Providence vs. Kansas Odds, Picks & Predictions: NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Betting Preview (Friday, March 25)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Ed Cooley.
- The No. 4 seed Providence Friars take on the No. 1 seed Kansas Jayhawks in the 2022 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 on Friday, March 25.
- Kansas opened as an 8-point favorite, but that point spread has been bet down to Kansas -6.5 or -7 as we approach tipoff at 7:09 p.m. ET.
- College basketball betting analyst Tanner McGrath previews Friday's Sweet 16 matchup, including updated odds, plus his picks and predictions for Providence vs. Kansas.
Providence vs. Kansas Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Friars continue to get “lucky,” running their way to the Sweet 16 despite recording a ShotQuality loss in both tournament games so far.
But Kansas will be a different kind of challenge. The Jayhawks are filled with blue-chip talent, particularly on offense, and are on a seven-game win streak.
The Jayhawks didn’t look invincible against Creighton, leading by just one point with just over a minute left remaining.
So, can the Friars continue this “impossible” run and take advantage of the Jayhawks’ potential vulnerabilities?
So, Providence continues to get lucky. Right? Let’s analyze this team without the luck metrics.
In my opinion, Providence has offensive options. It has a bunch of gritty shot-makers who can create in crunch time, specifically in Nate Watson, Al Durham and Jared Bynum.
Those three have combined for 39.4 PPG this season — and they all have hit crunch-time shots at some point.
Jared Bynum with the dagger ❄️ @JBDimes3
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) February 24, 2022
Moreover, all three are nationally ranked in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. As a result, Providence is top-25 nationally in free-throw rate, consistently creating offense at the line when everything else stalls.
The Friars also take care of the ball and have been efficient in transition.
Put it all together, and it sounds like a team that can excel in close games.
Defensively, the Friars are great at the rim but get weaker toward the 3-point line. Providence finished the season 322nd in defensive turnover rate and second-to-last in the Big East. It’s not looking to pressure Remy Martin or Ochai Agbaji, and that could spell trouble.
The Providence front line can contain David McCormack, especially since McCormack has looked shaky in this tournament run. He managed just nine points against Texas Southern and only seven against Creighton.
Kansas is an elite offensive team.
It starts in the backcourt with Agbaji, Martin and Christian Braun, who have lit up box scores this season. But more importantly, the three push in transition.
Kansas gets out in transition at a top-50 rate nationally and is top-30 in efficiency when doing so (1.13 PPP).
In the half-court, the Jayhawks attack the rim. They aren’t super efficient finishing at the rim, but they’re top-20 nationally in post-up efficiency (1.019 PPP).
That starts with McCormack, but Mitch Lightfoot has scored 1.4 PPP in his post-up opportunities, good for ninth nationally.
The Jayhawks also crash the offensive boards, finishing top-30 nationally in ORB%. That also starts with McCormack, who is one of the few players nationally that could rival Oscar Tshiebwe on the boards.
That should be useful in limiting Providence’s second-chance points as well as creating instant transition offense.
Providence vs. Kansas Betting Pick
This line is just a tad high.
Our Action PRO Projections make Providence just a 5.5-point dog, and the Friars have already taken sharp money, pushing the line down from eight.
Providence will have to play in the half-court and avoid letting Kansas out in transition. But I trust Ed Cooley’s game plan here, as he’s one of the best coaches to back when catching points.
In his career, Cooley is 135-103-2 (56.7%) against the spread as an underdog. Shorten that to just 2014 — the first year he took his Friars to the NCAA Tournament — and Cooley is 71-47-1 (60.2%) ATS as an underdog, good for a 16.3% ROI.
So, expect Cooley and the gritty Providence shot-makers to hang around within a few possessions in the Sweet 16. It’ll be hard for Providence to advance in this spot, but we know how the Friars perform in close games.
Anything is possible in March.