The top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks are the favorite to make it out of the Midwest region, but they will get a matchup with the No. 4 seed Providence Friars, which came in as a trendy upset pick in the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Friday night’s contest will get started at 7:29 p.m. ET and will air on TBS with the Jayhawks as the expected winner according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks: 30-6 (14-4 Big 12):
First round result: 83-56 vs. No. 16 Texas Southern
Second round result: 79-72 vs. No. 9 Creighton
KenPom rating: 5 Overall, 6 Offense, 26 Defense
NET ranking: 6, (12-5 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Ochai Agbaji (19.3 ppg)
Key stat: Remy Martin scored 35 points in 50 minutes of game time during the NCAA Tournament despite averaging 8.1 points per contest.
The Kansas Jayhawks did what No. 1 seeds should do to No. 16 seeds when they crushed the Texas Southern Tigers in Round 1 and held on to beat the No. 9 seed Creighton Bluejays, which hung with Kansas till the final minutes.
Ochai Agbaji is one of the best scorers in the country and does a ton of damage from three-point range where he shoots 40%.
Watch for Kansas to push the pace offensively. The Jayhawks play at a quick tempo, which could make Providence uncomfortable.
No. 4 Providence Friars: 27-5 (14-3 Big East):
First round result: 66-57 vs. No. 13 South Dakota State
Second round result: 79-51 vs. No. 12 Richmond
KenPom rating: 33 Overall, 32 Offense, 58 Defense
NET ranking: 32, (5-3 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Nate Watson (13.5 ppg)
Key stat: Providence shot 45.5% from the three-point line on 44 attempts in their first two NCAA Tournament games.
The Providence Friars were a popular upset pick when the brackets were released, but they beat the No. 13 seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits by 9 points and clobbered the No. 12 Richmond Spiders by 28 to reach the Sweet 16.
Noah Horchler was a monster on the glass his last time out with 14 rebounds against Richmond. This was his 12th game grabbing at least 10 rebounds this season.
Watch for Providence to slow this game down as much as possible. The Friars rate No. 283 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo, and less possessions will give the best chance of an upset.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Kansas -7.5
Point total: 141.5
Moneyline: Kansas -335, Providence +260
Against The Spread Pick: Kansas -7.5
Point total pick: Under 141.5
Pick to Win: Kansas
Providence will do enough defensively and slow things down to keep this game from falling short of the total, but Kansas has too good of an offense for the Friars to keep up with. Watch for the Jayhawks to pull away in the final minutes, cover this number and advance to the Elite Eight.
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