Memphis Tigers vs. Kansas Jayhawks Preview and Pick
(7-0, 2-4 ATS)
(7-0, 3-2 ATS)
It was only two years ago that the Kansas Jayhawks and Memphis Tigers squared off in one of the most epic NCAA Tournament finales in the history of the sport. Now, the two will renew ties at the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in one of the premier college basketball betting affairs of the day.
Even though Memphis is only a 2-4 ATS team, we definitely have to give it up to the Tigers considering the fact that they were left home from the NCAA Tournament last year. There won’t be such luck for the rest of Conference USA this year, and there will be no doubt that these guys will be dancing with a high seed this March if this keeps up. Trying to stop Memphis has been virtually impossible this year for most foes. Everyone has let it score at least 70 points, and it has averaged the ninth most points in the nation at 85.3 points per game. It’s time for F Wesley Witherspoon to really shine for the Tigers. He’s one of the few holdovers from that team that went to the NCAA final two years ago, and though he is putting up the best numbers of his career, he had his worst game of the season in a 77-61 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers over the weekend, scoring just seven points and pulling in six rebounds. Still, Witherspoon is the team’s leading scorer at 13.7 points per game. The man that is really making this offense go right now is little 6’0″ G Joe Jackson, who is the team’s second leading scorer at 12.1 points per game. He has four straight outings in double digits in scoring.
When you’re talking about the standard of offense though in the country, you have to talk about the Jayhawks. They are averaging 89.9 points per game this year, good enough for No. 3 in the land, and they are shooting an amazing 56.9 percent from the field as a team and 40.3 percent from beyond the arc. HC Bill Self is going to get a great feel for how good his team really is on Tuesday night, as Kansas really hasn’t gotten tested all that much this season by top tier foes. The only two teams from power conferences that the Jayhawks have faced have been the UCLA Bruins and the Arizona Wildcats. The Cats hung in there every step of the way before getting downed 87-79, while UCLA had the hosts dead to rights at Allen Fieldhouse last Thursday night before letting the Jayhawks off the hook 77-76. Watch closely for F Marcus Morris in this one. The junior averaged 7.4 points per game in the NCAA Championship run in 2008-09, and he has been amazing this season, scoring a team high 18.6 points per game.
This is a big, big point spread that the Jayhawks are facing, and we aren’t so sure that it is justified. This is the deepest team they have gone up against all season long, and especially on a neutral court, and certainly after losses in back to back seasons, the Tigers aren’t going to want to hear “Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU” any longer.
NCAA Basketball Free Pick: Memphis Tigers +12.5
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