NCAA Basketball Betting: Austin Peay vs. Kansas

NCAA Basketball Betting:  Austin Peay vs. Kansas

One of the toughest handicapping situations in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament actually involves the biggest mismatches. Double digit pointspread favorites–particularly pointspread favorites of 20+ points–are a very tricky proposition. The kneejerk reaction among the ‘public’ is to lay whatever price with the better known, more formidable team. That’s not always the best idea. At the same time, some underdogs show up determine to be a feisty opponent while others show up just ‘happy to be there’ and stand their starstruck while the better known opponent walks all over them.

This game looks like a horrible mismatch on paper–the top seeded Jayhawks against a team that most people couldn’t locate on a map (Austin Peay is located about 40 miles northwest of Nashville in Clarksville, TN). The Governors have played very good basketball this year–at least in the second half. They got off to a shabby start and were going nowhere at 9-12 in mid January. They shuffled the lineup a bit and went on a tear–they won 8 of their final 10 games and became the first #8 seed to win the Ohio Valley Conference tournament and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In other words, this isn’t a ‘garden variety’ 18-17 team. But does that matter against mighty Kansas? We think it does. This Jayhawks squad doesn’t have the rebounding usually associated with the program and that makes the Kansas size and strength advantage a little less problematic for Austin Peay. Plus if any team is going to be ‘overvalued’ by the influx of recreational players that show up at tournament time it’s going to be the top seed of the entire tournament.

Kansas doesn’t have a decent pointspread record in NCAA tournament play. They’ve failed to cover 3 of their last 4 NCAA tournament games. They’re also 15-17-1 ATS in tournament play since 2006 including 12-14-1 as a favorite. Plus what motivation does Kansas *have* to lay the smack down on a completely overmatched foe? They’ve got a couple of potentially tricky second round matchups on deck (Connecticut, Colorado) and it’s hard to see any compelling reason they’ll be interested in dropping a 30 point beating here.