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Kansas vs Howard Picks, Odds & Lines (March 16)

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in College Basketball

Updated Mar 15, 2023 · 1:44 PM PDT

Jalen Wilson driving on defender
Mar 11, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Jalen Wilson (10) drives to the basket during the first half against the Texas Longhorns at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Kansas Jayhawks are hefty 21.5-point favorites vs 16-seed Howard in Round 1 of the NCAA Tournament
  • Howard has won 14 of their last 16, while KU is coming off a 20-point loss to Texas in the Big 12 Tournament final
  • See below for the latest Howard vs Kansas odds, plus predictions and analysis

Can the Howard Bison (22-10, 18-13-0 ATS) become the next UMBC?

They 16th-seed in the West Region will get its shot when they square off with the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks (27-7, 16-18-0 ATS) in  First Round action at the NCAA Tournament.

Kansas has not had a banner stretch heading into March Madness, dropping two decisions to the Texas Longhorns in the last week, including their last game, a 20-point drubbing in the Big 12 Championship.

Howard, meanwhile, captured the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament title, beating Norfolk State. They come into this game winners of five straight and 14 of their last 16.

It all gets underway Thursday (March 16) at 2pm ET from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA. You can watch the game live on TBS.

Howard vs Kansas Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
[16] Howard Bison
+21.5 (-105) +1700 Ov 146 (-110)
[1] Kansas Jayhawks
-21,5 (-115) -5000 Un 146 (-110)

The Jayhawks are a massive 21.5-point favorite, and an extremely short -5000 on the moneyline, an implied win probability of 98.04%. The game also features a total of 146.

While they are big favorites in the opener, Kansas isn’t the favorite in their corner of the March Madness bracket — yet, they have the third-best odds to win the NCAA Tournament.

The winner of this game moves on to face the winner of no. 8 Arkansas vs no. 9 Illinois.

 

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Odds as of Mar 15 at DraftKings Sportsbook

Howard vs Kansas: What You Need to Know

If there is one legit quality that Howard can bring to the table, it’s their ability to shoot the money ball.

On the season, the Bison shot it at a 37.7% clip, which ranks 23rd in the NCAA, on the 21st-most attempts. Howard works at a tempo inside KenPom’s top 100, though they rank just 204th in offensive efficiency.

They’re led by guard Elijah Hawkins, who averages 13 points, 5.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds, while shooting a crisp 47.3% from beyond arc. Jordan Wood hoisted the most three-point attempts (169), hitting a at 37.9% clip and Marcus Dockery shot 44.4% on the 2nd-most attempts (144).

Their defense is a problem, surrendering 73.3 points per game (277th), allowing opponents to shoot 45.3% from the field (282%) and 35.1% from three (267th).

Howard vs Kansas Head-to-Head

Howard Bison
VS
Kansas Jayhawks
16 West Region Seed 1
22-12 Season Record 27-7
75.4 Points per Game 75.6
73.3 Points Against per Game 68.2
52.0% Effective FG% 52.4%
50.6% Opponent Effective FG% 47.1%

If you take away their losses to Texas, KU has lost just once since Feb 4. However, those L’s loom large, particularly the pitiful 76-56 loss in the Big 12 Tournament final.

Jalen Wilson, a first-team All-American selection, had 24 points and six rebounds in the loss, while Joseph Yesufu was the only other player to crack double digits, with 11 points and four rebounds.

As a team, Kansas shot just 41.4% from the field, including a dreadful 4-for-17 from three-point range.

The linkage to the Jayhawks’ struggles has been the play of Gradey Dick. In losses to Texas, he combined to score a total of 12 points on 5-for-16 shooting. In their loss to Iowa State, he had just seven points on 2-for-6 shooting and five turnovers.

Perhaps a trip out of the pressure cooker that is the Big 12 is all they need. Kansas features an offense that’s 91st in scoring (75.6) and 73rd in field goal shooting (46.4%).

Defensively, Kansas allows 68.2 points, and hold teams to 41.3% shooting (50th) and 31.5% from distance (58th).

Howard vs Kansas Prediction

Before you start thinking upset (or even a cover) after seeing the Bison are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 vs teams with a winning record, you have to consider competition level.

Howard ranks a lowly 313th on KenPom in strength of schedule metric, while the Jayhawks sit in the top spot, and were still able to produce the 7th-best defensive efficiency rating, and 29th in offensive efficiency.

The Jayhawks have history on their side: no. 1 seeds are 135-1 all time against 16-seeds, with UMBC knocking off Virginia in 2018 the only blip on the record.

Howard’s major flaw is turnovers — their 16.3 per game is 350th in the NCAA.

We know KU rolls, but the massive point spread is daunting for a team that’s looked uneven in the home stretch.

So let’s bank on the Jayhawks’ defense keeping this total under — which has hit in their last seven games.

Pick: UNDER 146 points (-110)

 


Other first round March Madness previews:

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