NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Missouri and Kansas won’t meet again anytime soon since Missouri is leaving the Big 12 Conference. The Tigers won a great game between these two earlier this year, but now they must travel to Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas navigated its way through a tricky game at Texas A&M this week, but Missouri stumbled at home to Kansas State. Expect both teams to be fired up and ready to go in this one. Emotions will be running as high as ever and the raucous crowd should create an awesome environment for basketball.
Missouri is 25-3 on the season, and the Tigers are 6-2 on the road. Frank Haith has done a terrific job with this team. He wasn’t a popular hire initially, but no doubt the Missouri faithful have warmed up to him as this team has outperformed expectations this year. The Tigers might have been overlooking Kansas State a bit earlier this week, and it definitely cost them. Now, they must refocus and pick up a win in the toughest building in the Big 12.
Marcus Denmon may have started the season slowly, but he has been on fire of late. Denmon has scored at least 14 points in 11 of the Tigers last 12 games. Denmon shoots 40% from beyond the arc and 90% from the charity stripe. Kim English shot just 36.6% from the floor last year, but he is up above 50% this season. English is knocking down an amazing 46% from three-point range. Phil Pressey has 169 assists already this year, and his penetration gets a lot of open shots for his teammates. The Tigers are thin down low, but Ricardo Ratcliffe is a great competitor and he is shooting 71% from the floor.
Kansas is led by Thomas Robinson, who is one of the favorites for National Player of the Year. Robinson averages 17.4 points and 11.9 boards per game. He is a powerful force in the post, and he has really stepped up as a team leader this year. Jeff Withey doesn’t get nearly as much credit as he deserves. Withey has scored in double figures in 8 of the team’s last 10 games. He didn’t score a single point in the first meeting between these two teams, so the Jayhawks need more out of him this time. Tyshawn Taylor is the backcourt leader for Kansas. Taylor averages 16.5 points per game, and he is shooting 43% from beyond the arc.
The Jayhawks have surprised some people this year, and I think that is largely thanks to their terrific defense. Withey is one of the best shot blockers in the nation. He has 96 blocks already this year. Kansas almost always wins the rebounding battle, and the Jayhawks don’t give their opponents hardly any second chances.
Kansas will want this one in a big one, and I think they’ll have the edge because of their home crowd. The Jayhawks frontcourt should help them win this one.
Prediction: Kansas 75 Missouri 68
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