NCAA March Madness: Kansas vs. Howard betting preview, odds and predictions

By VSiN Staff  ( 

March 12, 2023 03:20 PM

NCAA March Madness: Kansas Jayhawks vs. Howard Bison betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 1 vs. 16 matchup in the West region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks face the Howard Bison with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting oddsin-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

MORE: Check out the public betting splits for every college basketball game on the VSiN betting splits page

How to watch Kansas vs. Howard

When: Thursday, 2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Des Moines, Iowa

Watch: TBS

Odds for Kansas vs. Howard

Spread: Kansas -21.5

Total: 146 

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

West Region No. 1 Seed Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas is a borderline top-25 team on both ends of the floor when it comes to adjusted efficiency, and the Jayhawks are a top-10 team in VSiN’s Power Ratings. An argument can be made that Bill Self’s group, which happens to have won the NCAA Tournament last season, has the best starting five of anybody in the country. And a lot of these Kansas players got to taste a championship last year. That means these players know exactly what it takes to win the biggest games, and that’s a luxury when other teams begin to tighten up. Having Dajuan Harris Jr. at point guard is yet another luxury, as there might not be a better leader in all of college basketball. He’s a great passer that doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and he’s a pest on the defensive end.

West Region No. 16 Seed Howard Bison

Howard punched its ticket to the Big Dance by earning a 65-64 win over the Norfolk State Spartans. It was Jelani Williams that rose to the occasion for the Bison, scoring 20 points in the MEAC Tournament final. There are quite a few players on this Howard team that are capable of leading the way offensively, but that might not be a great thing against high-level competition. The Bison don’t have that one scorer they can consistently rely on late in the shot clock. They’re also a below-average team on the defensive end, so it’d be pretty surprising if Howard did much of anything this tournament — even for bettors.

MORE: College basketball best bets from VSiN hosts and analysts

Kansas vs. Howard matchup analysis

Rock. Heavy chalk. Jayhawk. Kansas was the biggest favorite of the first round based on the games we knew on Selection Sunday for the matchup against the MEAC champion Howard Bison. Kenny Blakeney’s team has progressively improved over his four years at the helm. While it wasn’t a turnaround on the level of Kennesaw State, who was 1-28 four years ago, Howard was 4-29 and 1-15 in the lowly MEAC in Blakeney’s first season back in 2019-20.

Howard played three Quadrant I games in the non-conference, losing all three by double digits, including a 46-point loss at Yale and a 32-point loss to Kentucky to open the season. Kansas played 24 Quadrant I games and led the nation with 17 victories in those games. The 20-point loss in the Big 12 title game was a rough end to an emotional week for the Jayhawks, but they could be poised for a deep tournament run.

Bill Self is expected to be back on the sidelines after having some stents put in. We’ll have to see if his blood pressure increases during this first-round game. Howard played in a conference where few teams take care of the basketball, so the Bison have one of the higher TO% on defense, but they turned it over at a 22.8% clip on offense. Against a Kansas team that forced a turnover over 20% of the time, it seems unlikely that Howard will win the TO battle.

This could be a more interesting game, if the bright lights aren’t too much for the Bison shooters. Howard has a 37.2% success rate from 3, but Kansas is a top-35 defense against the 3-point shot, so Howard’s one potential strength appears to be less of one in this matchup. Furthermore, Howard was only a 31.6% team from 3 in the nonconference in Division I games, so they shot well against bad MEAC defenses. If Kansas wants to, they should be able to have this game well in hand by halftime.

VSiN College Basketball Links

Previews of all First-Round Games

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