Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#783 Kansas vs.
#784 Wisconsin
Thursday, November 24, 2022 at 11:00am EST
Written by Chris King

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It’s a semifinal matchup of the Battle 4 Atlantis on the hardwood when a member of the Big 12 takes on the Big 10 on the college hardwood down on an island paradise. The #8 Kansas Jayhawks are the “road” team as they take on the Wisconsin Badgers Thursday morning. Kansas advanced to the semifinals as they took down NC State 80-74 though they failed to cover as an 8.5-point favorite in their first-round matchup Wednesday afternoon. Wisconsin survived an absolute rock fight as they slipped past Dayton 43-42, winning outright as a 2.5-point underdog Wednesday afternoon. In the all-time series between the teams, the Jayhawks own a 3-1 advantage, including a 76-60 home win in the most recent matchup back on December 8, 1969.

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Kansas Jayhawks Seek to Remain Unbeaten

Kansas remained unbeaten as they managed to survive NC State’s high-powered offense in Bill Self’s first game behind the bench this season after serving a four-game suspension. The Jayhawks ran their mark to 5-0 and they look to maintain their unbeaten record on the season here. Against NC State, Kansas closed the first half on a 6-0 run to take a 39-31 advantage at halftime. After the Wolfpack rallied to tie the game at 63, Kansas scored the next four points and never let NC State even again as they went on to the victory. Kansas shot 41.4% from the field, including 10 of 21 from three-point range, and cashed in 22 of 29 free throw attempts, a vast improvement for a team that was shooting only 56.3% at the stripe coming into the contest. Gradey Dick led the Jayhawks with 25 points in the victory.

The Jayhawks are averaging a solid 80.4 points per game this season, putting them 72nd in the nation in scoring offense. Kansas collects 40 rebounds per contest and dishes out 19.4 assists a night. The Jayhawks are 123rd in scoring defense as they allow 67.4 points per contest this season. Jalen Wilson leads the Jayhawks this season in scoring as he averages 23.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists a night. Gradey Dick (18.4 points) and DaJuan Harris Jr. (10 points, 6.2 assists) have been solid options as well. Kevin McCullar Jr., MJ Rice, Bobby Pettiford Jr., Ernest Udeh Jr., Joseph Yesufu, K.J. Adams Jr., Michael Jankovic, Zuby Ejiofor, Zach Clemence and Kyle Cuffe Jr. all have to contribute on the offensive end of the floor. The Jayhawks shoot 48% from the field as a team this season. Kansas knocks down seven three-pointers a night while sinking 36.1 % from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks are struggling at the free throw line as they convert at a 63.6% rate so far this season, leaving them 311th in the country in that category.

Wisconsin Badgers Looking for Fifth Straight Win

Wisconsin was in a rock fight with Dayton in their first-round matchup and managed to do just enough offensively to scrape out a win in a game that set basketball back a few decades. The Badgers improved to 4-0 on the season but face a stiffer challenge here as they take on the unbeaten Jayhawks, who are more than capable of burying a team thanks to their offense. Against Dayton, Wisconsin scored the final seven points of the first half to lead by nine and survived going scoreless in the final 3:17 of regulation to earn the victory. The Badgers shot a putrid 23.7% from the field, including six of 27 from beyond the arc, but forced 17 Dayton turnovers in the victory. Connor Essegian was the lone player in double figures as he put up 13 points off the bench in the win.

The Badgers are 287th in the nation in scoring offense this season as they are putting up an average of 61 points per game. Wisconsin grabs 38.3 rebounds per contest and hands out 9.5 assists per game. The Badgers are 6th in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 49 points a night. Tyler Wahl leads the Badgers as he averages 11.8 points plus 6.8 boards a night on the season. Chucky Hepburn (8.8 points, four boards, three assists), Jordan Davis (eight points, five boards) and Steven Crowl (9.8 points, 7.5 rebounds) are good secondary options. Max Klesmit, Connor Essegian, Markus Ilver, Carter Gilmore, Jahcobi Neath and Kamari McGee all are called upon for key minutes and contributions for the Badgers. Wisconsin shoots just 35.4% from the floor as a team this season. The Badgers sink 7.8 three-pointers a game while hitting 33.7% from beyond the arc. Wisconsin is converting 75.7% of their attempts at the free throw line this year.

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While both teams are unbeaten heading into this semifinal matchup, that’s where the similarities end. Kansas is an effective offensive team that is averaging better than 80 points a game this season while Wisconsin just won a game where they shot under 24% from the floor and finished with 43 points over 63 possessions in the contest. The Badgers may be stingy on the defensive end of the floor but they don’t have the offensive firepower to contend with what Kansas brings to the table. The Jayhawks are an experienced team with plenty of guys that can step up and do damage offensively. Wisconsin doesn’t have the pieces to keep up when Kansas gets rolling in this contest. Take the Jayhawks here as they punch their ticket to the title game.

Prediction: Kansas Jayhawks

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Kansas has seen the over post a 3-2 mark in their five games in relation to the total on the season. The Jayhawks are 29th in offensive efficiency, seventh in defensive efficiency, 82nd in effective field goal percentage (53.3%), 33rd in effective field goal percentage defense (42.8%) and 23rd in block percentage on the defensive end (15.5%) this year. Kansas is above average in tempo as they are 69th in adjusted tempo according to KenPom with 71.5 possessions a night. Wisconsin has seen the under go 3-1 in their four games on the year. The Badgers stand 9th in defensive efficiency, 4th in effective field goal percentage defense (37.6%) and 1st in the nation by holding opposing teams to a pathetic 12.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Wisconsin is a slow-paced offensive team as they enter the game 295th in the nation in adjusted tempo according to KenPom with 66.7 possessions a night. The Badgers will try to keep things at a snail’s pace and with their poor shooting, this game winds up falling under the total.

Prediction: Under

Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.