Arkansas Survives Tight Opener
The Kansas Jayhawks and Arkansas Razorbacks will meet in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after both won their first-round games with varying levels of difficulty.
The Jayhawks were without their leader in coach Bill Self, who has been recovering from a recent health issue – the same one that sidelined him during Kansas’ Big 12 Tournament run. Assistant coach Norm Roberts took his place once again after leading Kansas to the Big 12 championship game, where it fell to Texas. He helped lead the Jayhawks to a 96-68 first-round victory over Howard.
Arkansas had a tougher out in its 8/9-seed matchup with Illinois that lived up to the hype. Illinois battled the Razorbacks most of the way, but whenever the Illini got close, Arkansas pulled away, eventually emerging with a 73-63 victory to advance.
According to college basketball lines, Kansas is a three-point favorite in the game.
Kansas Weathers Storm
The Kansas Jayhawks may have been without their commander-in-chief in Self, but that didn’t matter when their defense played as well as it did on Thursday.
Kansas is in the top 10 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating. The Jayhawks’ points and field-goal percentage allowed were also fifth and second in the Big 12, respectively, with opponents averaging 67.9 points on 41.6% shooting against them, and that defense showed up in its first-round win.
Howard is a strong offensive team, averaging 75.5 points on 46.1% shooting. Though that offense kept the Jayhawks on the ropes in the beginning of the game, with the Bison shooting over 50% through the better portion of the first half, the Jayhawks kept them in check the remainder of the game.
Kansas held the Bison to 68 points on 38.8% shooting in the win. The Jayhawks also turned the Bison over, forcing 18 turnovers to lead to 20 points.
The Jayhawks’ defense will remain crucial as they try to move through the tournament.
According to NCAA basketball odds, Kansas has +1200 odds to win March Madness.
Arkansas Gets It Done Inside
The Razorbacks were able to move past Illinois despite most of their scoring coming from the inside.
Although Arkansas led the SEC in field goal percentage, averaging 47.5% shooting, it was 10th in 3-point shooting at 31.7% from beyond the arc, and that was reflected in Arkansas’ tournament win.
The Razorbacks shot 38.1% against the Fighting Illini, but most of it came inside, with 32 of Arkansas’ points coming in the paint. Arkansas rarely attempted the 3-pointer in the win, finishing 3 of 11 from beyond the arc.
Ricky Council flies through the air 💪 @RazorbackMBB pic.twitter.com/KaY3GhZBSZ
— CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 (@CBSSportsCBB) March 16, 2023
Arkansas also got a boost from the free throw line, finishing 22 of 29 from the charity stripe.
The Razorbacks will need to develop better outside shooting to make it past Kansas in the next round.
Kansas vs Arkansas Game Injuries
Kansas vs Arkansas Head-to-Head
Kansas and Arkansas have met 13 times, with the Jayhawks leading the series 8-5. The last time the two matched up was in November 2005 in the Maui Invitational, where the Razorbacks won 65-64.
According to college basketball odds, Kansas has +320 odds to reach the Final Four while the sportsbook gives Arkansas +2000 odds to do so.
Kansas vs Arkansas Game Information
- Game: Kansas vs Arkansas
- Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA
- Day/Time: Saturday, March 18, 5:15 p.m. ET
- Kansas vs Arkansas Live Stream: TBS.com
Kansas vs Arkansas Betting Lines
Kansas vs Arkansas Picks and Prediction
Kansas will look to become the first defending champion since 2015 to advance to the Sweet 16 when it meets the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second round.
Although the Jayhawks put up strong offensive numbers in their win, shooting 52.1% in the win, their defense showed up as well. Arkansas, meanwhile, survived a late-game push from Illinois to meet the No. 1 seed in round two. The Razorbacks held the Illini to 38.5% shooting, but their inability to get any scoring outside may prove to be an issue. Kansas’ capability to score all around the floor will help the Jayhawks secure the win and move on.
The Kansas Jayhawks are listed at -165 in our Vegas lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Jayhawks you have a chance to win $61. The Arkansas Razorbacks are +145, offering a chance to win $145 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Kansas Jayhawks a 62.26% chance to win, with the Arkansas Razorbacks at 40.82%.