Kansas vs. Texas College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Longhorns to Dictate Pace? (Monday, February 7)
Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew Jones (Texas)
- Kansas is coming off of a monster win against Baylor over the weekend, and now must travel to Austin to take on the Longhorns.
- Marcus Carr and Andrew Jones will be critical if Texas wants to protect home court.
- Doug Ziefel explains why he's eyeing the total in this Big 12 affair.
Kansas vs. Texas Odds
-106o / -114u
-106o / -114u
After taking control of the conference on Saturday, the Kansas Jayhawks will have little time to rest on their laurels, which could hamper them here.
Waiting for them will be the Texas Longhorns, who are fresh off of a home victory over a team Kansas knows all too well, the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Jayhawks added a massive notch to their belt, as they steamrolled the Baylor Bears. It was a thorough beating, as Kansas went on a massive run from the opening tip, and put the nail in the coffin early on.
Their huge run was sparked by a fantastic defensive performance, perhaps the Jayhawks' best of the season.
Aiding that performance was the offensive spark they got from their leading scorer, Ochai Agbaji, who returned to the lineup from COVID procotols.
The win created momentum, but carrying it over into this matchup will be no easy task.
Fresh off their win against Iowa State, the Texas Longhorns are looking to heat up down the stretch, as a regular-season conference title is well within reach. They currently sit just 2.5 games out of first, and this matchup begins a stretch that consists of them playing five games against teams that are ahead of them in the standings.
A win here will do wonders for both their regular season and postseason outlook.
The Longhorns will be in a great spot to get the job done, but that isn't quite the best betting angle here. So, let's dive deeper to find out how we should be capping this game.
Jayhawks Will Need to Work the Ball Inside
Coming off of a game in which their guards — Christian Braun and Agbaji — led the way with their perimeter shooting, the plan of attack against this Texas defense will need to be much different.
The Longhorns are ninth-best in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, and that ranking is well deserved after what they did to Iowa State.
Texas shut Iowa State down, as the Longhorns held the Cyclones to 43 points. The main reason why this happened is the Cyclones lack a sizeable inside presence to get higher percentage looks and grab boards.
Well, in steps David McCormack for Kansas.
The veteran big man has seen inconsistent minutes this season, but has been ultra-productive when on the floor.
McCormack's stats are not all that glamorous, as he averages nine points and seven rebounds per game. However, he makes his presence felt in one particular way: he's leading the country in offensive rebounding percentage.
If there's one thing the Longhorns don't do well, it's defensive rebound. Texas is 217th in defensive rebounding percentage.
It will also be advantageous for the Jayhawks to feed McCormack down low, as he will be the biggest man on the court. Not only is his size a factor in his scoring potential for this matchup, but the way Texas defends is, as well.
The Longhorns do an excellent job of defending without fouling, as they have the lowest free throw rate allowed in the country. But they don't reject a lot of shots.
McCormack is a crafty big man. He has a strong arsenal of moves on the low block that could lead to many high-percentage buckets for this Jayhawks offense.
Yes, Agbaji will factor heavily into this game, but he will need to do more work without the ball to get open shots. Texas has tremendous on-ball defense and is always in passing lanes (sixth in steals). So, if Kansas wants to have a more consistent offense, it will need to work for more high-percentage looks.
Longhorns' Backcourt to Be the Difference
Timmy Allen may be Texas' leading scorer, but this team is only dynamic offensively when its guards get involved.
Take the Longhorns' last game against Iowa State, for example. The Cyclones are a very stout defensive team, but the play of Marcus Carr and Andrew Jones proved to be the X-factor.
Their roles should be similar here, as Allen and Tre Mitchell will have to deal with McCormack in the paint. Both Carr and Jones can stretch the floor and drive inside off of the pick-and-roll.
While Kansas is coming off of a stellar defensive performance, it's an outlier to how it has performed throughout the season. In their three losses, the Jayhawks have proven to be susceptible to both mid-range and outside shots, which is exactly where Jones and Carr work from.
It took a big effort to disrupt Baylor's shooting on Saturday, and it's unlikely that the Jayhawks will be able to replicate it in this one.
Kansas vs. Texas Betting Pick
There are two substantial external factors in this matchup.
The first is the pace that Texas plays with. The Longhorns are 309th in average offensive possession length, but more importantly, they are 348th in opponent offensive possession length.
Not only do they take time off of the clock while they have the ball, they stifle their opponents into long and uneventful possessions.
Lastly, this is a letdown spot for the Jayhawks. They just had an enormous performance to defeat Baylor, and now, just two days later, they're on the road against a formidable team.
I expect them to look sluggish in the early going. For those reasons, I am taking the under in this matchup.