After a stunning road loss in Orlando against Big 12 newbie UCF, Kansas aims to avoid consecutive losses for the first time since dropping three straight games since just less than a year ago.
Are the Jayhawks due another January swoon?
That may be exactly what we’re witnessing since Kansas (13-2 SU, 5-10 ATS) should arguably be looking to avoid an 0-3 start in conference play. TCU had the Jayhawks on the ropes at Allen Fieldhouse last Saturday and looked headed for an upset before a questionable technical foul was called Ernest Udeh, Jr. for accidentally catching Hunter Dickinson with an errant slap after flailing while going for a loose ball. The Horned Frogs led and were headed the other way before the call was made.
Kansas led by double-digits on Wednesday against the Knights, blew the edge and ultimately lost 65-60, finishing with its second-lowest scoring output of the season. Marquette held the Jayhawks to 59 points in Maui to hand them their first loss back on Nov. 21, so it appears the key to defeating them is to clamp down defensively.
That’s typically not the strategy Oklahoma (13-2, 9-6) employs, since it fares best when it can get out in transition. The Sooners are also looking to avoid slipping to 1-2 in the Big 12, having lost to TCU in Fort Worth, 80-71. They’re now 1-2 when allowing 80 or more points, so Porter Moser will be looking for his team to tighten up.
Handicapping Oklahoma vs. Kansas betting odds, props, and predictions hinge on your belief of whether the Sooners can respond on the highway, particularly since this is just their second true road game and the first one didn’t go so well. OU lost a pseudo roadie at North Carolina in the Jumpman Invitational on Dec. 20, falling 81-69.
Moser’s Sooners did play well in Lawrence last season, dropping a 79-75 on Jan. 10, 2023. KJ Adams led the way with 22 points, while Dajuan Harris finished with a season-best five assists. Alongside stars Dickinson and Kevin McCullar, they’ll be looking to get the Jayhawks back on track.
Oklahoma vs. Kansas odds: Point spread, moneyline, total
Here are the latest college basketball betting odds for Sooners vs. Jayhawks:
Oklahoma betting news: Sooners aim to snap 20-year drought in Lawrence
Oklahoma hasn’t won at Allen Fieldhouse since 1993, but Moser does have the guard play necessary to help produce an upset if he can keep Dickinson and Adams from feasting inside. 6-foot-10, 275-pounder John Hugley IV is a handful on the offensive end and has slimmed down some, but he’s still not much of a defender.
Individually, 6-foot-10 former walk-on Sam Godwin is probably the best bet to help counter Kansas’ frontcourt standouts, but the team will have to gang rebound collectively in order to have a chance at an upset. Rivaldo Soares, more of a wing, was lauded as the key to helping take down Iowa State in the conference opener last week, grabbing nine boards.
Guards Milos Uzan, Otega Oweh and the flammable Javian McCollum are plenty capable of generating enough offense to make the Jayhawks uncomfortable, particularly since Oweh is one of the best athletes McCullar has faced this season.
The key to withstanding a tough road atmosphere in Lawrence will be to avoid sloppy turnovers that lead to easy buckets since KU should get their share of those around the basket. TCU scored 25 points over the Sooners’ 14 turnovers on Wednesday.
Another key will be to hit a few perimeter looks, which is possible since McCollum comes in off a 5-for-9 game. Utah Valley transfer Le’Tre Darthard, who made three of his four looks from beyond the arc to help defeat the Cyclones, went 0-for-6 in Fort Worth.
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Kansas betting news: Concerns loom amid lineup change
Bill Self wrote the UCF loss off by stating that the Knights simply played harder and better. He’s taken the approach of not stressing over too much since the season is still relatively early, but stressed that Saturday’s game looms large given that a slide could throw the season off its axis.
Depth has been a season-long issue for the Jayhawks, but with Australian freshman Johnny Furphy playing better, Self plans on shaking things up by inserting him in the starting lineup in place of Elmarko Jackson. We’ll see if that improves both units.
Harris has had turnover issues that must be rectified. Dickinson feels alright despite not being quite 100 percent due to having knocked knees with a Horned Frogs player last week, which adds to a pretty glaring lack of true frontcourt depth.
Although a little adversity never hurts if you’re looking to strengthen a group’s resolve, Kansas’ slow start in conference play, which includes losing to the team expected by most to bring up the rear, is cause for concern.
UCF went on a 29-9 run to help defeat the Jayhawks, and it remains to be seen whether Dickinson’s knee issue is one that lingers. This game against the Sooners will present many challenges, especially since the need to prevent sloppy turnovers will intensify if OU’s desired faster pace prevails.
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Oklahoma vs. Kansas ATS pick
There are no easy outs in the Big 12 – Kansas just reinforced that to itself the hard way – but this particular Oklahoma squad isn’t the one it would choose to see if it could handpick Saturday’s opponent given its current issues.
Dickinson admits he’s hurting, and although he should still eat in the post, the Sooners are going to test out that knee by running whenever possible. They have the horses to make things awfully uncomfortable, better depth, and should be viewed as a significant threat to pull off an upset the way TCU was since it will likely employ a similar strategy as they attempt to take KU out of its element.
A little more home cooking could help the Jayhawks survive again, and going to Furphy as a starter seems like a sound tweak, but nothing coming easy for the preseason No. 1 these days is a theme that should continue.