It hasn’t been the best stretch run for Kansas, who were on course for the Big 12 regular season title and a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament until last weekend. The latter may ultimately be beyond their grasp, but with a win over Texas, they will lock down the top seed in next week’s Big 12 Tournament.
Kansas went to Baylor last weekend with a chance to put away the regular season title. But the Jayhawks couldn’t sustain a bright start in an 80-70 loss, and then on Monday night, became TCU’s second straight top-10 victim following the Horned Frogs’ upset of Texas Tech.
In Thursday’s rematch with TCU, Kansas had to claw, scrap, and rally against the Horned Frogs. But they pulled out a 72-68 win in Lawrence to remain in pole position for the #1 seed entering today.
Texas would love nothing more than to play spoiler in one of their final Big 12 meetings with Kansas. But it might require their best performance of the season to date to pull the upset at the Phog.
Texas vs. Kansas College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds
- Game Matchup: #21 Texas Longhorns (21-9, 10-7 Big 12, 4th in the Big 12) vs. #6 AP/#7 CP Kansas Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4 Big 12, t-1st in the Big 12)
- Venue & Location: Allen Fieldhouse (Lawrence, Kansas)
- Date: Saturday, March 5, 2022
- Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Spread: Texas +6.5 (-110), Kansas -6.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 137.5 (-110), UNDER 137.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Texas +225, Kansas -275
Odds are via BetMGM.
Agbaji, Kansas Seek to Clinch Top Seed in Big 12 Tournament After Subpar Stretch
With those consecutive losses to Baylor and TCU, Kansas has some work to do–and some help to call upon beyond beating Texas and potentially winning the Big 12 tourney–to land a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament at this point.
Baylor, who hosts Iowa State to close out the regular season, will be a top seed provided they don’t trip up against the Cyclones and in the Big 12 quarters. Gonzaga, Arizona, and Auburn are in position for the other three top seeds, even though all three lost this past Saturday, which was one of the most chaotic days in recent college basketball history.
Additionally, Duke, Kentucky, and potentially Wisconsin also hoping to throw their hat in the ring over the next week. So, Kansas has a lot of competition if they want to be in the mix to be on the top line on Selection Sunday.
It may be too much to ask for Kansas to get back what they let slip away, but at least they can add to Bill Self’s total of Big 12 titles with a win over Texas. The Jayhawks have won 15 Big 12 regular season titles (and eight Big 12 Tournament titles) in Bill Self’s tenure. But since winning 14 in a row from 2005 to 2018, KU won only one in the past three seasons.
That Kansas faces a must-win game against Texas is somewhat baffling given the form that they had been in for most of February prior to their trip to Waco.
February 2022 Results for the Kansas Jayhawks
- at Iowa State: won 70-61
- vs. Baylor: won 83-59
- at Texas: lost 79-76
- vs. Oklahoma: won 71-69
- vs. Oklahoma State: won 76-62
- at West Virginia: won 71-58
- vs. Kansas State: won 102-83
- at Baylor: lost 80-70
Before their past three games, Kansas was one of the highest-scoring teams in college basketball. They still are, but games of 70, 64, and 72 points have dropped their scoring average to 78.9 points per game, which is 25th in the country.
The Jayhawks also were and still are one of the best shooting teams in the country as well, but three poor shooting games have hurt that standing as well heading into their matchup with Texas.
Shooting Percentages for Kansas Against Baylor and TCU
- at Baylor: 34.3% (24 of 70)
- at TCU: 37.3% (22 of 59)
- vs. TCU: 43.6% (24 of 55)
- Shooting Percentage for the 2021-22 Season: 48.6% (t-14th in Division I)
Ochai Agbaji, the Big 12’s leading scorer, has picked a bad time to have his worst stretch of the season. Prior to the past three games, he had not shot below 50 percent in three consecutive games this season.
But he has done that over the past three games, a stretch in which he is shooting only 34.5 percent (20 of 58) from the field and 29 percent from three. That is well below his season numbers, as he is shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from three.
For Kansas to secure the top seed for next’s festivities in Kansas City, Agbaji must find his shot against Texas. And he needs to be more involved than he was in the first meeting against the Longhorns, in which he took a season-low seven shots and scored only 11 points in 38 minutes.
Texas vs. Kansas Basketball Prediction and Picks
Kansas 82, Texas 69 (Kansas -6.5 & OVER 137.5)
In the matchup in Austin, the Jayhawks actually had one of their best shooting performances of the season. Against the Longhorns, they shot 58.3 percent from the field, even with their leading scorer contributing below his usual standard.
But down the stretch, they did themselves in with turnovers and missed free throws. And after taking a 76-72 lead with 1:13 left, Kansas failed to score again as the Longhorns rallied to win.
In the loss, the Jayhawks had 15 turnovers, including two in the final minute. They also made only 15 of 23 (65.2 percent) from the free-throw line. While the Kansas is not great from the stripe–they are tied for 188th in Division I in free-throw shooting at 71.1 percent–they typically make more than 70 percent of their foul shots when they have 20+ attempts (nine out of 13 times this season).
If Kansas can do the things that they did well for much of that first game against Texas and clean up the things that lost them the game, they will win comfortably.
Texas, who lost at home against Baylor on Monday, has lost consecutive games only once this season. But the Longhorns will need a performance that we have rarely seen out of them to leave Allen Fieldhouse with a win, and that will not happen.