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An interesting Big 12 battle here as the Oklahoma Sooners host the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas is back being one of college basketball's best teams and they enter this one ranked sixth in the latest AP poll, while Oklahoma sick that 11-4. Both teams are coming off losses. Oddsmakers have the Jayhawks as a modest Road favorite for this one, which will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Kansas Back On Top?It looks like Kansas is back to being a true blue blood program. Last year they were down a bit as they got destroyed by Auburn in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but they appear to have gotten a lot better. They enter this one with a 12-3 record and ranked sixth in the latest AP poll. All of that being said, it hasn't all been positive. I predicted that they would falter in their most recent game against Baylor, and that's exactly what happened. Playing at home against the Bears as a decent-sized favorite, they lost outright by 12 points. They had turnover issues once again, forcing only five while committing 14 of their own.
It's been an issue for them all season, as they enter this one averaging 14.2 turnovers per game even though they play at a relatively slow pace. It's not time to start panicking yet, but I'm not sure this team is as elite as people thought they were early on. Neither of their top two scorers can shoot the ball well from outside, which is going to be a problem for them moving forward. When they have had to face tough defenses who can protect the rim, things haven't always gone too well since they don't have enough shooters. One of their best players is senior big man Udoka Azubuike, but he is making a pitiful 39 percent of his free throws this season. That could haunt them down the stretch.
Oklahoma Solid So FarOklahoma is coming off a pretty solid season. They made the NCAA tournament as a 9 seed and absolutely smoked Ole Miss in the first round. This year they're back for more, and even though they no longer have a superstar like Trae Young or Buddy Hield, they're making it work. They enter this one at 11-4 and are in decent shape for another NCAA tournament bid. Senior forward Kristian Doolittle isn't quite like Young or Hield, but he is a star in his own right. He has taken a huge step forward in his final season of college eligibility and enters this one averaging 17.1 points to go along with 8.7 rebounds per game.
KRISTIAN. DOOLITTLE.— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) December 6, 2019
Doo knocks down the go-ahead trey with 13.5 seconds to play.
He's up to 2️⃣8️⃣ points. pic.twitter.com/DdR0jR0blu
The Sooners did fall in their most recent game, but that was on the road against a very tough Iowa State team. Right before that, they'd been playing really well, winning four straight games. In that four-game stretch, they beat Texas on the road by double digits, Kansas State, and UCF. They are still undefeated at home this season and had some pretty impressive wins earlier in the year when they beat Minnesota and Missouri on neutral courts. This is a very experienced team, as each of their top three scorers are upperclassmen. That experience has paid dividends, as they have been an extremely disciplined team so far. Despite playing at a very fast pace they are only turning it over 10.8 times per game, and they are connecting on 76.9 percent of their free throws. That stands in stark contrast to Kansas, who has been a disappointment in both of those departments.
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com: Sooners are:
- 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 Tuesday games
- 5-13 ATS in their last 18 road games
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Tuesday games
- 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games as a road favorite
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Sooners a lot here as a home underdog. I think the Jayhawks are pretty overrated, and they showed that when they got exposed by Baylor in their most recent game. They're also just 5-13 against the spread in their last 18 road games. The Sooners are more disciplined with the ball as well as the better free-throw shooting team. Kansas doesn't have enough spacing on offense, and they are sloppy with the ball. Not only are the Sooners going to cover the spread, they might win this game outright.
Full-Game Total Pick
I think the under also makes a lot of sense in this spot. Kansas plays at a pretty slow pace, and neither of these teams can shoot the ball from downtown. Kansas is a pretty bad free throw shooting team, and the under is a perfect 5-0 in their last five games. The under is 4-1 in Oklahoma's last five, and I've been impressed with what I've seen from their defense recently. They held a solid UCF team to only 52 points a handful of games ago, and I think they'll be able to protect the rim against Kansas.