Top-Seeded Jayhawks Poised to Pound Penn in Midwest Opener

Swinging Johnson

Monday, March 12, 2018 7:00 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 12, 2018 7:00 PM UTC

Top seed Kanas draws No. 16 Penn in this Midwest regional opener Thursday afternoon. Let’s analyze this David vs. Goliath matchup and cash a ticket in our college basketball picks.

No. 16 Pennsylvania (24-8 SU, 12-14 ATS) vs. No. 1 Kansas (27-7 SU, 18-14 ATS)Free NCAAB Pick: KansasBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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  • Kansas is 6-2 ATS in their last eight Thursday games.
  • Kansas is 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
  • Kansas is 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite of 13.0 or greater.
  • Pennsylvania is 1-5 ATS in their last six NCAA Tournament games as an underdog.
  • Pennsylvania is 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning percentage above .600.
  • Pennsylvania is 4-10-1 ATS in their last 15 games as an underdog.

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⚡️ Big 12 Champs. National Champ. All Americans. Big Wins. ➡️ More from one epic weekend for Jayhawk Nation #RockChalk

— Kansas Jayhawks (@KUAthletics) March 12, 2018

The Kansas Jayhawks ended with the best regular-season record in the Big 12 and punctuated that success with an 81-70 win over West Virginia in the conference championship game as 1½-point neutral-site underdogs. This may not be the finest iteration of the Kansas basketball program but aside from a disastrous loss to Washington early in the season, they’ve caught fire down the stretch winning eight of their last nine and covering the number in five of those.

Ivy League champ Penn comes into this one fresh off a 68-65 conference championship win over Harvard as three-point favorites. The Quakers are a team rooted in solid fundamentals, doing everything well but nothing exceptional. They played only one ranked team this season and got slaughtered 90-62 by then-No. 4 Villanova. This looks like an eerily similar matchup as they go from a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond.

I’m not quite sure how Penn will stop a silky smooth passing team like the Jayhawks and the triumvirate of Devonte Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, and the recently returning big man Udoka Azubuike, sidelined over the last three games due to a sprained MCL but expected back. The Quakers have neither the depth nor the talent to compete with a team like Kansas, and the notion that their defense can slow down this Kansas offense is speculative at best. Over Kansas’ last eight victories it has averaged over 83 points per game against a much classier caliber of team than that of the one they will be facing Thursday.

A No. 16 seed has never defeated a No. 1 seed, and we suspect that trend will continue here. However, this isn’t about winning and losing, it’s all about covering the NCAA basketball odds and even though the number is high we see little reason why the Jayhawks won’t win this one by 20 or more. Get chalky and back the Jayhawks in your NCAA basketball picks.

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