The Kansas Jayhawks take on the Kentucky Wildcats in the annual Champions Classic in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Tuesday. Both teams are currently 1-1 on the season, and each has an opportunity to earn their second win of the season. Unfortunately, one of these top college basketball teams will be left with a losing record.
The Jayhawks are the better team entering this matchup, despite having the same record. They played an extremely tough game on Thanksgiving against No. 1-ranked Gonzaga.
The Jayhawks played well but lost 102-90 in a hard-fought game. Kansas won its last game against Saint Joseph’s.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, won their opening game against Morehead State. But they dropped their last game against the Richmond Spiders after having a contest against Detroit Mercy canceled. It was a disappointing loss against an unranked team.
Can the Wildcats prove last game was a fluke?
The Wildcats are led by Brandon Boston, Jr., a 6-7 freshman guard who’s ready to show he’s an NBA-caliber player. He’s averaging a team-high 17.5 points per game to go along with averages of 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.
Terrence Clark and Olivier Starr chip in 13.5 points and 12.5 points per game, respectively, to help out the Wildcats. Clark adds two steals per game (team-high), while Starr adds 1.5 blocks per game. Kentucky will need Clark, Starr, and Boston, Jr. to play well against Kansas if it wants an opportunity to win.
Can the Jayhawks prove they’re the superior team?
The Jayhawks are led by 6-6 sophomore guard Christian Braun, who’s averaging 19.0 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
He’s shooting 68% from the field and 64% from three-point range, showing his range from all areas of the court.
The Jayhawks also receive major help from three others on the team. Ochai Agbaji averages 17.5 points, Marcus Garrett averages 13.5 points per game, and Jalen Wilson averages 12.5 points per game. Together, they combine for 3.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, proving to be a good trio behind their star.
Betting Odds & Lines
Will Kentucky find its groove on Tuesday, or will the Jayhawks take the win in Indiana? FanDuel has Kansas as a 5.5-point favorite over Kentucky. It also has the over/under listed at 146.5 total points.
Free Betting Pick
It’s always an exciting matchup when the Jayhawks and Wildcats clash. They have a long history with each other, which adds to the pressure. This year, however, it’s clear there’s a favorite team, and the Wildcats are going to have to overcome a lot to win this game.
The Jayhawks score more often, shoot better, pass better, and steal the ball more often. The Wildcats, on the other hand, don’t allow as many points on defense, rebound the ball more, and block more shots than their counterpart.
It should be a good game, but I see the Jayhawks walking away with this one.
Final Score Prediction: 83-71, Kansas Jayhawks.
Betting Pick: Kansas Jayhawks (-5.5)