NCAAB Betting Preview for Texas vs Kansas
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Carr (Texas)
Texas vs Kansas Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Big 12 Tournament finished with little surprises, as the finals are set with Kansas and Texas meeting for the third time this season.
The Jayhawks made light work of Iowa State en route to a double-digit win, while Texas and TCU battled in a low-scoring rock fight. The Longhorns eventually pulled away from the Frogs on the back of Dylan Disu and Christian Bishop’s combined 30 points.
Here’s how to bet the championship bout as Kansas looks to win both the regular-season and tournament titles.
Despite losing Timmy Allen to a leg injury — his status remains in question ahead of the championship — Texas handily took down Oklahoma State before winning the season series against TCU.
A season that could’ve spiraled out of control was steadied by the hand of Rodney Terry. The Longhorns lost then-head coach Chris Beard after he parted ways with the team due to off-court issues and yet, Texas finished as the second-best team in the Big 12
Texas’ offense is predicated on forcing the ball inside. It often comes via off-screen movement and mid-range jumpers with Marcus Carr as the primary ball handler.
This is one of the most experienced teams in the country (6th), and that veteran leadership shows with a low turnover rate and a near-60% A/FGM.
The biggest contributions to this Longhorns offense have come via the transfer portal. Both Tyrese Hunter (Iowa State) and Sir’Jabari Rice (New Mexico State) solidify a talented Texas backcourt and can shoot the 3 at a consistent rate.
Hunter’s numbers have drastically increased as the season progressed and has seen a 7% jump from his freshman campaign in Ames. Rice and Carr also provide steady shooting from 3 at 37.5 and 36.2%, respectively.
Though as mentioned earlier, Texas’ offense is best from inside. It’s 55th in 2-point% and Disu — when not in foul trouble — has provided a huge boost on the interior. He averages 1.4 blocks per game.
Texas is one of the few teams with a top-20 offense and defense, per KenPom. Like TCU, the Longhorns are athletic and disruptive. On-ball pressure is a constant, and they force turnovers at a top-20 rate.
They’re the third-most efficient team in transition and rank 20th at defending finishes at the rim despite their occasional lack of size. As expected, their defensive aggression can lead to foul trouble and their extended pressure on the perimeter results in defensive rebounding struggles.
But as a whole, this is a tough defense to break. Turnovers often lead to transition opportunities and Texas thrives in the run-and-gun style of play. The Longhorns are one of the most well-rounded teams in the entire country and should be seen as such.
Once again, Kansas finds itself in familiar territory. The Jayhawks have returned to the Big 12 Tournament Championship looking for their second straight title.
This time, it’ll be without head coach Bill Self, who is dealing with a medical issue.
Despite losing five of its seven rotational players from a season ago, Kansas hasn’t missed a beat. Jalen Wilson has finally taken that expected step forward and is the star of the offense, while freshman Gradey Dick provides stability from the perimeter and a much-needed second scoring threat.
Kansas’ offense runs primarily through the pick-and-roll — sixth-most in college hoops — whether it’s with Dajuan Harris Jr. and Wilson, or big man K.J. Adams Jr. Self emphasizes attacking the rim, and that’s exactly what the Jayhawks do on over 40% of shots.
The PnR also opens up opportunities on the perimeter for Wilson, Dick, Kevin McCullar Jr., etc.
This is a team that thrives in transition and is extremely athletic and capable of finishing through contact. Their shooting isn’t consistent aside from Dick and Harris, the lone two that shoot above 34% from 3 (both shooting 41.2%).
Where this Jayhawks team separates itself is from a defensive perspective. Kansas is the eighth-ranked defense, per KenPom, and ranks around the top 50 mark in both 2-point and 3-point defense.
The Jayhawks are best around the perimeter, but Adams and Ernest Udeh Jr. have provided steady minutes and contributions around the rim, too.
McCullar has been the ultimate boost to this defense. The Texas Tech transfer ranks inside the top five in defensive rebounding and is seventh in steal rate during Big 12 play. Harris is sixth in steal rate.
Kansas’ defensive aggression can lead to foul trouble, especially for its frontcourt. But the Jayhawks can run a five-man, small-ball lineup with 6-foot-8 Wilson at the five.
There are few teams as well-rounded as Kansas. Once they hit their stride in late January, the Jayhawks haven’t looked back. They’re 10-2 over the last 12, and one of those losses came against Texas in a meaningless game with the Big 12 title already wrapped up.
Texas vs. Kansas Betting Pick
This has been a pretty even series this season, but I think the edge lies with the underdog Longhorns here.
Kansas has depth issues and Texas’ frontcourt has been playing much better of late. The Longhorns should be able to attack the rim consistently and find success.
Texas doesn’t have many defensive issues that Kansas can take advantage of. The Longhorns can switch on defense and force a lot of turnovers, and can compete with KU in transition.
Given Texas’ form and its hot shooting from Hunter and Rice, I trust the Longhorns here. They’re a veteran squad vying for a tournament championship, especially after coming up short in the regular season to Kansas.
Even without Allen, Texas hasn’t missed a beat. It’s looked like the best team in the conference.
Pick: Texas +1.5 (Play to PK)
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