Kansas vs. Northeastern Betting Guide: Are Jayhawks Ripe for 2019 NCAA Tournament Upset?

Kansas vs. Northeastern Betting Guide: Are Jayhawks Ripe for 2019 NCAA Tournament Upset? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kansas forward
Dedric Lawson, Northeastern guard Jordan Roland

NCAA Tournament Betting Odds for #4 Kansas vs. #13 Northeastern 

  • Spread: Kansas -6.5
  • Over/Under: 143.5
  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: TNT
  • Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

>> All odds as of Wednesday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

Since the bracket expanded in 1985, Northeastern hasn’t won a single NCAA Tournament game (0-5). The Huskies will search for that elusive victory against an opponent with 22 Sweet 16 appearances and two national titles over that same span.

There’s no questioning which team wins the pedigree battle, but what about Thursday’s matchup? There are a few reasons the Huskies can be optimistic about ending that drought against Kansas.

If Only…

… Kansas had Udoka Azubuike.

Not only do I think the Jayhawks would be a legit national title contender with Azubuike, but he would be key in this particular game.

Defense is not Northeastern’s strength — although the Huskies did get their best on-ball defender (Shawn Occeus) back recently, which helps. However, this Northeastern team really struggles to defend the rim. The Huskies rank 271st in 2-point defense and 325th in block percentage, per KenPom. They also sit in the 20th-percentile nationally in post-up defense, per Synergy.

Dedric Lawson should have a huge day down low and fill up the box score for Bill Self.

Northeastern’s Offense Is Art

Northeastern runs one of the most beautiful and efficient offenses in the country. The Huskies score at a clip of 1.028 points per possession, per Synergy — one of the five best rates of the entire NCAA Tournament field.

It all starts with point guard Vasa Pusica, who runs the show for Bill Coen’s squad.

Pusica has excellent court vision and is one of the best facilitators you will watch this weekend. He’s also a more-than-capable scorer when he needs to be, as he showed in the CAA Tournament final when he hit seven 3s to lead the Huskies to that title.

However, it’s not just Pusica. Northeastern has a lineup filled with high-level shooters and capable passers. The Huskies take a ton of 3s and make a ton of 3’s since they generally get great looks as a result of terrific ball movement.

A top-25 ranking in both 3-point attempt rate and 3-point shooting percentage is a dangerous combination.

The Pick

The Northeastern offense should give the Kansas defense fits, especially since the Jayhawks allow a ton of good looks from 3 with how Self plays ball screens. The Huskies have the perfect point guard and plenty of shooters to capitalize.

You should be able to grab a key +7 at some point, so I’d wait it out if you don’t see one as of reading this. I grabbed +8.5 on the open and will be sprinkling a little on the moneyline in addition to moving Northeastern on in my bracket.

I also think both offenses match up well with the opposing defenses, so I would look very hard at the over 143.

Stuckey’s pick: Northeastern Moneyline +245

Our Projected Odds for #4 Kansas vs. #13 Northeastern

Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Kansas -11
  • Total: 142.5
  • Proj Score: Kansas 77 | Northeastern 66
  • Win Probability: Kansas 86.3% | Northeastern 13.7%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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