The Daily Sweat: Can Kansas go back to back? Jayhawks at TCU as they chase No. 1 seed
One of the stories of the college basketball season is that the blue bloods are down. Most of them anyway.
Kansas is doing just fine. The Jayhawks are 22-5, ranked in the top five and currently projected as a No. 1 seed by every relevant mock bracket on the internet. The Jayhawks won a championship last season, and might do it again this year.
Kansas has another hurdle on its way to that No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament as it goes on the road to face TCU. The Horned Frogs are a 1.5-point favorite at BetMGM.
What Kansas has done is impressive. The Jayhawks lost many key pieces from last season and it really hasn't mattered. Jalen Wilson has stepped up to an All-American level. Freshman Gradey Dick, a McDonald's All-American, has lived up to the recruiting hype. K.J. Adams has gone from little-used freshman to averaging 10.8 points per game as a sophomore.
Kansas is balanced on offense and defense, and there's really no weakness on their profile. The Jayhawks had a three-game losing streak in January, but that probably says more about a tough Big 12 than Kansas. Kansas has won six of seven and four in a row. That includes an impressive 87-71 win against Baylor on Saturday, with a huge second-half surge to get the win.
Then why is Kansas an underdog against TCU, which just snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday? The Horned Frogs struggles were, in large part, due to an injury to Mike Miles Jr., who averages 17.9 points per game. Miles returned on Saturday and was effective for 35 minutes. A full-strength TCU team is pretty strong, and it's hard to win on the road in college basketball. Don't automatically assume a probable future No. 1 seed in Kansas is going to win as a small road underdog.
It should be a great college basketball game in late February. If Kansas can pull off a win, it's further validation that the Jayhawks will be one of the teams to beat in March.
Here is the first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
More college basketball
The first Big Monday game is a bummer. Louisville has fallen hard this season and is an 18.5-point underdog at Duke, which has been good but not great. It's still a chance to take a look at Duke, who could be a factor next month.
A better game is Oklahoma State at West Virginia. Both teams are projected to be in the NCAA tournament. West Virginia is a 5.5-point favorite, and Oklahoma State is capable of keeping it close.
Otherwise it's a pretty typical light Monday in the college hoops world. And there's no NBA as its all-star break carries on.
NHL has 6 games
There are six NHL games on Monday but three have a home favorite of -250 or longer. That includes the Boston Bruins as a -300 favorite against the Ottawa Senators.
The most compelling game could be the Winnipeg Jets at the New York Rangers, because the Ranges are the hottest team in hockey. The Rangers haven't lost in regulation since Jan. 15. They come home after a successful 3-0-1 road trip.
What's the best bet?
There's not much to choose from but I'll take TCU as a small favorite. When TCU has been healthy, it has been an impressive team. TCU won by 23 at Kansas earlier this season, and for those who believe in revenge angles, it's a strong one for KU. It also shows how strong the Horned Frogs can be when they're right, and TCU is going to want to start to turn its season back around now that Miles is back in the lineup.