The Kansas Jayhawks will look for one final upset Monday against the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats as college basketball's national title will be earned.
Kansas was getting blown out by Ohio State Saturday, but rallied in the second half to win. Kentucky meanwhile handled Louisville, turning back repeated Cardinal runs to advance.
The Jayhawks improved their record as an underdog, while the Wildcats faltered for bettors, just failing to cover 8.5 points. The Final Four odds reflect the talent disparity in this game, but Kansas continues to produce scrappy efforts with superior hustle and conditioning.
Over the past 10 games for each team, the stats are almost identical. The average score for Kentucky is 73-62. For Kansas, it's 74-63. The average margin of victory is almost identical.
This game could come down to offensive rebounding where Kansas is aggressive and Kentucky vulnerable. [ Bet Kansas vs Kentucky at now ]
If nothing else, it offers Kansas the chance to stay close to Kentucky and to blunt some of their scoring runs.
Kentucky beat Kansas 75-65 in November, but that was a preseason battle with little bearing on this match. In the three previous meetings, Kansas won and covered each time dating to 2005.
The Wildcats sit at 37-2 (16-21-1 ATS) on the season. By comparison, the Jayhawks are currently 32-6 (19-17-1 ATS). Looking to wager on the totals? Kentucky is 16-19-2 OU, and Kansas is 14-22-1 OU.
Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Odds Shark Power Rankings have the Wildcats at No. 2 and the Jayhawks at No. 8 heading into this contest. Handicapping models at Odds Shark project a 85-81 result in favor of the Wildcats.
How They Match Up:
Rating these schools in several key categories is important for handicappers and Kentucky has the nation's No. 15-rated offensive output, at 77.6 PPG. The visiting Jayhawks defense ranks No. 42 allowing on average 61.6 PPG. The Wildcats FG% has averaged 49% so far, more than the Jayhawks marksmen have achieved on the year, 47.5% per game.
Defensively, Kansas features the nation's No. 18-rated defense on the road, allowing 61.5 points per game. Kentucky, meanwhile, comes in at No. 25 nationally in scoring at home.
Kansas was a 64-62 winner in their most recent outing at home against Ohio State. They covered the 3-point spread as underdogs. The Jayhawks grabbed a 64-62 win over the Buckeyes on Saturday, behind a 19-point effort from Thomas Robinson at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Kentucky was a 69-61 winner in their most recent outing at home against Louisville. They earned a push of the 8-point spread as favorites. The Wildcats grabbed a 69-61 win over the Cardinals on Saturday, behind an 18 -point effort from Anthony Davis at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.