SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (2-2)
at KANSAS JAYHAWKS (4-1)
Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, KS
Tip-off: Monday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Kansas -27.5, Total: 136
San Jose State will get its first test of major conference talent in this campaign as they travel to Allen Fieldhouse as heavy underdogs to take on No. 12 Kansas.
The Spartans are led by senior guard James Kinney, who is averaging 21.0 PPG this season in the backcourt. But the guy to watch out for will be 6-foot-11 C Alex Brown, who is averaging just 6.5 PPG, but 2.5 blocks per game in the early going. He will be key in matching up with Jayhawks C Jeff Withey (13.8 PPG, 8.0 PPG, 5.0 BPG) who is the premier post defender in the nation. Freshman Ben McLemore chimes in as Kansas’ leading scorer at 14.0 PPG, making 50% of his shots to start the season. Kansas should certainly prevail in this one, but the large margin will be too much for the Jayhawks to cover. Brown’s size and the rebounding prowess of Spartans forward Chris Cunningham (12.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG) will prevent Withey from dominating. San Jose State has also run an effective offense so far this season, making 49.0% FG (27th in Division I) and won’t let anybody pull away. The Jayhawks have yet to really dominate at home, too, with an 0-2 ATS mark at Allen Fieldhouse this year, beating SE Missouri State and Chattanooga by just 16.5 PPG. Take SAN JOSE STATE to win ATS.
For more expert picks, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have been on top of their game in the past three days, going a collective 19-10-1 ATS (66%) on college basketball Best Bets. The group is now 54% ATS (70-60-3) for the season, led by StatFox Gary at 57% ATS (13-10). StatFox Dave is at 56% ATS (29-23) for the season.
Kinney has been a monster for the Spartans on both ends of the floor, tallying 2.8 SPG in addition to his offensive contributions. And he has succeeded despite shooting poorly from deep (29.2% 3-pt FG) while the 6-foot-2 senior has also added 6.5 boards per game. Cunningham and D.J. Brown (12.0 PPG, 9-of-14 threes) round out San Jose State’s top scoring crew, with Brown the team’s top passer at 3.5 APG. If Alex Brown and Cunningham (6-foot-9) can establish themselves in the paint, it will be tough for Kansas to cover a nearly 30-point spread. But the one big weakness for SJSU is free throw shooting (56% FT), including Alex Brown, who is just 2-for-16 from the free-throw line this year.
The Jayhawks bring four double-digit scorers to the table in McLemore, Withey, Travis Releford (11.8 PPG) and Elijah Johnson (10.2 PPG). Johnson runs the offense, and leads the team with 4.0 APG, though he is making just 41.3% of his shots from the field. Releford might be the most dangerous weapon in this contest due to his size and speed—at 6-foot-6, he is a dangerous threat off the wing offensively and defensively that should present matchup problems for a Spartans squad that lacks a true swingman. Freshman Perry Ellis has also been a key contributor for Bill Self’s squad, averaging 7.4 PPG and 4.2 RPG in the early going. Kansas will try to avoid another loss to a Spartans squad, as its lone defeat this season was to Michigan State, but the Jayhawks face a tall task to cover such a big spread.