No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Purdue Preview
Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City
When: Thursday, March 23, 9:39 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
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Betting on the Kansas Jayhawks (30-4)
No. 1 seed Kansas cruised to its second win of the tournament, dealing Michigan State a 90-70 loss in the second round to make it to the Sweet 16. It was another blowout win for the Jayhawks, who also crushed UC Davis in the tournament opener, 100-62.
The Jayhawks’ offense is simply unstoppable right now, which is pretty much what anyone was saying back in the regular season in which the team averaged 83.2 points per game. What’s even better for the Jayhawks is the peaking of freshman Josh Jackson at the right time. The prospect NBA lottery pick in this year’s draft, Jackson scored 23 points against the Spartans and 17 versus the Aggies, shooting at least 56 percent from the field in both games.
Jackson is barely the only player the Boilermakers have to worry about. This is a Kansas team that thrived on a three-headed guard attack of Jackson, Frank Mason III, and Devonté Graham. Mason is tops on the team with 20.8 PPG, while Graham is third with 16.4. The two combined for 38 points against the Spartans.
Landen Lucas needs to stay effective, particularly on the glass. He is on a three-game double-double streak, which includes his 10-point, 11-rebound performance in the Michigan State match. His defense in the paint is also worth watching against a Purdue team that is second in the nation in field goal percentage at the rim.
The Jayhawks hit their stride from long distance in the second round, going 8-for-20 on their three-point shots.
Kansas is 3-1 ATS in its last four games overall.
Betting on the Purdue Boilermakers (27-7)
Caleb Swanigan. Remember the name. The Purdue big man is certainly doing a good job of etching his name in the memories of even the casual college basketball fans with a string of powerful performances.
Swanigan was a force for Purdue in the Boilermakers’ 80-76 win over Iowa State in the second round, scoring 20 points and plucking down 12 rebounds. For those keeping an eye on this beast, that’s Swanigan’s fifth-straight double-double since the Big Ten Tournament.
Kansas isn’t much defensively so Swanigan could be lined up for another huge game. Kansas is just 173rd in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 72.1 points per game. On the flipside, the Boilermakers are 36th in scoring with 80.1 PPG. They’re better on defense than the Jayhawks, too. The Boilermakers are allowing just 67.5 points and 15th in KenPom’s defensive rating.
Purdue’s bench is going to be integral in Friday’s showdown with the Jayhawks. The bench tandem of Isaac Haas and Carsen Edwards has been big so far in the tournament. Hayes put up eight and 14 points, respectively against Vermont and Iowa State, while Edwards chipped in 12 and nine in those games.
Purdue is 3-1 ATS in its last four contests.
Kansas (-5.5) wins, 77-74.
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