The Kansas Jayhawks still have a shot at winning their 15th straight Big 12 men’s basketball title, but they have plenty of work left to do. The first step for the Jayhawks will be beating a tough Oklahoma Sooners team on the road on Tuesday night. The Jayhawks beat the Sooners by a score of 70-63 earlier this season, but this Kansas team is significantly different from that team. Expect the Lloyd Noble Center to be rocking with Sooners fans in this game.
Kansas looked to be dead in the water just a few weeks ago, but the Jayhawks have won five of their last six games to get back into the race. Kansas comes into this game with an 11-5 record in Big 12 play, and are just one game out of first place. The Jayhawks are the 13th ranked team in the country. Oklahoma has won three of their last four games, but the Big 12 season hasn’t gone very well for the Sooners. Oklahoma is just 6-10 in conference play, but are 18-11 overall. Kansas is -1.0 over Oklahoma in this game.
It’s the Dedric Lawson Show For Kansas
Injuries and off-court issues have decimated the Kansas roster this season, and this isn’t one of the more dominant Jayhawks teams. Kansas is averaging just 75.8 points per game so far this season while allowing 69.8 points per contest. The Jayhawks are without center Udoka Azubuike and shooting guard Lagerald Vick. Head coach Bill Self has had to piece together this roster, but might be doing the best job of his Hall of Fame coaching career.
Even though the Jayhawks have had to deal with adversity, they still have plenty of talent to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. The one constant for the Jayhawks this season has been forward Dedric Lawson. Lawson is leading the Jayhawks with 19.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season, despite seeing a double-team in almost every game. Guard Devon Dotson has stepped up his play of late as well and is averaging 11.8 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the three-point line. The Jayhawks are a very young team that continues to improve, but it helps to have one of the best players in the country leading the way.
Sooners Have Plenty of Shooters
The Oklahoma Sooners saw point guard Trae Young go to the NBA after last season, but they still have plenty of offensive talent on the roster. The Sooners are averaging just 71.4 points per game, but they have the ability to put up a big number in any game. Oklahoma lives and dies by the three-pointer, and are shooting better than 34 percent from the three-point line as a team this season. The Sooners don’t really have a true low post threat to combat Lawson, but they have a ton of shooters that can overcome their lack of height and strength down low.
Guard Christian James and forward Brady Manek are the two best shooters and offensive players for the Sooners this season. James leads the team with 15.1 points per game and hardly ever comes off the floor for Oklahoma. Manek has chipped in with 11.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and has the ability to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting. Oklahoma doesn’t have much depth, but if they are making shots can beat anyone in the country.
Oklahoma Stuns Kansas at Home
Kansas appears to have figured things out of late, but they have looked vulnerable on the road all season long. The Jayhawks rely heavily on Dedric Lawson, and you can expect Oklahoma to take him away on Tuesday night. The Sooners shoot much better at home, and their offense will carry them to an upset win in this game. Bet the Oklahoma Sooners +1.0 over the Kansas Jayhawks.