Texas vs Kansas Preview & Free Pick [3/14/19]

via ESPN.com

Texas (16-15) vs Kansas (23-8)
When: Thursday, March 14th, 2019
Where: Sprint Center,
Kansas City, Missouri
Time: 9:30 ET | TV: ESPN2
Opening Odds: Kansas -3/137.5

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Most teams would love to finish 23-8 and be the No. 3 seed in their conference tournament, but the Kansas Jayhawks would call that an unsuccessful regular season and will try and gather some momentum before the NCAA Tournament next week. Kansas failed to win the Big 12 regular season title for the first time in 14 years and will take on sixth-seeded Texas in the quarterfinals from Kansas City on Thursday night. Injuries and other personal reasons will force Kansas to start four freshmen and a transfer versus Texas, while the Longhorns have much more to play for. Texas is currently one of the ‘Last 4 In’ according to ESPN’s Bracketology and a win over KU would go a long way in putting them on the right side of the bubble. A loss, and the Longhorns would have to hope other teams don’t pass them up between now and Sunday. Texas will get senior guard Kerwin Roach II (team-high 14.4 points per game) back after serving a five-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules. The teams split their two regular season matchups with the home team earning the victories including a 73-63 Longhorn win to snap a 10-game losing streak to the Jayhawks. The winner will play either West Virginia or Texas Tech on Friday.

Texas lost four of the five games Roach didn’t play, but the team will be back at full-strength Thursday. Various players tried stepping up in Roach’s abscence including forward Jaxson Hayes, who earned himself Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors as well as conference All-Defensive team, and scored a career-high 19 points in Saturday’s 69-56 loss to TCU. Sophomore guard Jase Febres (8.7 points) scored 49 points while draining 15-of-24 from beyond the arc in the two games against Baylor and Iowa State, but has slumped to four points and 0-for-10 from 3-point range in his last two.

With guard Lagerald Vick (14.1 points) out for the season for personal reasons and center Udoka Azubuike sidelined with a hand injury, gave Dedric Lawson a chance to shine. The junior forward was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a conference first-team selection after leading the Big 12 in scoring (19.1) and rebounding (10.6). That is the first conference player to lead in both categories since Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin (2008-09). Other postseason honors on the team went to guard Devon Dotson, who took home a Big 12 All-Freshman team selection by averaging 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and a team-high 3.5 assists, while sophomore guard Marcus Garrett (7.2 points) made the Big 12 All-Defensive team.

Texas has covered each of the last three meetings with Kansas.

Texas is a different team with Roach on the floor and they really need this win. The Longhorns have covered the spread in each of the last three meetings including both this year. Kansas is too inconsistent and unpredictable for me to lay points with right now.

Pick: Texas +3

Longhorns are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games.
Longhorns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss.
Longhorns are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Longhorns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
Longhorns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 vs. Big 12.
Longhorns are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a double-digit loss at home.
Longhorns are 7-15-1 ATS in their last 23 neutral site games.

Jayhawks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games.
Jayhawks are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games following a ATS win.
Jayhawks are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win.

Over is 5-1 in Longhorns last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 4-1 in Longhorns last 5 games following a ATS loss.
Under is 12-3 in Longhorns last 15 Thursday games.
Over is 7-3 in Longhorns last 10 games following a straight up loss.
Over is 9-4 in Longhorns last 13 games following a double-digit loss at home.

Over is 5-1 in Jayhawks last 6 games following a straight up win.
Over is 8-2 in Jayhawks last 10 overall.
Over is 8-2 in Jayhawks last 10 vs. Big 12.
Over is 21-6 in Jayhawks last 27 games following a ATS win.
Over is 6-2 in Jayhawks last 8 neutral site games.
Over is 3-1-1 in Jayhawks last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.