A battle of top teams in the Big 12 takes place in College Basketball today as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks travel to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. The game is scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Kansas favored by 3 points.
Kansas favored by only three points at Oklahoma? Believe it. Maybe it's an over-reaction from oddsmakers based on the terrible performance the Jayhawks had at TCU earlier this week, but sometimes teams ranked highly have an awful time going on the road and beating teams they should beat. Is Kansas refocused and ready to go? Bill Self certainly hopes they are ready.
The Jayhawks are looking to avoid the school's first three-game losing streak in nearly eight years. Yes, eight years. They're also looking to beat Oklahoma for the 11th consecutive time in this one. Kansas lost to Oklahoma State in addition to TCU in their two most recent games. Time to get back on the winning trail. The Jayhawks are 7-2 overall in the Big 12 right now but that has then tied with in-state rival Kansas State and only a single game ahead of both Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Yet, Self is telling his team not to panic. There's still plenty of basketball left to be played and as long as Kansas takes care of business, they'll probably win the conference.
They have to shoot better to open today's game. Kansas shot just 3 of 22 (13.6 percent) in the first half in the loss to TCU and finished with the same numbers from 3-point range. Ben McLemore averages 16.3 points per game and he's a potential player of the year guy in the conference, so he has to step up for the Jayhawks today.
Romero Osby has also got to play well if the Sooners can hang around or beat Kansas. Oklahoma isn't a bad team and they've shown flashes of being great this year. Steven Pledger scored just 10 points against Kansas the last time out, but has shown he can score plenty more. He had 20 against Baylor in a game that Oklahoma won. He's certainly crucial to the Sooners offensively.
But the biggest X-factor might be Jeff Withey. He averages better than 30 minutes on the floor per game and can get a double-double anytime out on the floor. He's got to hit the boards hard and get offensive putbacks for the Jayhawks today. Kevin Young could help him on the glass as well.
Many are counting Kansas out right now because of their recent lack of success, but today they get it done the old-fashioned way. They'll beat up Oklahoma on the boards and come back to Lawrence righting the ship a bit. We think they win by a couple of possessions in a fairly close game.
Free Pick: Kansas 66, Oklahoma 58
College Basketball Free Picks: Kansas at Oklahoma Betting
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