An interesting matchup between the 9th ranked Kentucky Wildcats and the 5th ranked Kansas Jayhawks will serve as the second game of the Champions Classic, yet, due to pandemic concerns, will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Kansas is currently favored by 3.5 points in this contest, which is down from four points at the opening; Nonetheless, no total has been set for this matchup as of yet.
And while the Wildcats continue to be considered as one of the ‘Blue Bloods’ of college basketball, they looked very pedestrian in their last matchup at home versus the Richmond Spiders as they fell by 14 points in addition to failing to cover the number as 6.5 point favorites. On the other hand, while Kansas has also been known as a dominant college basketball squad for decades, the Jayhawks began the season in losing fashion in falling by 12 points to the Gonzaga Bulldogs in their opener while also failing to cover as four point favorites. Nonetheless, Kansas was able to atone with a 22-point win versus the St. Joseph's Hawks in their most recent matchup November 27th in addition to covering as 20 point favorites.
And while Kansas has picked up wins in three of the last four meetings amongst these two teams, Kentucky was able to pick up a 71-63 win in January of 2019 at home to cover as 5.5 point favorites. On the other hand, it is important to note that Kentucky has also dominated versus the number in recent matchups as they are 4-2 against the spread in their last six games versus Kansas
Wildcats outlasted by Spiders in last matchupDespite the Wildcats being able to take a four-point lead into halftime versus Richmond, it was clear to see that their offense was simply not cohesive in this contest as they returned for the second half only to be outscored by 14 points en route to a 76 - 64 loss. For the contest, the Wildcats shot just 36% from the floor in addition to going 0-10 from three-point range. Furthermore, Kentucky was fortunate enough to get to the line a total of 33 times, only to make 20 of those attempts . In addition to this, Kentucky was horrible at protecting the basketball as they ended the game with a total of 21 turnovers, with five being by forward Olivier Sarr , who ended the contest with 17 points along with 11 rebounds.
Also, guard Terrence Clarke, who is averaging just under 14 points per game along with five rebounds and 2.5 assists, also had four turnovers of his own while ending the game with 15 points along with six rebounds. Finally, guard Brandon Boston, Jr., who leads the team in scoring 17.5 points a game in addition to pulling down nine rebounds, led the team with 20 points along with 10 rebounds (five offensive) in the loss. And while Sarr, Boston Jr., along with Clark led the team, it is important to note that the remaining two starters combined to go 13-33 from the floor in the contest.
Nonetheless, it can be said that Kentucky may indeed have a chance to atone for their lackluster shooting nights versus Kansas as the Jayhawks have begun the season on a sour note on the defensive end of the floor in allowing 87 points per game on a whopping 48% shooting to opponents. Important to also note, however, that the under has been the mantra when these two teams have gotten together as of late in being the play in six of the last seven meetings, overall, with Kentucky averaging only 64 points during this time. However, with this game being such a huge contest, one should certainly expect the Wildcats to enter this contest with the healthy amount of focus and intensity in order to atone for their most recent setback.
Kansas able to get back on track after defeat versus BulldogsThe Jayhawks will certainly not make it easy for Kentucky to get back on the winning track as they were able to refocus themselves in a relatively short amount of time when they atoned for their loss to Gonzaga with a huge blowout win versus the Hawks November 27th. Leading scorer in guard Christian Braun, had a very efficient performance as he shot 10-13 from the floor by going 5-8 from three-point range, including 5-5 from the free throw line to end the contest with 30 points, nine rebounds, three assists, along with four steals on the night. In addition to this, guard Ochai Ogbahi, who is averaging 18 points per game along with 1.5 steals along with a block in 2020, also had an efficient night in going 7-13 from floor while ending with 18 points along with gathering four rebounds and a block. Important to note, however, that Braun and Ogbahi combined for five turnovers on the night as Kansas turned the ball over a total of 16 times.
Nonetheless, the team was able to shoot very efficiently from the floor at 50% while also going 9-20 from three-point range. It is important to note that reserve forward Jalen Wilson is averaging 12.5 points per game this season for Kansas thus far in addition to pulling down seven rebounds as he was able to go 4-8 from the floor in their last contest while ending with 14 points along with nine rebounds. This is certainly the type of efficiency that the Jayhawks need in order to ensure that they deny the Wildcats their second win of the season.
Important to note that Kansas shot 53% versus the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs to open the season with Ogbahi and Braun combining for 8 shots on a total of 17 attempts while going 4-7 from three-point range to combine for 25 points. The problem, however, is that Kansas was much too generous on the defensive end of the floor as the unit, despite forcing 13 turnovers in the contest, allowed 65% shooting to the Bulldogs while Gonzaga also shot 33% from three-point range, including possessing a total of three 20 + point scorers in the win.
Stats & Trends
- Underdog is 2-7 ATS in last five meetings versus Jayhawks and Wildcats
- Jayhawks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Tuesday games.
- Jayhawks are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
While the Wildcats have had success versus the Jayhawks against the number in their last six matchups, I happen to believe as though Jayhawks are primed for a win against the number in this contest due to the fact that they possess the talent and experience on both ends of the court to cause issues for a Kentucky team that is coming off a depressing loss versus Richmond. Again, the Wildcats certainly possess talent on both ends of the floor, Kansas simply has much more experience to get the job done in this contest. Again, while the trends does not suggest that the Jayhawks will have a chance in this contest, this happens to be one of those contest to where one can throw the trends to the curb and simply go with the overall best team, which happens to be the Kansas Jayhawks, as they will cover the points in this matchup.