No team has repeated as national champion in men’s college basketball since Florida in 2007, but Kansas has a very realistic shot to do so as the Jayhawks are the No. 1 seed in the West Region and face No. 16 Howard in NCAA Tournament first-round action on Thursday. Let’s get to the action by checking out the college basketball betting odds for this great game.
No. 16 Howard vs. No. 1 Kansas | 2023 NCAA Tournament Expert Analysis
How to Bet Howard vs. Kansas NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info
When: Thursday, 2 PM ET
Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa
Opening NCAAB Lines: Kansas -22.5 (total 145.5)
Why Bet on Howard?
Howard (22-12) won the MEAC regular-season title and then beat Norfolk State 65-64 in the conference tournament title game. Jelani Williams scored 20 points including two free throws with 6.1 seconds left to lead the Bison. It was Howard’s first MEAC Tournament title since 1992, which was also the last time the Bison won the regular-season championship until this season.
In the regular season, Howard led the MEAC in 3-point shooting (38 percent), was second in 3-pointers made per game (8.1), in free-throw shooting (72.2 percent) and third in field-goal shooting (46.0 percent), in rebounding (35.1 per game) and in assists (14.6 per game).
Howard is led by All-MEAC First Team selection Elijah Hawkins, All-MEAC Second Team honoree Steve Settle, III, All-MEAC Third Team recipient Williams MEAC Rookie of the Year Shy Odom.
Three of Howard’s players are averaging double figures in scoring this season. The top scorer is Hawkins, who’s producing 13 points per game and shooting 47.3% from long range. Settle III is averaging 11 points and 5.7 rebounds, and Odom has an average of 10.8 points per game. Howard’s bench has gotten some use, too; the team ranks 52nd in the nation in bench minutes at 36.3%.
MEAC Coach of the Year Kenneth Blakeney is in his fourth season at the helm, receiving numerous nominations for major awards. The Bison connected on 43% of their 3-point attempts in MEAC play this season. They do struggle taking care of the ball and are unable to defend the rim. According to KenPom.com, Howard’s turnover rate is 22.9%, or 356th in the nation.
Howard extends the tradition of strong representatives the MEAC has sent to the field of 68 in recent years. This season, the Bison won by 12 at Harvard and kept VCU close in a 10-point loss on the road. HU started conference play 7-9 despite playing 11 of those games away from home.
Howard is 0-2 against Kansas all-time, as the two teams last met on Dec. 29, 2011, with Kansas winning 89-34. The two teams first met on March 20, 1992 in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Dayton, Ohio, which Kansas won 100-67.
Why Bet on Kansas?
KU played in the Big 12 Tournament without head coach Bill Self due to illness but he’ll be back for the NCAA Tournament. Self was discharged from the University of Kansas Health System on Sunday and returned home. Kansas lost in the Big 12 Tournament championship game Saturday to Texas, but the Jayhawks still received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big 12 regular-season title.
The Jayhawks’ reaction to being sent to the desert was mixed, as they juggled the excitement of being a No. 1 seed one year after winning it all with the disappointment of not getting to play close to home. Had KU been the No. 1 in the Midwest, it would have played in Kansas City in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight if it got that far.
“I’m just shocked that we didn’t get the second overall seed,” said sophomore forward KJ Adams of the top seed in the Midwest which went to Houston. “It happens sometimes. I’m just excited that we get to play again. We had a tough loss (Saturday) night, but now we’re ready to bounce back and have a good game.”
The Jayhawks have been selected to the NCAA’s West Region for the seventh time, most recently playing in the West in 2021. Kansas won the West Region in 2003 to advance to the Final Four, as well as the Western Region in 1940.
Kansas has posted a 45-13 record as a No. 1 seed, after winning the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed in 2022. Kansas is 15-0 all-time against No. 16 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, while the Jayhawks hold a 115-48 record all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
Self’s team is led by All-American Jalen Wilson. The unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team selection, Wilson leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.1 points per game, which is 26th nationally. Wilson has two 30-point performances and 20 games of 20 or more points scored this season, including each of his last five games. He also leads the Big 12 with 8.4 rebounds per game and 22 double-doubles. Wilson ranks tied for 27th on the Kansas career scoring list, currently at 1,435 points, and his 791 career rebounds are 14th on the KU list. Wilson’s 28 career double-doubles are ninth on the KU all-time list.
- Bison are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Bison are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
- Bison are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Jayhawks are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 7-0 in Jayhawks last 7 overall.
- Expert Prediction
- Kansas 82, Howard 62
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