
Texas vs. Kansas Picks
Kansas -6 (-110) ????Over 137.5 (-110) ????
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Texas vs. Kansas Predictions
Kansas -6 (-110)
The Jayhawks aren't losing this game.
Despite its up-and-down season, it's always played well in these spots under Self. Not only is this game for the conference title, but the Jayhawks also are motivated by revenge after losing to Texas.
The Jayhawks' recent struggles overshadow some serious issues for Texas. Though Chris Beard’s first season with the Longhorns has certainly been successful (21-9 overall, 15th in KenPom), there have been internal issues with a collection of transfer players throughout the season. Center Tre Mitchell (8.7 points per game) recently left the program, and Minnesota-transfer Marcus Carr (11.2 points per game) has never reached his scoring expectations.
Texas ranks 16th overall in adjusted defensive efficiency - not surprising for a Beard-led team - but its individual defensive metrics aren't impressive. The Longhorns have allowed 32.8% from 3-point range and 48.6% from inside the arc in conference play. They're also middle of the Big 12 in defensive rebounding and a very surprising sixth in conference play in offensive rebounding, a usual Beard staple.
The Longhorns have struggled all year on offense, going long stretches without scoring. Texas ranks seventh in conference play in both 3-point and 2-point efficiency. In the previous matchup, Texas shot 53.8% from inside the arc and forced 15 Kansas turnovers. That's not repeatable on the road at Kansas with so much on the line.
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Over 137 (-110)
Kansas has scored 71 points or more in each of its last five home games, including a massive 102-point outburst against Kansas State. It also posted 83 points in a 24-point home blowout of Baylor. The Jayhawks have consistently been able to score at Allen Fieldhouse.The Jayhawks are 16-12-2 to the Over this year and host a Texas team that is an Over machine on the road in the Big 12. Despite their defensive focus, the Longhorns are 8-2 to the Over in conference road games this year. Texas has also hit five Overs in the last seven contests.
No one can stop Kansas from scoring at home, especially in this spot. This number has dropped from the opening of 140, and that's the wrong move. I’m taking the Over between these two familiar Big 12 foes.
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Texas-Kansas picks made 3/5/2022 at 11:06 a.m. ET.