by Zack Lambert
#6 Kansas at Oklahoma
Spread: Oklahoma (+6.5)
Time/Location: 9:00 ET, Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma
Kansas (12-3, 2-1)
14 games into the season there was very little for the Kansas Jayhawk camp to be worried about; they were 12-2 with the losses coming at a combined 3 points from Duke and Villanova. However, with a 12 point loss to the Baylor Bears might have shaken the confidence in starting a new Big 12 Championship run.
Kansas is very good in the most important statistical categories of all: points scored and points allowed. They rank 47th in PPG and 32nd in points allowed, both great ranks. They’re a very good shooting team and don’t need a lot of possessions to make an impact, but they might be susceptible to being figured out. Bill Self hasn’t needed to change anything ever and that might have to change as great coaches are able to unlock his team with more and more ease lately. They do score a lot and can really defend when they want to lock down, but college basketball players are too unreliable to depend on every single game, innovation and strategy are still necessary.
Oklahoma (11-4, 2-1)
Despite a good record to start the season, calling Oklahoma a middling team is not an insult nor is it a reach. They’re a very clean team, as any Lon Kruger team is, sitting 8th in turnovers and 6th in fouls. However, this team has a tough time shutting down their opponents. They allow 69.5 PPG which is 201st in the country and 9th in the Big 12. That will be a problem against a Kansas team who specializes in buckets.
What is good for the Sooners is that their pedigree of prolific scorers has carried over in a more shared fashion as 3 players are averaging over 14 points. Their best chance at keeping up with Kansas will be getting a high volume of shots up and relying on that great defense. If they can force someone other than Devon Dotson to beat them then they have a good chance at taking down their rivals.
Analysis and Pick
Don’t underestimate the Sooners! Oklahoma has the scorers to keep up with and maybe even beat Kansas tonight. They’re undefeated at home this season and they show up in big games. Both the offense and defense are middle of the road but the intense atmosphere and motivation to knock off a vulnerable Kansas team will be enough to keep it close. Take Oklahoma to cover the spread.
If Oklahoma is smart they won’t try to slow this game down. Kansas has too good of shooting and Azubuike is a pretty sure thing in the post. The best chance to take down the Jayhawks will be to outscore them and that’s what we all want to see. Both teams have good scorers and we should all expect to see a high scoring, high paced game. Take the over in this matchup.