In what was one of the most grueling years for the Big 12 in terms of high quality of play, it now all comes down to this. The Big 12 Conference Championship. It’s Texas Vs. Kansas and fireworks are expected whenever these two teams battle it out. With both offenses clicking as we near March Madness, my prediction is that the over cashes with ease in a potential high scoring affair.
Texas Vs. Kansas Prediction
I got to hand it to Kansas, I thought their conference tournament chances were doomed once it was announced head coach Bill Self would be ruled out with an undisclosed illness. How did they respond? By somehow playing even more efficiently and running through their competition. A very impressive job, now one game away from capping the year off with a Big 12 Conference Championship trophy.
In order to do so, the offense will need to continue its high level of play as Texas is no slouch on defense. Maintaining Chris Beard’s identity on defense since his dismissal, now rounding into an elite unit on that side of the court with each passing game. Texas finished the season 12th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, using their length to disrupt looks in the interior. Texas has held opposing offenses to an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 47.9%, good for 66th best in the nation per TeamRankings.
That number actually drastically improves to 38.5% in their last three contests yet are not without flaws that Kansas can exploit. Especially with the star level playmaking ability of Jalen Wilson, a force on offense with an average of 20.0 points per game. He constantly commands defensive attention, being able to shift their sets to his will by either driving to the basket or stopping and popping for a high-quality jump shot.
Should he get going early, Texas will have to ramp up their pressure towards him and that opens gaps in the defense for the Jayhawks secondary scorers to exploit. This is where the likes of Gradey Dick have thrived as he is one of the nation’s most lethal three-point shooters, averaging 40.9% from deep. Not only has he served as a catch and shoot type of player from deep, but he has recently found a knack for crashing the glass and giving Kansas much needed second chance opportunities. Dick is turning into a star before our very eyes.
Texas Vs. Kansas Prediction: Over 142
Texas Vs. Kansas Odds
Oddsmakers believe this is going to be an exciting tight one as they opened Kansas as a -2 favorite. Bettors are leaning towards the Longhorns ability to cap off their year with a championship, taking Texas down to +1.5 as of writing. Kenpom projections have this even tighter, separating the two powerhouses at a half a point in the Jayhawks favor. Both are playing at a championship level, both capable of making a run per my Historic National Champion piece. This is a stay away for me.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 141.5. Bettors have hammered the over since the open, taking it up to 142.5 in some shops as of writing. With both units possessing elite defenses, I believe it’s the offensive ability that will be on full display as both offenses are clicking on all cylinders. Pace plays in our favor as well, ranking no lower than 82nd in Adjusted Tempo per Kenpom.
Texas Vs. Kansas Key Matchups
Marcus Carr vs Kansas defense
No Allen no problem as the Texas Longhorns offense has been a force throughout the season. Especially in their last matchup, getting their revenge against TCU in dominant fashion. The Longhorns offensive revitalization is a key reason for the over cashing in my Texas Vs. Kansas prediction.
They sacrifice size in the interior without Allen, yet Marcus Carr has made up for it with his ability to slash the interior. He has been the driving force of the offense, averaging 15.9 points per game.
In order to be efficient once again, he will have to take care of the ball as the Jayhawks defense is built on generating Havoc. Carr averages a modest 1.5 turnovers per game, showing an ability to take care of the ball while generating high quality looks in the interior.
Dylan Disu’s block starts the fast break for Marcus Carr to put home the lay-up! pic.twitter.com/YzUgTNRoRV
— Hook'em Headlines (@HookemHeadlines) March 11, 2023
With both offenses poised to continue their hot stretch of play, take the over at no higher than 153 in what will be an exciting Big 12 championship.