Kansas Jayhawks vs. San Diego State Aztecs Pick-Odds-Prediction 1/5/14
San Diego State Aztecs (11-1) at Kansas Jayhawks (9-3)
College Basketball: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm (Allen Fieldhouse)
The Line: Kansas Jayhawks -9 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
In what could be a preview of an NCAA tournament matchup, 16th-ranked Kansas hosts #21 San Diego State Sunday for its final non-conference game before opening Big 12 play.
The Jayhawks are a surprising 9-3 after tight losses to Villanova, Colorado and Florida as many thought this team, made up almost entirely of fledgling superstars, would coast to the postseason largely unscathed after an impressive 94-83 victory over then #4 Duke Nov. 12. Defense, though, has been Kansas’s Achilles’ Heel. In their last outing against Toledo Dec. 30, the Jayhawks tied a season-worst 83 points allowed, 47 of which came in the second half, before seizing control early in the second to come out on top 93-83. Kansas shot 56 percent from the field and hit 7 of 14 from distance, but allowed the Rockets to shoot 46 percent from the floor and 56 percent from beyond the arc. Sophomore F Perry Ellis had a team-high 21 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman G Andrew Wiggins and junior G Naadir Thorpe both added 20 points. Through 12 games, the Jayhawks are averaging 79.4 ppg on 50 percent shooting and Wiggins leads the team with 15.9 ppg.
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San Diego State, meanwhile, comes in with just one loss to then #6 Arizona Nov. 14, which only got away from them in the final two minutes. The Aztecs have since won 10 straight, including consecutive wins over ranked Creighton and Marquette teams. In their last outing against Colorado State Jan. 1, San Diego State held the Rams to 38 percent from the field and just 3 of 14 from beyond the arc for a 71-61 victory. Senior G Xavier Thames scored a game-high 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting and connected on 3 of 6 from downtown, while sophomore F Winston Shepard added 17 points and hit 5 of 8 from the stripe. On the season, the Aztecs are averaging 76.7 ppg on 46 percent shooting and Thames leads the team with 16.3 ppg on 44 percent from the field.
The line in this one is currently set at -9 for Kansas and they’ve been able to counter suspect defense—the Big 12’s second to last scoring defense allowing 68.8 ppg—by shooting at the nation’s 5th best clip (.509 pct). Somehow, though, in each of their three losses, the Jayhawks have outshot their opponent and still come up short. On the flipside, San Diego State is a solid team likely to cause some fits with their length, but Allen Field House can be a daunting place for visitors, evidenced by Kansas having won 34 of its last 35 there. Look for that trend to continue.