Kansas vs. Texas Prediction: Will the Defenses Rise to the Occasion in This Big 12 Battle?

College basketball expert Mike Spector breaks down the massive Big 12 battle between Texas and Kansas on ESPN at 4:00 pm ET and gives us his best bet.
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Kansas vs. Texas Prediction: Will the Defenses Rise to the Occasion in This Big 12 Battle?

The last time the Texas Longhorns visited Allen Fieldhouse, they handed the Kansas Jayhawks their worst home loss in the Bill Self era in a dominating 25-point win. While Self’s Jayhawks have seemingly owned the Big 12 ever since his arrival, the Longhorns have won the previous three games in this rivalry.

With a Big 12 regular season title on the line, will the Jayhawks rise up and end their losing streak to the Longhorns? Or is there another betting angle providing better value in this matchup? Here are our picks and predictions for the Big 12 regular season finale between Texas and Kansas.

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Kansas vs. Texas Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Saturday, March 5

Game Time: 4:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

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Kansas vs. Texas Total Movement

Kansas vs. Texas Prediction

Texas (21-9, 10-7) is 3-3 in its last six games, with all three losses coming against teams in the top three of the Big 12 standings (two to Baylor, one to Texas Tech). The Longhorns are now locked into the No. 4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, which means they avoid a first-round game as the top four teams earn a bye. 

Kansas (24-6, 13-4) enters the day tied atop the Big 12 standings with Baylor but controls its own destiny for the regular season championship and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Though they split their two regular season meetings with Baylor, the Jayhawks would be the No. 1 seed with a win against Texas by virtue of their 1-1 record against Texas Tech, while the Red Raiders swept Baylor.

The Longhorns stole the first regular season meeting against Kansas (79-76), as the Jayhawks were leading by four points with just over a minute to play. A big reason for Texas’ victory that night was Courtney Ramey’s defense, as he held Big 12 leading scorer Ochai Agbaji (20.2 ppg) to just 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting. The 11-point output is tied for Agbaji’s lowest of the last 12 games, and his seven field goal attempts (in 38 minutes played) were by far his lowest of the season. Nothing was more emblematic of Ramey’s harassing defense than the last possession, as Ramey did not allow Agbaji a touch and resulted in a Kansas turnover to essentially seal the game.

While “The Phog” will undoubtedly be rocking on Senior Night with Kansas having an opportunity to win a conference championship, it is concerning how Self’s squad has not been able to figure out Chris Beard’s Longhorns for much of the last two years. In addition, Ramey’s ability to once again limit Kansas’ best scorer once again makes Texas a dangerous underdog.

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Thus, the better value lies with the under. Texas benefits from a significant scheduling advantage in this game, as they last played on Monday night, while Kansas has endured three grueling games in six days. Kansas’ offense is at its best when they play up-tempo and score in transition, but it is fair to wonder how much legs the Jayhawks have at the tail end of this demanding schedule. The under is a whopping 8-3 when Texas has the rest advantage over its opponent, and we expect Beard to devise ways to use that advantage wisely in this matchup.

In addition, Bill Self is a master motivator, and you know that he has consistently reminded his team of the 84-59 home drubbing they endured against Texas last season. The Jayhawks are the Big 12’s top-ranked team in effective field goal percentage defense (per KenPom) and 3-point percentage defense, allowing opponents to connect on just 27% of their 3-point attempts. Thus, we also look for Kansas to turn in a spirited effort defensively in what should be a low-scoring battle.

Kansas vs. Texas Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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