Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #3 Kansas vs. #9 Texas - Taking Vegas



Free Pick Breakdown, Odds & Prediction: #3 Kansas vs. #9 Texas

By TakingVegas Staff Writer
March 4, 2023
Photo by: Unknow (Contact us for credit)

#3 Kansas Jayhawks vs #9 Texas Longhorns (3/4 @ 4:00 PM EST)

Spread: Texas -2.5
Money Line: Kanas +120 / Texas -140
Total: 149

Overview and Betting Info

The #3 Kansas Jayhawks (25-5) will be heading south on Saturday to take on the #9 Texas Longhorns (22-8). These teams met a month ago with the Jayhawks getting a 88-80 win at home. Kansas has won the Big 12 regular season title, while Texas finished just two games behind and is looking to grab the two seed for next week’s conference tournament.

Kansas is 14-16 against the spread this season and have covered seven of their last ten games. They have gone over the total 16 times but have been under in their last three.

Texas is 13-17 versus the spread but have failed to cover three of their last five games. They’ve gone over the total 16 times but have gone under in three of their last five.

Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks come in with a seven-game winning streak that began with a win against the Longhorns. During this streak, they beat three ranked teams (Texas, Baylor, and TCU). However, they struggled to beat West Virginia and Texas Tech last week. Both games came down to the end, with the Jayhawks holding off their opponents at home. Their offense has been solid, ranking fourth in the Big 12 in scoring (76.1 PPG), second in field goal percentage (46.7%) and three-point percentage (34.9%), and are ninth in the country in assists (17.1 APG). The defense has also been good, ranking fourth in opponent scoring (68.0 PPG), first in rebounding (36.4 RPG), second in field goal percentage (41.1%), second in steals (8.8 SPG), and third in blocks (4.0 BPG). The Jayhawks have struggled on the road against ranked opponents, losing three of their last four.

Kansas is led by the play of Jalen Wilson (19.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG), Gradey Dick (14.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.5 SPG), and Kevin McCullar Jr (11.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 SPG). Wilson is thirtieth in the country in scoring and leads the conference in rebounding. He scored 21 points against Texas Tech on Tuesday but has not been shooting well. Over his last four games, Wilson is making just 36% of his shots and is 0-13 from three over his previous four games. This a troubling trend for Wilson, especially since he had just 2 points against Texas last month. Dick is one of the best shooters in the conference, making 44.3% from the field and 40.6% from three. The freshman was outstanding against Texas, with 21 points and two steals while making 63% of his shots. Dick is coming off his worst game of the year, where he went 0-7 from the field. McCullar is a physical guard that rebounds well and is their best defender, ranking third in the Big 12 in rebounds and second in steals. His play also helps him get to the free throw line, which he did 13 times against Texas last month.

The Jayhawk’s top players are supported by KJ Adams Jr (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG) and Dajuan Harris Jr (8.7 PPG, 6.2 APG, 2.0 SPG). Adams leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage (62.8%) and is a solid defender for this Kansas team. He had 10 points and eight rebounds against Kansas last month, making 57.1% of his shots. Harris has been a fantastic piece, ranking second in the Big 12 in assists and fourth in steals. His ability to steal and create turnovers helps set up big shots for their top scorers. Harris had one of his best games of the year against Texas, with 17 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds, and four steals. Keep an eye on Joseph Yesfu (3.7 PPG), as he had the best game of his career against Texas with 14 and five rebounds.

Texas Longhorns

The Longhorns come in having lost their last two games and three of their previous five. Both of their previous losses game against top 25 teams (TCU & Baylor) and were on the road. They came close to knocking off TCU on the road, but they have now lost five of their last eight games against ranked opponents. Their offensive play has been elite this season, ranking first in the Big 12 in scoring (79.0 PPG), field goal percentage (47.2%), and fourth in assists. The defense has struggled to contain opponents, ranking eighth in the Big 12 in opponent scoring (69.0 PPG), but they are fourth in blocks (3.6 BPG) and steals (8.0 SPG). Rebounding has been an issue for this team, as they are seventh in rebounds (34.0 RPG) and ninth in rebounds allowed (34.8 RPG). The Longhorns have lost just once at home this season.

 Texas has been led by a pair of guards in Marcus Carr (16.6 PPG, 4.1 APG, 1.6 SPG) and Sir’Jabari Rice (12.2 PPG). Carr has played better at home, averaging 17.2 points and making 40% of his three-point attempts. He absolutely torched the Longhorns last month for 29 points. Carr is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring and eighth in steals, making him one of the conference’s most dangerous players. Rice has been coming off the bench this season, despite playing starter minutes and being the Longhorns’ top scorer. He had 12 points against Texas but made just 38.5% of his shots and fouled out. Don’t expect to see that Saturday, as Rice makes 51% of his shots from the field and 44.2% of his threes in Austin.

Texas is a deep team, but a trio of Timmy Allen (10.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.5 APG), Tyrese Hunter (10.2 PPG), and Dylan Disu (7.6 PPG, 1.4 BPG). Allen has been a critical part of this offense, but his scoring has been down over the last few weeks. Still, he has continued to rebound and pass well. We’ll see if he can break out Saturday as he faces a Texas team that he scored 18 points against. Allen’s field goal percentage is 13 points higher at home (52.9%) than on the road (39.2%). Hunter struggled for much of February but seemed to have broken out of his slump, averaging 14.2 points and 1.6 steals over his last three games. Disu is having a great season as a support player, ranking four in the Big 12 in field goal percentage (57%) and second in blocks.

Free Pick: Longhorns -2.5

We like the Longhorns here and feel confident in their ability to cover on Saturday. While Kansas won the first matchup, there are two factors that make us believe this will be different. The first is that Texas will now be at home, taking away the massive homecourt advantage of the Jayhawks. The second is Joseph Yesfu, who averages just three points but had 14 against Texas. Don’t expect to see that again on Saturday, which will force more pressure onto a struggling Wilson to score on the road efficiently.

We also think that the Texas shooters are going to be too hard for Kansas to handle at home. The Jayhawk defense is great, but if there is one area that they can struggle it is defending the three (5th in Big 12). If Carr and Texas can improve their percentage from outside, it should negate the rebounding mismatch between these two teams.

We are giving up the points to take Texas at home on Saturday.