Teams Meet in First Round Again
The defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks will hope to avoid a big upset when they open NCAA Tournament play against the Howard Bison.
Howard is making its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament and facing a familiar opponent in Kansas. The Jayhawks and Bison met in Howard’s only other tournament appearance in 1992. The teams were seeded the same as this year, with Kansas winning 100-67.
Both teams had solid conference tournaments, with Howard winning the Mid-Eastern Tournament to be an automatic qualifier. Kansas made it to the Big 12 championship game where it fell to Texas.
According to college basketball lines, Kansas is a 20½-point favorite.
Kansas Offense Falls Apart
The Kansas Jayhawks have one of the best offenses in the Big 12, but it wasn’t to be seen when they fell to Texas in the championship game.
Kansas’ offense is sixth in scoring and second in shooting percentage, averaging 74.9 points on 46.6% shooting, and it led to the team winning the Big 12 regular-season title.
However, the Jayhawks have had difficulty against Texas, as their two losses in their past four games came against the Longhorns. Kansas’ offense failed to show in either game, with the Jayhawks averaging 57.5 points on 38.8% shooting.
Kansas is usually an offensively balanced team, with four players averaging double figures, and it’s one of the reasons the Jayhawks cruised through the tournament. Against Texas, though, Jalen Wilson was the only player to do any offensive damage.
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) March 5, 2023
Howard may not pose much of a defensive threat to Kansas, but the Jayhawks’ offense needs to be more consistent for them to make a run in the tournament.
Howard: Offense Leads the Way
The Howard Bison are also led by their offense and it is one of the reasons Howard finished the season winning five in a row as well as its conference tournament.
Howard was third in the Mid-Eastern Conference in both scoring and field goal percentage, averaging 75.5 points a game on 46.1% shooting with three of its players averaging double figures.
The Bison are also one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the country, as their 37.7% 3-point shooting percentage is 25th in the nation. Leading scorer Elijah Hawkins averages 13.0 points and shoots 47.3 percent from distance.
Although Howard’s offense remained balanced throughout the whole tournament, getting contributions from multiple players, its shooting efficiency tapered as it went on and the Bison faced stronger defensive teams. The Bison began their conference tournament shooting 50.7% and scoring 91 points, but they shot 40.4% for 65 points in their last game.
Kansas is another strong defensive team, and Howard is going to have to be able to score against pressure to stay in the game. The Bison have seven players averaging at least 7.1 points.
Kansas vs Howard Game Injuries
Kansas vs Howard Head-to-Head
Kansas and Howard have met twice previously, with the Jayhawks winning both times. The last meeting between the two was in December 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse, where Kansas won 89-34.
According to college basketball odds, Kansas has +320 odds to make it to the Final Four while the sportsbook gives Howard +10000 odds to do so.
Kansas vs Howard Game Information
- Game: Kansas (27-7, 13-5 Big 12) vs Howard (22-12, 11-3 Mid-Eastern)
- Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA
- Day/Time: Thursday, March 16, 2 p.m. ET
- Kansas vs Howard Live Stream:TBS.com
Kansas vs Howard betting lines
Kansas vs Howard Picks and Prediction
Both teams are coming off strong conference seasons and while the NCAA Tournament is all about upsets, this matchup isn’t one of them.
Kansas is looking to bounce back in a big way after its 20-point loss to Texas in the conference championship. A huge win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament is the way to do it. Howard’s strong shooting may keep it close for a bit, but the Bison don’t have the defense to keep the Jayhawks in check. Kansas should run away with the win.