NCAAB Betting Guide for Texas vs Kansas

NCAAB Betting Guide for Texas vs Kansas article feature image

Pictured: Jalen Wilson #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Texas vs Kansas Odds

Monday, Feb. 6
9 p.m. ET
Texas Odds
-110o / -110u
Kansas Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

In order to keep pace with Texas in the Big 12, Kansas will certainly need to hold serve Monday night on its home court. Meanwhile, a Texas win would be a resounding statement to the rest of the league that the Longhorns are just fine without Chris Beard.

Here is my pick and preview for this enormous Big 12 battle.

Texas Longhorns

Given the off-court adversity Texas has faced this year, many anticipated the Longhorns would regress in the demanding Big 12. Instead, coach Rodney Terry has been able to rally his team to meet, or even exceed, preseason expectations. Texas, at 8-2, has the outright lead in the Big 12 over second place Iowa St. (7-3).

The Longhorns responded admirably to a road loss at Tennessee by logging victories against Baylor and Kansas St. last week. Their performances last week are worth mentioning to provide context to the level of desperation they are feeling going into Monday.

College athletes unavoidably seem to exert more energy and avoid flat efforts when the situation dictates their best effort. An emotional comeback victory against Kansas St. required a lot of energy to maintain their first place standing. Any game at Allen Fieldhouse is likely to get the attention of the visitor. However, the indicators would imply this is a Longhorn team much more "fat and happy" than Kansas.

Still, Texas is fully capable of overcoming the unfavorable spot. Should the Longhorns win, the victory will likely be a product of a strong defensive effort.

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Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas has struggled to find a secondary offensive option repeatedly this season. The tendency has been for Kansas to depend solely on Jalen Wilson to overcome stale offense. If he fails to make tough shots, scoring droughts often arise. Aside from Kansas' overtime loss to Kansas St., every defeat the Jayhawks have suffered has been to a stellar defensive team.

To figure out if the Jayhawks will continue to search for offense Monday, I had to ask myself one question: How impressive and reliable is the Longhorns defense?

Texas has been wildly inconsistent in guarding its opponents this season. Perhaps that shouldn't be surprising given the coaching uncertainty surrounding the program this year. On the positive side, Texas held Gonzaga to 74, Creighton to 67, Oklahoma St. to 46, West Virginia to 61 and Kansas St. to 66 points in victories. However, the Longhorns have also conceded 81 points to Rice, 116 points to Kansas St. at home and 81 to a Tennessee team not known for its scoring prowess.

It seems more likely Texas will have a lazy defensive effort than one of its best. Kansas is more apt to speed its opponents up at home, enabling them to score in transition. When KJ Adams is playing the five for Kansas, the Jayhawks are happy to get out and run with four capable ball handlers. Bill Self will encourage his team to push tempo against Texas, knowing scoring via half-court sets will be much more strenuous.

Coach Self's message to his team has consistently been about their own defensive effort. Even when his team's ailments appear to have more to do with offensive output, Self preaches focusing on the right things. The right things, in his opinion, are guarding, rebounding and out-hustling the opposition.

Easy offensive opportunities are often a product of focusing on the aforementioned right things. Expect Kansas to be energetic defensively, early and often, with a focus on translating that defensive energy into transition scoring opportunities.

Texas vs. Kansas Betting Pick

Texas has certainly proven to be more trustworthy when looking at a sample size of just '22-'23.

However, a larger sample size of Self's tenure would indicate this is the ultimate spot to back Kansas. The Jayhawks are phenomenal off a loss under Self, incredible at home and facing a team off a taxing comeback win. Texas has only about 48 hours to rest before gearing up for the most difficult road environment in the Big 12.

I trust Kansas to be the hungrier team in this game, with the additional benefit of a massive coaching advantage. I was close to taking Kansas 1st half -2 and trusting the energy I expect the Jayhawks to showcase from the tip. But, I like the full game -3 a little more given the advantages I think Kansas has at home in late-game situations.

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Nick Sterling
May 26, 2024 UTC