College Basketball Betting Preview: Kansas Jayhawks at USC Trojans

#11 Kansas Jayhawks at Southern California Trojans
Galen Center – Los Angeles, California
Thursday, December 22, 2011, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports Net
Opening Line: Kansas -6 1/2
Current Line: Kansas -6
Opening Total: 121 1/2
Current Total: 120 1/2
Opening Money Line: Kansas -310 / USC +260
Current Money Line: Kansas -265 / USC +225

Thomas Robinson and the Kansas Jayhawks travel to LA to take on the USC Trojans Thursday night. The Jayhawks are 6 point road favorites.

The Kansas Jayhawks are 7-3 under coach Bill Self and ranked #11 in the latest poll. However, the Jayhawks are coming off an 80-74 upset at the hands of Davidson Monday night in Kansas City. Kansas also has losses to Kentucky and Duke both on neutral sites. The Jayhawks have wins over Georgetown, UCLA, Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Long Beach St, and Ohio St. Kansas tries to rebound as they travel west to take on the 5-7 USC Trojans, under coach Kevin O’Neill. The Trojans have losses to Nebraska, San Diego St, Cal Poly, UNLV, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Georgia. USC has wins over South Carolina and TCU. Kansas leads the series 10-5 against USC. The Jayhawks have won 6 straight in the series, including 70-68 last year in Lawrence.

Kansas averages 75 points a game and is allowing 64 points a game. The Jayhawks are shooting 47.6% from the field, including 35.5% from the three point line. Kansas makes 71.5% of their free throws. Kansas averages 38.1 rebounds a game and allows 30.4. The Jayhawks average 15 assists, 15.1 turnovers, 7.3 steals, and 5.7 blocks a game. Kansas opponents are shooting 38.8% from the field including 35.8% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks force 15 turnovers a game.

Kansas Forward Thomas Robinson averages 18.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, along with 1.3 steals and blocks a game. He leads the Jayhawks in scoring and rebounding. Tyshawn Taylor averages 15.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists to lead the team, and 1 steal a game. He is shooting 50% from 3 point range.Elijah Johnson averages 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. Travis Releford averages 8.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 steals a game to lead the team. Jeff Withey averages 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks a game to lead the team.Guard Ben McLemore and forward Jamari Taylor are both ineligible this season.

USC is outscoring opponents 57-55 this season. The Trojans are shooting 42.4% from the field, including 30.9% from 3 point range. USC makes 61.5% of their free throws. The Trojans average 29.3 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of -2.1. USC averages 9.5 assists, 12 turnovers, 5.9 steals, and 2.5 blocks a game. Trojan opponents are shooting 39.2% from the field, including 34% from 3 point range. The Trojans force 16 turnovers a game.

USC guard Maurice Jones averages 15.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists,  and 1.6 steals a game. Jones leads the Trojans in scoring, assists, and steals. Aaron Fuller averages 11.3 points and 6.9 rebounds a game to lead the team. Dwayne Dedmon averages 7.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and and 1.3 blocks a game to lead the team. Byron Wesley and and Alexis Moore also contribute to the scoring. Guard Jio Fontan (knee) and forward Curtis Washington (shoulder) are both out for the season.

USC is 5-6 against the spread and the total is 4-7 this season. Kansas is 5-5 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season. The Jayhawks are 5-1 ATS after failing to cover, 8-2-1 after a straight up loss, 6-2-1 as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, including 3-1-1 on the road, 3-8 against teams with losing records, 2-6 in road games after 3 or more consecutive home games, 3-18 in Thursday games, and 0-4-1 in road games. The Trojans are 4-0 ATS against Big 12 teams, 5-1-2 in Thursday games, 5-2 as a home underdog, 18-8 as an underdog, 1-6 at home, and 1-11 after a win by 20 points or more.

Of USC’s 7 losses only UNLV and Minnesota beat them by double digits and neither won by more than 15 points. The rest of their losses are by 6 points or fewer. The Trojans don’t really get blown out because their slow down style frustrates opponents who want to play at a faster pace. Though Kansas would prefer to play in the 70’s or 80’s they do have a 67-63 win over Georgetown in the Maui Invitational. Georgetown is another good defensive team. I like Kansas to win a close game against USC but the Trojans to cover the number.

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