Big 12 Championship Final: #7 Texas Longhorns vs #3 Kansas Jayhawks (3/11 @ 6:00 PM EST)
Spread: Kansas -1.5
Money Line: Texas +111 / Kansas -130
Overview and Betting Info
The #7 Texas Longhorns (25-8) will face off against the #3 Kansas Jayhawks (27-6) for this season’s Big 12 Tournament Championship Final. These two teams split their two regular season meetings, with the home team winning in both. Kansas won the Big 12 regular season title while Texas finished one game back in second.
Texas is 16-17 against the spread this season and have covered five of their last six games. They’ve gone over the total 16 times, but have been under in five of their last six.
Kansas is 16-17 versus the spread and have covered seven of their last ten games. They’ve gone over the total 16 times but have been under in their last six games.
The Longhorns dropped two of their final three games to end the season, costing them a chance at the regular season title. After dropping games on the road against Baylor and TCU, they finished their season with a blowout home win against Kansas. They dominated Oklahoma State in their quarterfinal game and were able to contain TCU in the semifinals. It was a promising sign for a Texas team that has lost its last four games away from Austin.
Texas has had success thanks to their offense. They lead the Big 12 in scoring (77.9 PPG) and point differential (+10.1) while ranking second in field goal (46.7%) and free throw (74.9%) percentage. They have struggled to hit the three this season, ranking sixth in the conference in three-point percentage (34.1%). The lack of consistent three-point shooting has hurt them in big games against ranked Big 12 teams this season. These struggles were fully displayed against TCU yesterday as they went 2-14 (14.3%). Their defense has picked up the slack, but they’ll need their offense to beat Kansas Saturday night.
Speaking of the Texas defense, they have been middle-of-the-pack most of the season. The Longhorns rank fifth in the Big 12 in opponent scoring (67.8 PPG) and field goal percentage (42.1%), while they are eighth in three-point percentage. While they can give up points, they rank fourth in steals (8.1 SPG) and blocks (3.8 BPG). They have been better to end the season, allowing just 58.4 points over their last five game. That stretch includes an impressive performance against Kansas, where they held the Jayhawks to 59 points.
Kansas won the Big 12 regular season title by winning nine of their final ten games. That run included a bad loss to Texas but also wins against the Longhorns, Baylor, and TCU. They have played 12 ranked teams this season, finishing with a 6-6 record in those games. Kansas easily handled West Virginia in their quarterfinal and Iowa State in the semifinal. Kansas has gone 5-1 in neutral court games, with their lone loss coming against Tennessee.
Kansas has been a top-five team in the country for most of the season thanks to having one of the most balanced teams. Their offense is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring (75.5 PPG) and three-point percentage (34.7%), and first-field goal percentage (46.7%). Their scoring has dipped to close the season, thanks partly to a 59-point performance against Texas last month. One of the most significant reasons for their success shooting the ball is their ability to work it around the floor to get the best shot. They are second in the conference in assists (16.7 APG).
The Kansas defense has been solid this season, ranking fourth in opponent scoring (67.7 PPG), second in field goal percentage (41.3%), fourth in three-point percentage (31.4%), and second in rebounding (36.1 RPG). They generate turnovers and lead the conference in steals (8.9 SPG) and third in blocks (3.8 BPG). This is a big reason for their blowout of the Cyclones, as they forced 22 turnovers. The Jayhawks won both tournament games by holding opponents to under 62 points. We’ll see if that continues against a Texas team with the fewest turnovers in the conference this season.
Free Pick: Over 141.5
These teams have played solid defense in the Big 12 Championship this week, but neither has had to play the conference’s best offenses. The four teams that Kansas and Texas beat include West Virginia, TCU, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State. Only West Virginia is in the top five in scoring in the Big 12. Texas’s offense has slowed a bit, but they are too good for that to continue much longer.
Combine that with the fact that these teams are on their third straight day of games. That will wear teams down, especially on defense. We can see this by looking at previous Big 12 championship games, with five of the last six far surpassing the 141.5 point total.
We’re expecting a shootout between these two, so we’re taking the over on Saturday.