The Jayhawks are favored by -2.5 points heading into the March 11th Oklahoma vs Kansas matchup despite missing two key contributors. David McCormack and Tristan Enaruna will miss the Big 12 tournament due to the roommates testing positive for COVID.
Those absences open up a great opportunity for the Sooners, who have dropped 9 spots to #25 thanks to four straight losses to end the regular season. OU has a tournament win under their belts, squeaking by Iowa State 79-73 on Wednesday as -11 point favorites. Does the short turnaround leave Oklahoma vulnerable even against a thin Jayhawks squad?
OU Is In a Funk
The Sooners did lose four straight down the stretch, but the only real embarrassing defeat was 57-62 at Kansas State as -10 point favorites. Otherwise the last three have been an OT loss to #12 Oklahoma State, followed by a 4 point loss to the Cowboys. Oklahoma closed out the year falling by 4 to #13 Texas.
Those are a couple good teams, but so is Kansas, who went on a 7-1 run to close out the regular season. Is there anything to take from Oklahoma’s 6-point win over Iowa State in the opener? The Sooners were up 8 at half and the game probably wasn’t as close as the final score indicated, but a 2nd half run from the Cyclones made OU burn up more energy than they may have wanted.
De’Vion Harmon had 18 points vs. ISU, but also logged 37 minutes. Austin Reaves had 21 points in 33 minutes and Elijah Harkless also logged 35. Those are the top three scorers for Oklahoma, will they be ready for the back to back?
Kansas Tries to Fill Holes
The loss of McCormack is definitely going to be felt coming into the March 11th Oklahoma vs Kansas matchup. McCormack had 20 points as Kansas handed Baylor their 1st loss of the season and followed that up with 18 points, 10 rebounds to lead the win over UTEP to close out the regular season.
Enaruna wasn’t much more than a role player, but that’s still one less body for Bill Self. The Jayhawks also have four other players besides McCormack that average in double figures, Ochai Agbaji had 19 vs. UTEP to close out the regular season, Jalen Wilson has double digit rebounds in 7 of the last 9, and Marcus Garrett has double figures in 4 of the last 5. KU seems like they’ll be fine.
This will be the third meeting between the teams this season, with each winning on their home court. KU won 63-59 in Lawrence and Oklahoma returned the favor 75-68 back on their own court. Reeves added 18ppg in the two meetings, and unfortunately for Kansas, McCormack had 17 in their win.
Free March 11th Oklahoma vs Kansas Pick
How big will the loss of McCormack be? Kansas did go on a 7-1 run down the stretch including handing Baylor their only defeat of the year, but that was also with the offense running through their big man. This game would’ve been a close one if both teams were healthy, a man down gives OU the edge.
Oklahoma 72 – Kansas 67
Free Pick: Oklahoma +2.5