Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, February 12, 2016 at 9:00 AM
Back on January 4, Oklahoma and Kansas played the most exciting game of the season. Kentucky/Kansas gave it a run for its money. But, the latter only went one overtime. OU/Kansas seemed like it would never end! It may have been one of the best regular season games of the last decade considering the quality of teams involved and the duration of thrills.
After losing that heartbreaker, OU gets its shot at revenge Saturday afternoon in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN. Though, in many ways, you have to think of them as “the superior team” in Round One because they played so well in Lawrence. Home court advantage is worth something in this sport…especially THAT home court! OU led almost all the way…was tied at the end of regulation…and then tied a few more times. Had that game been played on a neutral floor, who wins?
Saturday’s game will be in Norman, far from neutral. And the Sooners will be hosting a team that’s had some issues on the road in Big 12 action…
Kansas (+1.5) lost at Iowa State 85-72
Kansas (-9) lost at Oklahoma State 86-67
Kansas (-1) lost at West Virginia 74-63
The Jayhawks did beat Texas Tech and TCU on the road. So what?! OU’s much closer than Iowa State and West Virginia in quality than those also-rans from south of the Red River. Kansas is looking at another double digit straight up loss if the Jayhawks don’t get their act together.
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about this must-see matchup…
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
Kansas: 117.3 per 100 possessions (#13 in the nation)
Oklahoma: 118.5 per 100 possessions (#7 in the nation)
Very similar teams, as both are difficult to stop in the halfcourt or in transition unless you have a quality defense. Oklahoma gets the slight nod in Ken Pomeroy’s “adjusted” methodology, which accounts for pace and schedule strength.
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency
Kansas: 94.9 per 100 possessions (#27 in the nation)
Oklahoma: 94.8 per 100 possessions (#26 in the nation)
Very similar defenses too once you account for context. Are these clone teams? No wonder the first meeting went multiple overtimes. The margin for error is such that this is a dead heat. Two good defenses…but a pair that may have trouble matching up with true defensive elites come March. Remember that championships are typically won by teams with top 10 or top 20 defenses in this sport.
Not pure clones because Oklahoma is the faster of the two teams. Though, both are above average in pace. You at least have to call them extremely similar. And, Oklahoma has a chance to run Kansas out of the gym because the home team usually imposes its preferred tempo on big games. This is bad news for a Kansas team that was already exposed away from home by Iowa State and West Virginia…and even by mediocre Oklahoma State.
Against the Spread
Kansas has covered four straight games to soar up to 14-8. That was on the heels of five straight non-covers! Though, the OT win over Kentucky was a sleazy cover. The strings should have been six straight non-covers followed by three straight covers. Still, Kansas may have flicked a switch that will have them playing better this time around. Oklahoma has been priced aggressively by oddsmakers, making it tougher to get the money. You really have to respect that 14-8 record for Kansas because the Jayhawks just don’t get any breaks in the line!
There’s your challenge. Will the “hot” Kansas Jayhawks offer value against a market that may be overpricing the revenge angle for OU? Or, will this one be over quickly as the angry Sooners match what those other Big 12 programs accomplished vs. this Jayhawks team that isn’t exactly a bunch of road warriors?
JIM HURLEY had this game circled before the season started, and then double and triple circled it after all over those overtimes in Round One! He has a number in mind…and will have his clients attack the game if there’s an opening to exploit Saturday morning.
You can always purchase JIM HURLEY’S BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Friday or Saturday before the first games tipoff.
Big game previews continue in the NOTEBOOK as we keep racing down the road to MARCH MADNESS. Just ahead...five big games from the five different major conferences!
Sunday: USC at Arizona in the Pac 12
Monday-Tuesday: West Virginia at Texas Tuesday night in the Big 12
Wednesday: Duke at North Carolina in the ACC
Thursday: Wisconsin at Michigan State in the Big 10
Friday-Saturday: Kentucky at Texas A&M Saturday in the SEC
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