Kentucky simply wasn’t ready to play again which is shocking and while the Wildcats willed their way to an 8 point win it wasn’t close to enough for us to have a shot at covering the big number. We did something we rarely do in that game last night and back a big time public favorite but the game so closely resembled the spot we cashed easily in with Auburn on Friday that it was worth the move and it simply didn’t work out. Tough run of late but we are 3-3 in NCAA Hoops and year in and year out we have been profitable here, especially in these early non-conference games so let’s dust ourselves off and look to start a big run tonight as we head to The Sunflower State where the #4 Kansas Jayhawks take on the East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. We know Kansas is good, they are a perennial Top 10 team every year so let’s start the analysis here by breaking down an East Tennessee State team that is arguably the best mid major team in the country this year. East Tennessee State was really good last year, they were 24-10 overall and 13-5 in the SoCon but last year’s SoCon featured a historically good Wofford team that was nationally ranked for most of the year and UNC Greensboro and Furman had two of the better teams they have ever had in program history. Greensboro and Furman are both solid this year but it’s going to be a transition year for Wofford who will be adapting to a new coach which is going to allow the veteran laden ETSU Bucs to rise to the top of this conference. East Tennessee State is absolutely loaded, they bring literally everyone back from a team that was way better than anyone expected them to be last year and the only player they lost was a center that averaged about 7 points per game over two seasons. That center was probably forced out because he wouldn’t have played much anyway with head coach Steve Forbes wanting to run in transition and he has as athletic of a team as you will find at the mid major level to do so this season. East Tennessee has guys that can straight up play, point guard Patrick Good got some national recognition for hitting 11 threes in a game early last year and had he not been dealing with a hip injury down the stretch ETSU would have almost definitely finished stronger than they did. Good is fully fit this year and he compliments Tray Boyd III and Bo Hodges in arguably the strongest mid major backcourt in the country. East Tennessee State has great guard play but they are also one of the top rebounding teams in the country and that is the recipe a team needs to potentially upset this Kansas team. Kansas is currently ranked #4 in the country, that’s a ranking reflective of where they should be at some point this season but the reality is Kansas is very much a work in progress right now and is the exact type of team vulnerable to losing to a team like East Tennessee State who is already accustomed to playing together and already has an identity. Kansas lost to Duke in their opener (more than forgivable) but it’s still a loss in a game where more was expected out of the Jayhawks. Kansas then hosted UCG Greensboro on this floor, a team from the same conference as East Tennessee State who is projected to finish lower than the Bucs this year and that game was a battle that the Jayhawks eventually ended up winning by 12. Kansas most recent game was against Monmouth on Friday where they won 112-57 but it’s important to note this isn’t the Monmouth team of the “bench mob” days. Monmouth is one of the most depleted teams in the a MAAC conference that is one of the worst conferences in the country right now so there is a huge difference between what Kansas went up against on Friday and what they will go up against here. Kansas is still figuring out their rotation, right now they have a pair of big men in Silvio De Sousa and David McCormick that are splitting time and neither has been very productive. Kansas lost Dedric Lawson to the NBA while Quentin Grimes transferred out of the program and while Udoka Azubuike is back he hasn’t been as dominant as he was pre-injury last season. Kansas has studs up and down this roster because it’s “Kansas” but right now their most productive players are Devon Dotson who was a standout freshman last year and Isaiah Moss who is a graduate transfer from Iowa so, again, Kansas is very much a work in progress. Coach Bill Self came out after last game and told the media playing against this ETSU team would be as hard as playing against Duke and while sometimes that’s a canned response given to the media Self knows Forbes well from his time under Gregg Marshall at Wichita State and Self more than means it. Self hit the nail on the head here, this is going to be an extremely tough game and one that Kansas will more than likely need to close out at the foul line not win in a blowout. East Tennessee State is good enough to win outright here, as long as they play their game for 40 minutes they will have a chance to do that and this will be an easy cover either way. Play on East Tennessee State +15 for 4.5 units
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