KANSAS JAYHAWKS (9-1)
at OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (9-1)
Tip-off: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET
Line: Ohio State -3.5, Total: 141.5
It will be a rematch of last year’s national semifinals when No. 9 Kansas travels to No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday.
These teams actually met twice last season. Kansas won both times, SU and ATS, a December home game (in which the Buckeyes played without star Jared Sullinger) and the neutral court win at the Final Four. The Jayhawks have absolutely blown out some decent opponents of late, beating Richmond by 28 on Tuesday night and Colorado by 36 two weeks ago. Ohio State’s lone loss this season came at Duke. Since then it has beaten five small school opponents SU (2-2 ATS).
Who will win the latest battle of these two storied programs? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts continue to roll in the past eight days, posting a collective 36-16-1 ATS (69%) since Dec. 14. StatFox Scott is 8-2-1 ATS (80%) over this stretch, while StatFox Dave is 14-5 ATS (74%) in these eight days. The experts now have a collective 54.2% ATS mark (150-127-6) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who is 7-1 ATS since Monday, and sits at 61% ATS (33-21) for the season, while Dave is at 56% ATS (56-44-2) on the year.
Kansas’ balanced attack features an All-America-caliber, inside-outside combo. Freshman SG Ben McLemore (15.9 PPG) has proven difficult to contain, while C Jeff Withey (14.1 PPG on 59.3% FG, 8.1 RPG, 5.4 BPG) has dominated at both ends of the court. The Jayhawks have held opponents to 58.5 PPG on 35.1% FG, largely due to Withey’s presence inside. On Tuesday night against Richmond, he went for 17 points on 7-for-9 FG and 13 rebounds in just 26 minutes. He’s also managed to avoid any foul trouble, committing just 11 fouls in 10 games, and never more than two in a game. The Jayhawks’ biggest weakness has been their lack of a consistent outside shooter. As a team, they’re shooting just 33.9% 3-pt FG.
The Buckeyes have transitioned nicely from the Jared Sullinger era. SF Deshaun Thomas (30.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG) has emerged as a star on the offensive end, and SG Lenzelle Smith Jr. (11.5 PPG, 48.7% 3-pt FG) has become a serious threat on the perimeter. PG Aaron Craft (9.1 PPG, 4.8 APG) remains the best perimeter defender in college basketball, but he’s struggled to become more of a scorer (37.7% FG, 33.3% 3-pt FG). This game could come down to how well the Buckeyes can contain Withey in the low post. Senior bruiser Evan Ravenel (6.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG) will be giving up about four inches to Withey. Ravenel splits time with sophomore C Amir Williams (1.3 BPG), who will have to prove he can anchor against Withey in the low post.