Bill Self has more to do with Kansas earning this trip to Monday’s final, but there comes a point when coaching cannot overcome talent.
And that point, for Jayhawk fans and bettors, has arrived.
Self’s masterful coaching got Kansas past UNC and Ohio State, but the Tar Heels were missing their point guard and OSU choked down the stretch. Facing John Calipari and his uber-talented group of Kentucky Wildcats is where the run ends.
"Oddsmakers opened the Wildcats at -6 and the number has climbed to -7 at one shop," said Mark Presley of OddsShark.com, SBNation’s odds partner. "And the majority of betting on Kentucky has pushed past the 60 per cent mark."
On paper, this is a tight statistical matchup. A First Team All-American on each side (Thomas Robinson for Kansas, Anthony Davis for Kentucky) and almost identical records over the past several weeks. In 10 recent games, each is 9-1 and the average margin of victory for both teams is 11 points.
But even with oddsmakers betting that Robinson will outscore Davis (the prop line is -3.5 for Robinson), the expectation is a Kentucky cover.
Fans looking to extract some handicapping hints from the November battle between these teams should look elsewhere. Kentucky beat Kansas 75-65 in that game, but it was a preseason battle with little bearing on this match.
And in many instances, the Final Four prop action offers more profit potential. Think the game will feature a lot of three-point shooting? The OVER is 10.5 total treys.
Think Davis will dominate the paint and continue his record-setting play with blocks? The over under is 4.5 blocks for the future No. 1 pick in the draft.
Predicted Score: 85-81 Kentucky
ATS Pick: Kansas +6.5 points
How They Got Here:
Kansas was a 64-62 winner in their Final Four outing against Ohio State. They covered the three-point spread as underdogs behind a 19-point effort from Thomas Robinson at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Kentucky was a 69-61 winner in their Final Four matchup against Louisville. Bettors earned a push of the 8-point spread as favorites behind an 18-point effort from Anthony Davis at Mercedes-Benz Superdome (although many bettors got the Cardinals at +8.5 points earlier in the week and won their wagers).