Clemson Tigers (25-9) at Kansas Jayhawks (29-7)
College Basketball: Friday, March 23, 2018 at 7:07 pm (CenturyLink Center-NE)
The Line: Kansas Jayhawks -5 -- Over/Under: 143 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Clemson Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks will square off at the CenturyLink Center Omaha this Friday night in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The 5-seed Clemson Tigers improved to 25-9 on the season and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997 after easily defeating the 4-seed Auburn Tigers, 84-53, this past Sunday. Clemson dominated Auburn on both ends of the court throughout the game and had no trouble pulling away for the victory after a 17-0 Tigers run gave Clemson a 35-15 lead with 2:51 left in the 1st half. Clemson shot 47.5% from the field while holding Auburn to just 25.8% shooting from the field and 21.9% (7-32) from beyond the arc in the win. Leading the way for the Tigers was Elijah Thomas who had a double-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. On the season, Clemson is averaging 73.8 ppg on 45.7% shooting from the field. The Tigers are averaging 8.3 three-pointers per game on 36.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Clemson has been led by Marcquise Reed (15.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.7 spg), Gabe DeVoe (13.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg), Shelton Mitchell (12.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.7 apg), and Elijah Thomas (10.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.0 apg, 2.2 bpg). Defensively, Clemson is holding their opponents to an average of 65.5 ppg on 40.4% shooting from the field. The Tigers have a rebound margin of 2.4 and a turnover margin of -0.1.
The 1-seed Kansas Jayhawks had all they could handle from the 8-seed, Seton Hall Pirates, however, the Jayhawks made it to their 3rd consecutive Sweet 16 after defeating Seton Hall by an 83-79 margin this past Saturday. Kansas led by a 31-26 margin at halftime and was able to hold off a late Pirates charge after taking a 71-63 lead with just 1:20 left in regulation. Kansas shot 50.0% from the field and 42.9% (9-21) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Jayhawks was Malik Newman who had 28 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. On the season, Kansas is averaging 81.4 ppg on 49.6% shooting from the field. The Jayhawks are averaging 10.0 three-pointers per game on 40.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Kansas has been led by Devonte’ Graham (17.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 7.5 apg, 1.6 spg), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (15.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.2 spg), Malik Newman (13.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg), and Udoka Azubuike (13.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.7 bpg). Defensively, Kansas is allowing their opponents to average 70.8 ppg on 42.2% shooting from the field. The Jayhawks have a rebound margin of 0.1 and a turnover margin of 1.4.
The Tigers are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral sites games. The Jayhawks are 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Clemson looked outstanding in both matchups against New Mexico State and Auburn and has been led by their defense that ranks 25th in scoring defense, 17th in defensive FG%, and 95th in rebound margin. Kansas hasn’t looked overly dominant in either matchup during the first two rounds, however, the Jayhawks have won 10 of their last 11 games and has been led by their offense that ranks 29th in scoring offense, 12th in FG%, and 11th in 3P-FG%. Kansas is going to be a tough team to beat, however, I really like how Clemson has looked defensively as of late and as I think they’ll be able to slow down the Jayhawks offense, I think taking the Tigers and the points is the play here. Good Luck!