The Kansas Jayhawks are one of college hoops’ top contenders this year. Bill Self’s squad will have its share of early tests, while facing a stacked schedule in Big 12 Conference play.

Are you prepared for the upcoming NCAA basketball season?

One of the favorites to win it all this year, the Kansas Jayhawks are listed at 11/2 NCAA basketball odds to run the table in “March Madness.” 

Jayhawks end with momentum

Kansas began last season with high hopes, while notably dipping in February with three straight losses against Big 12 foes. The Jayhawks resurged to end the year with wins in 12-of-14 contests, while cashing at an 11-3 ATS clip.

Jayhawks mates Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey departed for the NBA, following top numbers in the team’s scoring (16.4 PPG) and rebounding (8.4 RPG), respectively. The duo led their squad to a Big 12 Tournament title, thrashing Kansas State in a 70-54 final, while edged by Michigan in the “Sweet Sixteen” of the “Big Dance,” 87-85.

Wiggins leads new recruits

Image previewKansas has lined up a loaded recruiting class, led by forward Andrew Wiggins. The Ontario native comes in as the 2013 Gatorade National Player of the Year, turning down offers from Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State.

Wiggins is joined by five-star freshmen Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid, while transfers Tarik Black and Hunter Mickelson add themselves to the Jayhawks’ front court. Kansas’ Naadir Tharpe and Jamari Traylor return for their junior and sophomore years, leaving some added depth after pitching in their share of minutes last season.

Jayhawks meet Duke early

Kansas will waste no time seeing how its roster stacks up, meeting the Duke Blue Devils in November’s Champions Classic at Chicago’s United Center. Wiggins and Co. finish the month’s action with the three-day “Battle 4 Atlantis,” opening against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

December’s slate features a road date with the Florida Gators as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, while hosting the Georgetown Hoyas. The team’s non-conference play ends with a pair of home affairs against the Toledo Rockets and the San Diego State Aztecs.

Big 12 action in January has a pair of circled home dates for the Jayhawks, meeting the Kansas State Wildcats and Oklahoma State Cowboys. Kansas starts February with a stretch of four road games over two weeks, making visits to Texas, Baylor, Kansas State and Texas Tech.

Kansas not worth the ‘chalk’

Kansas has a promising lineup and should be a top seed come March, but the Jayhawks will have their share of spots as overvalued ‘chalk.’  Last season saw Kansas start with a 0-3 spread mark at NCAA basketball betting, while moving to a 9-13 ATS mark through early February.

The Jayhawks had their share of steam in home affairs down the stretch, cashing with a 7-1 spread record over their final eight matchups at Allen Fieldhouse. Self’s squad held foes to 55.9 PPG through that span, with the sole loss coming in an 85-80 defeat to Oklahoma State.

Kansas should again rack up its share of wins in Lawrence, but its new recruits could see their share of growing pains in big road spots. Reaching success in the postseason comes from pulling out games against rivals away from home and the Jayhawks could become too overvalued there for your sports picks.

Look to back the Jayhawks in mid-season home dates again, but avoid an early futures position until seeing how the new starting five stacks up on the road.

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