College Basketball Prime Time Previewer Texas vs. Kansas Big 12 Tournament 3/14/19

Date | AuthorCorey Pabst

Last Updated: 2019-03-14

With the first round of the Big 12 Tournament officially getting underway last night, the field is now narrowed down to the final eight teams. Six of these teams will be playing their first postseason game tonight, including the two our featured Primetime game of the evening.

One of these teams, Kansas, has already punched its ticket to the Big Dance – looking right now at a potential three seed; while Texas is a team on the bubble, and could be on the outside looking in if they lay an egg tonight in Kansas City.

It’s time for some Quarterfinal basketball, and for those simply not satisfied with watching the action without a little action of their own, let’s breakdown the game from a betting perspective.

6 Texas (16-15, 8-10) vs. 3 Kansas (23-8, 12-6)
9:00 pm ET ESPN2

Open: Kansas – 2.5
Spread: Kansas – 2.5
Consensus: Kansas 70%

Situational Spots:

You’ll have to go back to 2006 to find the last time Kansas did not have a number one next to their name heading into the Quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Tournament; but the Jayhawks aren’t without a legitimate excuse for the down year – having lost two upperclassmen starters for the season.

In spite of it all, the Jayhawks closed out the season strongly; winning six out of their last eight games and wrapping things up on a high note on Saturday, with a 78-70 victory over Baylor (36th).

Tonight, Bill Self’s boys will not only look to solidify their position as a three seed, but avenge their loss @ Texas back on January 29th.

Texas is likely in do-or-die mode tonight, as early elimination could mean an early end to the season for Shaka Smart’s squad in his fourth season as Head Coach.

The Longhorns started off the season admirably, against the 36th most difficult non-conference schedule – coming up with huge wins over North Carolina (5th) and Purdue (10th). But once Big 12 play got underway, Texas fell flat, going 8-10, and only coming away with two wins away from home.

Coming into tonight’s matchup having lost four out of the last five games, they certainly didn’t close out the year with the kind of momentum for which Smart would’ve wished; but they do have one reason for new found hope they can make a run in the Big 12 Tournament, and that is the probable return of their offensive focal point, Sr. PG Kerwin Roach – who has missed the last five games.

Texas will be a dangerous foe for the Jayhawks – with the season on the line, and having beat Kansas already; expect an amped up Longhorn team, tonight.

Keys to the Matchup:

The first meeting, which Texas won 73-63, was played in late January, so the teams have evolved some; and Kansas, since that game, has lost starting Senior SF Lagerald Vick – leaving them lesser of a team than they were then.

Played in Texas, the game was an evenly fought affair, but the stats certainly pointed to a Texas win: with Kansas getting up one more shot attempt than Texas, but Texas getting to the line seven more times than Kansas and out-rebounding the Jayhawks by four, and Texas committing seven less fouls than Kansas.

The one stat that really told the story, however, was Texas free-throw shooting: with the Longhorns hitting 21 of 23 attempts (91%). This was obviously an outlier performance, for a team that shoots 71% (154th) from the line and is something to consider in looking at the outcome of the first meeting.

The fact that Texas generated 23 free-throw attempts was also off base with what the stats would’ve predicted, as Texas has been an offense (24th) that has struggled to get to the line (273rd), and Kansas has been a defense (15th) great at keeping its opponents off it (38th).

Both statistical outliers are reasons to expect a closer game tonight, especially in Kansas City.

Kansas is the better team and should have the advantage on both offense and defense. It’s also important to realize that the Jayhawks have played THE most difficult schedule in the entire country. One thing under considered in the number may be the fact that this game is played just over 40 mins away from Lawrence.

Situational Trends:

Texas is 7-3 ATS as an underdog
Texas is 7-3 ATS in their last 10

Kansas is 12-12 ATS as a favorite
Kansas is 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10

Market:

With oddsmakers opening Kansas -2.5, most of the early action has been on the Jayhawks, and the off-shore market is now undecided between 2.5 and three. BetOnline, Pinnacle, and Bovada are the three major books to have gone to three, with BetOnline and Pinnacle reducing the Kansas side.

Lean: Kansas – 2.5 -110

There are reasons to believe that Kansas may be a team slightly undervalued coming into this round two matchup with Texas in the Big 12 Tournament. If Kenpom predicts a two-point victory for the Jayhawks on a neutral, given the season-long statistics, then factoring in the location of that neutral site (Kansas City) may be under-considered. Kansas has been lights out at home, going undefeated against the most difficult schedule in the nation.

Expect Bill Self to have his team in Tournament form – as he usually does this time of year – and with the extra motivation, having lost to Texas already, Kansas should be able to cover such a short number against a very mediocre Texas team that has only won two games away from home all year.

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