Kansas Jayhawks vs Detroit Titans in Midwest Second Round Betting Preview

2012 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Second Round
#15 Detroit Titans vs #2 Kansas Jayhawks
CenturyLink Center – Omaha, Nebraska

Friday, March 16, 2012, 9:57 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Kansas -15
Current Line: Kansas -13 1/2
Opening Total: 142 1/2
Current Total: 143
Opening Money Line: Kansas – 1400 / Detroit +900
Current Money Line: Kansas -1300 / Detroit +850

Kansas will open the NCAA tournament with the Detroit Titans Friday night in Omaha. The Jayhawks are heavily favored.

The 22-13 Detroit Titans finished tied for third in the Horizon League with Milwaukee and Butler. The Titans have won 10 of there last 11 games and 5 in a row including 70-50 against Valparaiso in the Horizon Championship game. You don’t often think of the Horizon League champion being a 15 seed. After all this is the league that has sent Butler to the national championship game the last two years. Plus, Detroit is a good team that gave Notre Dame, Alabama, and Mississippi St all they could handle in three losses decided by a total of 19 points. Detroit is coached by Ray McCallum and the Titans are making their first appearance in the tournament since 1999.

The Titans will face the #2 seed Kansas Jayhawks in Omaha Friday in the Midwest region second round. Kansas is 27-6 this season and won the Big 12 regular season title outright. The Jayhawks had won 9 games in a row before they were upset 81-72 by Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals. Kansas was in line for a #1 seed before that loss.  The Jayhawks are coached by Bill Self and making their 23rd straight trip to the tournament. Kansas leads the series 3-0 against Detroit, and the last meeting was in 2006.

Detroit has wins over Austin Peay, St. John’s, Western Michigan, Butler twice, Milwaukee, Valparaiso, and Cleveland St. The Titans have additional losses to George Washington, Bowling Green, Akron, Youngstown St, Cleveland St twice, Illinois-Chicago, Valpo twice, and Milwaukee.

The Jayhawks have losses to Kentucky, Duke, Davidson, Iowa St, and Missouri. Kansas has non-conference wins over Georgetown, UCLA, South Florida, Long Beach St, Ohio St, and USC. The Jayhawks swept every team in the Big 12 except Missouri and Iowa St.

Detroit is outscoring opponents 73-68 this season. The Titans are shooting 45.4% from the field including 30.2% from 3 point range. Detroit is shooting 73.4% from the free throw line. The Titans average 34.1 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +2.1. The Titans average 13 assists, 12.5 turnovers, 7.5 steals, and 4.6 blocks a game. Detroit opponents are shooting 43.9% from the field and 36.8% from 3 point range. The Titans force 15.1 turnovers a game.

Detroit guard Ray McCallum, son of the coach, averages 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. McCallum leads the Titans in scoring, assists, and steals. Chase Simon averages 13.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.2 steals a game. Eli Holman averages 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game. He leads the Titans in rebounds and blocks. Jason Calliste averages 10.4 points, 3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Doug Anderson averages 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Forwards Nick Minnerath and John Hoskins are both out for the season with knee injuries.

Kansas is outscoring opponents 75-62 this season. The Jayhawks are shooting 48.5% from the field, including 35.8% from the three point line. Kansas is #10 nationally in field goal percentage. Kansas makes 69.6% of their free throws. Kansas averages 36.9 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +5.9. The Jayhawks average 15.6 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 5.6 blocks a game. Kansas opponents are shooting 38.3% from the field including 34.7% from 3 point range. Kansas is #7 nationally in opponent’s field goal percentage. The Jayhawks force 14 turnovers a game.

Kansas Forward Thomas Robinson averages 18 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, along with 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks a game. He leads the Jayhawks in scoring and rebounding. Robinson is second in the country in rebounding and is a Naismith Award finalist. Tyshawn Taylor averages 17.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists to lead the team, and 1.2 steals a game. He is shooting 43.1% from 3 point range. Jeff Withey averages 9.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks a game to lead the team. Elijah Johnson averages 8.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals a game to lead the team.  Travis Releford averages 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals a game.  Guard Ben McLemore and forward Jamari Taylor are both ineligible this season.

Kansas is 16-15-1 ATS and the total is 12-18-2 this season. Detroit is 12-19-1 ATS and the total is 16-16 this season. The Titans are 4-1-1 ATS as an underdog of 13 points or more, 4-9 after a straight up win, 3-8-1 in non-conference games, 2-6 as a neutral site underdog, and and 1-4 in Friday games. The Jayhawks are 4-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 4-1 after failing to cover, 12-5 in Friday games, 2-5 in NCAA tournament games and in neutral site games.

Kansas has had an unfortunate tendency to lose against double digit seeds in the NCAA tournament like they did against VCU in the regional final last year. Detroit is a very dangerous team, and will hang around for a while, but Kansas should advance to the third round against either St. Mary’s or Purdue.

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