College Basketball South Region First Round: #16 Austin Peay Governors vs #1 Kansas Jayhawks

2016 NCAA Tournament
South Region – First Round
#16 Austin Peay Governors vs #1 Kansas Jayhawks
Thursday, March 17, 2016, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Wells Fargo Arena – Des Moines, Iowa
Opening Line: Kansas 26
Current Line: Kansas -26
Opening Total: 152
Current Total: 152
Opening Money Line: Kansas -39000 / Austin Peay +13000
Current Money Line: Kansas -39000 / Austin Peay +13000

Kansas is a huge favorite against Austin Peay in the south region in Des Moines.
Kansas is a huge favorite against Austin Peay in the south region in Des Moines.

When the brackets came out on Sunday, four powerhouse teams were sent to the same regional site in Des Moines, Iowa. Kansas, Connecticut, Kentucky and Indiana have combined for 20 national titles. The 30-4 Kansas Jayhawks are the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament but the Jayhawks were somewhat surprisingly sent to the South region in Louisville instead of the Midwest region in Chicago. Kansas will take on the #16 seed Austin Peay Governors of the Ohio Valley Conference in the first round Thursday. The winner will play either the #8 seed Colorado Buffaloes or the #9 Connecticut Huskies in the second round Saturday. This is the first ever meeting between Kansas and Austin Peay

Austin Peay is coached by Dave Loos. The Governors are making their seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament and first since 2008. The Governors finished 18-17 overall and entered the OVC tournament as the #8 seed with a 7-9 record. Austin Peay made an unlikely run in the OVC tournament winning four games including upsets against top seed Belmont in the semifinals and #2 seed UT-Martin 83-73 in the championship game. Still, the Governors avoided a trip to Dayton and the First Four because there were several worse teams that won their conference tournaments. Austin Peay has won six straight games.

Austin Peay has road losses at Vanderbilt, Indiana, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, IPFW, North Florida, Tennessee State, Belmont, Morehead State, and UT-Martin, plus a neutral site loss to Cal Poly in Greeley, Colorado. The Governors have home losses to IPFW, Texas A&M-CC, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, Eastern Illinois, UT-Martin and Murray State. Austin Peay has key road wins at Northern Colorado, Troy and Murray State and home wins over Wofford, Samford and Jacksonville State. The Governors are 13-15-1 ATS and the total is 19-9-1 this season. Austin Peay was a 4.5 point underdog against UT-Martin and the total was 146.5.

Kansas is coached by Bill Self. Kansas has gone to the NCAA Tournament every year since 1984 except for 1989. The Jayhawks have three national titles. Kansas is 30-4 and has won 14 straight games. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular season title for a 12th straight season. Kansas won the Big 12 tournament by beating Kansas State in the quarterfinals, Baylor in the semifinals and West Virginia 81-71 in the championship game.
Kansas is coached by Bill Self.

The Jayhawks lost to Michigan State in Chicago early in the season, and has road losses at West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. Kansas has wins over UCLA and Vanderbilt in the Maui Invitational, home wins over Harvard, Oregon State, Montana, Baylor, Oklahoma in triple overtime, TCU, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas State, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Iowa State, plus road wins over San Diego State, Texas Tech, TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, and Texas. Kansas is 20-11 ATS and the total is 11-19-1 this season. The Jayhawks were 5 point favorites against West Virginia and the total was 143.5.

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Austin Peay is both scoring and allowing 76 points per game. The Governors are shooting 46.3% from the field and 34.8% from three point range. Austin Peay makes 67% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.8% from the field and 35.9% from three point range. The Governors average 36.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 32.1 per game. Austin Peay averages 13.5 assists, 14 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 2.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 14.3 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 7 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.

Center Chris Horton averages 18.9 points, 12 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Josh Robinson averages 16.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Khalil Davis averages 11.2 points, 4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Kenny Jones averages 7.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. Five other players will get time in the rotation.

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Kansas is out scoring teams 82-68 this season. The Jayhawks are #14 in scoring nationally. Kansas is shooting 49.5% from the field and 42.7% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #6 in field goal percentage and #2 in three point shooting nationally. Kansas makes 70.2% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.6% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Jayhawks are #24 in field goal defense nationally. Kansas averages 37.9 rebounds a game and opponents average 30.2 per game. The Jayhawks average 15.9 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 6.7 steals and 4.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 11 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 3.4 blocks per game.

Forward Perry Ellis averages 16.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Wayne Selden, Jr. averages 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1 steal a game. Frank Mason III averages 13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Devonte’ Graham averages 11.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Brannen Greene averages 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Six other players get significant time in the rotation.

Austin Peay is 5-0 ATS in neutral site games and 4-0 after a straight up win, against teams with winning records, and overall.

Kansas is 5-0 ATS in non-conference games, 6-1 in neutral site games, 11-3 overall, 10-3 after a straight up win, 9-3 against teams with winning records, 13-5 after a cover, 8-19 in Thursday games, and 1-4 in NCAA Tournament games.

Austin Peay had a great run in the Ohio Valley tournament, but they simply don’t play enough defense to compete with Kansas. The Jayhawks will win this game easily but with such a large spread, a back door cover is always possible.

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