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The Kansas Jayhawks host the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in what could be a tighter contest than expected. KU has already been tested at home against a mid-major, topping UNC Greensboro 74-62 on Nov. 9. ETSU should provide an even greater challenge. The Buccaneers are ranked 68th on KenPom (UNCG is 102nd), above traditional powers like Georgetown and UConn. The Buccaneers are coming off a 61-58 win over Winthrop.
Jayhawks coach Bill Self will make sure his team doesn't sleep on ETSU, who was picked to finish first in the Southern Conference just ahead of UNCG. KU is ranked in the top five of both national polls, but KenPom's analytics put the Jayhawks a little further down the list at No. 9. Sophomore guard Devon Dotson leads the team in scoring with 18.7 points per game. ETSU returns four starters from a 24-win team including leading scorer, guard Bo Hodges (15.3 ppg).
ETSU goes for signature winThe East Tennessee Buccaneers are a team that probably won't enter the national consciousness until March, and that's only if they make the NCAA Tournament. For close followers of college basketball, though, ETSU and its roster should become pretty familiar as the year goes on. Head coach Steve Forbes has taken the broken to the postseason three times in his first four years in Johnson City, and this could be his best team yet.
Four starters return from a year ago including three preseason All-Southern Conference Team selections. Redshirt senior forward Jeromy Rodriguez averaged a double-double last season (11.2 points, 10.9 rebounds/g) and gives the Buccaneers a force on the wing. Sophomore guard Daivien Williamson shot nearly 40% from behind the arc last season, while junior guard Bo Hodges paces the team in points this year.
The updated @collegeinsider Mid-Major Top-25 Poll has been released and the Bucs have moved up to #2 following the 61-58 win over Winthrop last Thursday en route to moving to 3-0 on the season #ETSUTough pic.twitter.com/8hKqD2IPPp— ETSU Mens Basketball (@ETSU_MBB) November 19, 2019
KenPom rates ETSU's offensive efficiency 51st in the country. second among mid-majors after Belmont. The Buccaneers showed off some of that potential in a 92-75 win over UT Martin on Saturday night. Junior guard Patrick Good scored 24 points off the bench including seven 3-pointers. Senior center Lucas N'Guessan gives ETSU plenty of size with a seven-foot frame.
Kansas looks to avoid scareThe Kansas Jayhawks didn't go easy with non-conference scheduling this year, and it'll likely pay dividends when March rolls around. KU needed until the second half to pull away from North Carolina Greensboro last weekend and should be challenged by ETSU as well. The Jayhawks head into Tuesday coming off a 112-57 victory over Monmouth in which six players reached double digits in points. Even with highly touted freshman forward Jalen Wilson out with an injury and returning forward Mitch Lightfoot using this season to redshirt, Bill Self has a copious amount of depth at his disposal.
Look for the Jayhawks to turn to shooting guard Isaiah Moss often to combat ETSU's own strong guard play. A grad transfer from Iowa, Moss gives KU an elite 3-point shooter. He ranked fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting last year (41.2 percent). Moss missed the Duke game which may have swayed the final result in the Blue Devils' favor. He's part of a loaded backcourt rotation that includes leading scorer Devon Dotson, Ochai Agabji and Marcus Garrett.
The national rankings are in 👀👇 pic.twitter.com/x7RvUPKMua— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) November 18, 2019
As ESPN's Myron Medcalf pointed out in a Monday article, the Jayhawks do have to be concerned over their ability to handle the ball, especially when they go big. KU's 27 turnovers against Duke were a big undoing in its eventual loss. Power forward seems to be the Jayhawks' biggest point of weakness. Neither David McCormack or Silvio De Sousa saw a ton of action as freshmen.
- Jayhawks are 5-0 ATS in their last five after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Jayhawks are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 home games.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on covers.com, are:
- Buccaneers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Buccaneers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
- Buccaneers are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following an ATS loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Kansas Jayhawks have a ton of scoring options and at least a couple of them are inevitably going to get hot on almost any given night. East Tennessee State is less gifted with scorers -- only two players cracked double digits in a 61-58 win over Winthrop on Thursday night. What makes me so confident about KU here is that the Jayhawks have already faced another top Southern Conference opponent, UNC Greensboro, who they beat 74-62. KU won't be caught off guard again.
Prediction: Kansas Jayhawks -14
Full-Game Total Pick
This has the makings of a fairly high scoring game. Neither Kansas or East Tennessee State play at an especially fast tempo, but both teams are led by high-scoring guards willing to sacrifice a few missed shots for more points. KU's Devon Dotson is proving himself to be one of the top scorers in the nation, and ETSU's Bo Hodges is more than capable of going off for 20 or more. Expect a fun, up=and-down game resulting in the over.
Prediction: Over 143