College Basketball Odds & Pick for Oklahoma vs. Kansas: Back Sooners With Jayhawks’ McCormack Out (Thursday, March 11)
William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Oklahoma Sooners standout Jalen Hill, right, drives to the basket.
- Oklahoma takes on Kansas in Big 12 tournament action Thursday, with the teams splitting the first two games this season.
- The Jayhawks could be up against it, with star David McCormack sidelined due to the COVID-19 protocols.
- See why Brad Cunningham thinks Oklahoma is a live underdog in this latest showdown below.
Oklahoma vs. Kansas Odds
Kansas enters the Big 12 tournament shorthanded, as it tries to defeat Oklahoma for the second time this season.
The huge news out Lawrence this week is that David McCormack, one of the Jayhawks’ best players, is going to miss the tournament due to COVID-19 protocols. Teammate Tristan Enaruna will be sidelined as well.
KU coach Bill Self announces center David McCormack and Tristan Enaruna were put in COVID-19 protocol recently. They won't be available through Big 12 Tournament. Self hopes to have them back for NCAA Tournament.
— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) March 9, 2021
It’s hard to understate just how much McCormack means to this Kansas squad, so the Jayhawks’ chances of winning the Big 12 tournament take a significant blow with him being out.
Oklahoma squeaked by Iowa State in the first round with a 79-73 victory. The Sooners finished the regular season in horrific fashion, losing four consecutive games. Then, they only beat a 2-23 Iowa State squad by six points, which won’t give Oklahoma fans much optimism.
However, beating Kansas two out of three times this season, would definitely help improve Oklahoma’s seeding in the NCAA tournament.
When Oklahoma has the ball
Oklahoma’s offense has also been pretty average, putting up 1.04 points per possession during the Big 12 regular season. Most of Oklahoma’s scoring comes inside, as it’s shooting almost 51% from 2-point range and more than 61% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
Kansas has the best interior defense in the Big 12, but a lot of that has to do with McCormack’s presence in the lane.
Two of Oklahoma’s best players — Jalen Hill and Brady Manek — had to miss the first game against Kansas and its offense suffered, putting up only 59 points and 38.3% from the field. However, they completely flipped the script in the second meeting, scoring 75 points and earning 1.09 points per possession.
Kansas is one of the best defensive teams in the country, ranking seventh in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. However, without McCormack inside, Oklahoma should be able to dominate Kansas in the paint.
When Kansas has the ball
Statistically, the Jayhawks’ offense is very similar to Oklahoma, as it’s averaging 1.04 points per possession. Similar to Oklahoma as well, most of its scoring comes from inside, as its shooting a dismal 32.3% from 3-point range during conference play.
However, the Sooners are shooting better than 50% from inside the arc and 58.8% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math. However, a lot of that has come via McCormack, who is averaging 13.4 points and 50% from the field.
Offensively, Kansas really struggled in both meetings with Oklahoma this season. The Jayhawks failed to score more than 70 points in both contests, also failing to average over 1.00 points per possession.
The biggest problem for the Jayhawks was on the offensive glass. They grabbed a total of eight offensive rebounds between the two contests, which is a problem when you shoot a low percentage from the field.
Oklahoma’s defense is really average in Big 12 terms, ranking 54th nationally in defensive efficiency, but it has shown they can shut down Kansas’ offense and without McCormack, things are only going be more difficult.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The loss of McCormack is going to be greatly felt at both ends of the floor, one I don’t think Kansas will be able to overcome. The Jayhawks don’t have enough offensive fire power without him and his presence defensively cannot be overstated.
Based on my projection, McCormack is worth 2.09 points to the spread.
I only have Kansas projected as a -1.20 favorite with McCormack out, so I think there is some value on the Sooners to win outright at +120 odds.
Pick: Oklahoma +120