USA TODAY Sports
Second-ranked Kansas has clinched at least a share of the Big 12 regular-season title for the 12th straight season and turns its focus on making it an outright crown when it visits No. 25 Texas on Monday. The Jayhawks clinched the title with Saturday’s 67-58 win over Texas Tech and are one title shy of UCLA’s 13 straight crowns in the Pac-10 from 1967-79 under legendary coach John Wooden.
Kansas has won nine consecutive games but coach Bill Self is wary of the short turnaround associated with the road game against the Longhorns. “These guys deserve a little reward,” Self said at a press conference. “I wish the Texas game was on a Tuesday or Wednesday but it’s not. We’ll be ready to play, doesn’t guarantee we play well, but these guys need to have some fun and enjoy themselves.” Texas has won three of its past four games and stands 14-2 at home after using a 22-0 run to rally for a 76-63 victory over No. 4 Oklahoma on Saturday. The Longhorns will be trying to even the season series after suffering a 76-67 setback at Kansas on Jan. 23.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
LINE HISTORY: The Jayhawks opened as 1.5-point road favorites over the Longhorns. The total is currently off the board.
Kansas – No injuries to report.
Texas – C C. Ridley (out indefinitely, foot).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Kansas (-17.95) – Texas (-11) + home court (-3) = Texas +3.95
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “Texas has been a tough out at home all year, but the Jayhawks have been taking care of business on the road since that loss to Iowa State in late January. There’s certainly a lot more for the Longhorns to get up for in this one, but right now we’re seeing the square players back the hottest squad in the country. Average Joe Public looking for a play Monday night is going to see the top-ranked team as a short favorite and lay the chalk. We haven’t seen any smart bets so far so it will be interesting to see if they want to get involved.” – Scott Cooley of BookMaker.eu.
ABOUT KANSAS (25-4, 18-9 ATS, 9-18 O/U): The depth was on display against Texas Tech when sophomore guard Svi Mykhailiuk came off the bench to score 17 points and make all five of his 3-point attempts. Mykhailiuk (5.8 scoring average) ranks fourth on the team with 31 3-point baskets and Self and the Jayhawks are hoping his streaky nature will become a thing of the past. “We always believed in Svi. Every day, even in practice, we try to tell him to keep his confidence,” junior guard Frank Mason III (13.6 average) told reporters. “We tell him he’s a great player and a great shooter and try to keep him going because we know he is a huge part of our team.”
ABOUT TEXAS (19-10, 15-13 ATS, 13-15 O/U): First-year coach Shaka Smart is one win away from a 20-win campaign that would mark the Longhorns’ 16th such season in the last 17 campaigns. Junior point guard Isaiah Taylor had 18 points against the Sooners for his 23rd double-digit outing of the season and he leads the Longhorns in scoring (15.5) and assists (5.0). Senior center Prince Ibeh was superb in the first outing against Kansas by swatting away a career-best seven shots and he has a team-leading 55 rejections.
* Kansas is 4-0 ATS in its last four road games.
* Texas is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games overall.
* Under is 7-1 in Kansas’ last eight games overall.
* Over is 4-1 in Texas’ last five games overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The early bettors love Kansas in this Big 12 matchup, with 70 percent of wagers on the Jayhawks.