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Samford vs Kansas Odds, Picks & Betting Predictions for the 2024 NCAA Tournament

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Updated Mar 20, 2024 · 2:59 PM PDT

Kansas Jayhawks guard Kevin McCullar Jr and head coach Bill Self
Mar 5, 2024; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) talks with head coach Bill Self against the Kansas State Wildcats during the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
  • The #13 Samford Bulldogs meet the #4 Kansas Jayhawks in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament
  • Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar both missed Kansas’ last game
  • Below, find the Samford vs Kansas odds, predictions, and latest injury news for Thursday’s game

Back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000, the #13 Samford Bulldogs (29-5, 3-0 neutral, 18-14 ATS) will have to contend with the #4 Kansas Jayhawks (22-10, 3-2 neutral, 17-17 ATS) in the first round of March Madness on Thursday, March 21.

Kansas and Samford are scheduled to tip-off at 9:55 pm PM ET at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City in the penultimate game of the opening day.

Despite a spate of injury concerns, the Jayhawks are sizable favorites in the Samford vs Kansas odds, but the line is trending in the Bulldogs’ direction.

Samford vs Kansas Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Samford Bulldogs +7 (-112) +230 Over 153.5 (-108)
Kansas Jayhawks -7(-108) -298 Under 153.5 (-112)

Kansas, which opened as an 8.5-point favorite over Samford on Sunday night, is currently a seven-point neutral-court favorite in Thursday’s college basketball odds. The Jayhawks’ moneyline odds have moved from -395 to -298, while the Bulldogs have improved from +310 to +230 to advance.

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Odds as of March 20. Lock in one of the best March madness sportsbook promos before betting on Samford vs Kansas.

Will Dickinson, McCullar Play for Jayhawks?

Kansas was without its two leading scorers and rebounders – Hunter Dickinson (18.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG) and Kevin McCullar Jr (18.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG) – in its Big 12 Tournament opener, a brutal 72-52 loss to Cincinnati in Kansas City.

Devastatingly for Kansas fans, McCullar has been ruled out (for the season) due to a knee injury he aggravated in the team’s regular-season finale against Houston, another horrendous loss (76-46).

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Dickinson, who dislocated his shoulder in the loss to Houston, is still listed as “questionable” in the March Madness injury reports. He participated in (non-contact) practice over the weekend. Personally, I would be surprised if he doesn’t suit up and try to give it a go, especially now that McCullar is officially out.

Kansas Doesn’t Have a Deep Bench

The absence of McCullar and potential absence of Dickinson will hit the Jayhawks hard. Only one other player on the team averages in double-figures – KJ Adams, 12.4 PPG – and only seven players in total average more than 7.6 minutes per game. Four of KU’s starters (including Dickinson and McCullar) average over 32 minutes per night.

The Jayhawks went 3-3 in games without McCullar this season. In addition to the blowout setback against Cincinnati, they also lost to Texas Tech (79-50 away) and BYU (76-68 home),  while beating OK State (83-54 home), Baylor (64-61 home), and Texas (86-67 home).

Even with McCullar playing 26 games, Kansas rated significantly on defense than offense this year (10th in defensive efficiency at KenPom and just 67th on offense). They are particularly poor from three, connecting at just 33.3% (209th in the country).

Samford Loves the Three

In a strong season for the Southern Conference (five teams in KenPom’s top 150), Samford was the class of the group from the outset. The Bulldogs entered conference play 11-2 and then reeled off 12 wins in their first 13 Southland games, ultimately winning the regular-season title with a 15-3 record (three games clear of Chattanooga and UNC Greensboro).

Samford then reeled off three neutral-court wins in the Southland Tournament – 70-57 over Mercer, 84-77 over Furman, and 76-69 over East Tennessee State – to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000. The Bulldogs’ first tournament appearance came in 1999 and the school is 0-2 all-time.

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Samford has lived and died by the three this season (mostly lived thanks to a 39.3 three-point percentage, which is eighth-best in all of Division I).

Led by 6’9 Australian forward Achor Achor (15.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 44.6 3P%), four Bulldogs average in double-figures and they finished the season eighth in the country in points per game (86.0 PPG).

One area where Samford can be exploited is on the glass. The Bulldogs were just 313th in defensive-rebound percentage (68%) and 127th at the offensive end (30.2%), making Dickinson’s rebounding prowess all the more important.

Samford vs Kansas Prediction

I picked Samford to win in my expert March Madness bracket and I’m not backing off that pick now. Even if Kansas was healthy, Samford would have a real chance to win this game straight-up. Their fast-paced offense (14th in the nation in tempo) and deadly three-point shooting make the perfect recipe for upsetting a bigger, more-experienced team like the Jayhawks.

Kansas’ big advantage should be on the glass, but it’s hard to see Dickinson (10.8 RPG) being as effective as he usually is given his shoulder issues, and McCullar was the team’s second-leading rebounder.

While the moneyline has moved in the last 48 hours, the price is still right to roll with a Samford upset.

Samford vs Kansas pick: Samford moneyline (+230)



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