NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Kansas completed one of the best comebacks of the season when they took down rival Missouri last Saturday. The Jayhawks kept their momentum going with a win at Oklahoma State on Monday. Texas has struggled through the season and they have really put themselves in a precarious position as far as the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns could really use a win here, but it won’t be easy at all at Allen Fieldhouse.
Texas lost a big chance to get a marquee win when they blew a ten point halftime lead against Baylor. This Longhorns team has shown glimpses of being pretty good at times, but they have also gone through plenty of stretches where they aren’t a bit impressive. J’Covan Brown leads the team with 19.5 points per game this year. Brown is one of the few veterans on this team. He shoots just 41.6% from the floor, but he knocks down 85% of his free throw attempts. Sheldon McClellan and Myck Kabongo are freshman guards who show tons of promise. The problem with their game right now is that they really don’t have an outside shot, so the opposition can pack the paint and keep them out of the lane.
The Longhorns really don’t have a low post scorer. Clint Chapman is a scrappy player who leads the team in rebounds and blocked shots, but he isn’t really a scorer. Texas gives up more than 70 points per game on the road. The Longhorns need to find a way to slow down Thomas Robinson in this one.
Thomas Robinson is one of the favorites for National Player of the Year. Robinson averages 17.8 points and 11.8 boards per game. He shoots 53% from the floor, and he seems to always come up with a big play when his team needs it most. Tyshawn Taylor hasn’t been a top scoring option in the past few years, but he has stepped up his offensive game in a big way this year. Taylor is scoring 17.1 points per game, and he shoots 44% from beyond the arc. Elijah Johnson and Travis Reliford are key players for this team as well. Both of them hustle all over the floor and come up with important plays in the clutch.
The strength of this Kansas team is really their defense. Jeff Withey is overlooked by many people, but he shouldn’t be. Withey is a tremendous shot blocker who makes this defense tick. Withey averages 3.2 blocks per game. In addition, Kansas has plenty of quickness on the outside, so getting to the basket is a tough chore against this group.
I don’t see Texas staying with Kansas here. The Longhorns are young and they’ll make far too many mistakes. Look for Kansas to win comfortably.
Prediction: Kansas 78 Texas 62
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