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Fresh off a victory, UNC Greensboro knows the challenging awaiting them on Friday will be far more difficult when they travel to face the Kansas Jayhawks.
The Jayhawks are searching for their first victory on the season after losing to Duke in the season-opener 68-66. Meanwhile, the Spartans won the Battle of the Boro as they defeated North Carolina A&T 83-50.
This Friday's game tips at 9 p.m. EST at Allen Fieldhouse. It airs on ESPNU.
The Spartans hope to use their versatility to winTheir win over North Carolina A&T showed several things: One, the Spartans have a roster loaded with depth. Every player who entered the game scored at least three points. Moreover, their defense can force turnovers. The Spartans' defense applied plenty of pressure to force 19 turnovers.
The defense is going to be the deciding factor in whether the Spartans can hang with the Jayhawks. Given UNC Greensboro's ability to play aggressively, this might sway to their advantage. In Kansas' opener, they committed 27 turnovers, including 18 in the first half. Granted, Duke is on another level, but it also shows the Spartans could have success if they maintain the intensity all game.
Offensively, the Spartans must rely on players like Kaleb Hunter and Isaiah Miller to have big games against a Kansas' defense that's big and physical. If UNC Greensboro can force turnovers, it'll create opportunities for easy scores in the transition games. And this could give them a shot.
Kansas must protect the ballKansas had 27 turnovers and still had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds against one of the nation's best teams. That speaks volumes for the talent this team has. And keep in mind they're missing potentially their best three-point shooter Isaiah Moss, who's been missing time with a hamstring injury.
Time to lock in 🔒 pic.twitter.com/YAbjdRedEx— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) November 5, 2019
Moving forward, the biggest area of improvement is protecting the ball. And while the Spartans don't have the athletes top to bottom the way Duke does, they employ a high-pressure defensive attack that's capable of producing turnovers in bunches. Therefore, guard play is essential to the Jayhawks' success.
And if they don't protect the ball, it applies much pressure to their defense to get back quickly to thwart transition baskets. This is how UNC Greensboro will attack.
In the half-court, Kansas holds a distinct advantage, as they possess plenty of athletic talent both on the perimeter and in the paint to make life miserable for UNC Greenboro's defense.
Trends found on Covers.com Kansas is:
- 5-1 ATS in last 6 following a loss
UNC Greensboro is:
- 0-5-2 ATS in last 7 following a win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Jayhawks have too much talent to lose their second straight game. As good as the Spartans' defense can be, Kansas has better guard play. And following a disastrous showing against Duke, players like Devon Dotson will make it their mission to ensure they protect the ball better this game. Along with this, the Jayhawks interior should dominate an overmatched Spartans' squad. Kansas pulls out to a comfortable lead early and cruises to a victory.
Prediction: Kansas -16.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Kansas is eager to put the loss to Duke behind them, so expect stronger guard play on Friday. Fridays have been historically great for the Jayhawks as they're 10-1 in the Over in their last 11 Friday games. Expect Kansas to keep this streak alive by overpowering a feisty Spartans' squad, who'll use a quicker tempo to try to keep pace. In the end, the Jayhawks' high-octane offense comes alive and they dominate.
Prediction: Over 146.5