You know what you get when you face an Ivy League team: A well-coached, smart opponent. Could the No. 16 Penn Quakers put a scare into top-seeded Kansas in Midwest Region first-round play on Thursday afternoon? Ivy League teams have pulled off big upsets in the past. But the March Madness odds say otherwise, giving Kansas the win with a nice spread.
How to Bet Kansas vs. Penn March Madness Odds for First RoundKansas -15
Why Bet on Penn?Penn (24-8) was the co-regular-season champion in the Ivy League with Harvard and then beat the Crimson 68-65 in the tournament final. Darnell Foreman scored 19 points, AJ Brodeur had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Penn earned its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007. Ryan Betley added 17 points for the Quakers, who will be making their 24th appearance in the NCAAs.From 1999 to 2007, the Penn Quakers won seven of nine Ivy League championships. Since then, the program has been in turmoil. Penn went through three coaching changes and posted only one winning record in a decade. This season, coach Steve Donahue has turned things around.The Quakers rank in the top five nationally in defending the 3-point shot. Penn’s opponents manage just 29.4 percent outside shooting on the season. That’s been crucial in a league like the Ivy, ranked No. 4 among conferences in percentage of shots coming from 3-point land. Only eight teams in college basketball allow a higher portion of the points they allow to come from the long ball. Brodeur was named first-team All-Ivy for his work on the post and on the glass this season. The 6-8 sophomore posted 13 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.According to the Kenpom rating system, the last No. 16 seed to be ranked as high as the Quakers was UNC Asheville in 2012. UNC Asheville lost by single digits to the No. 1 seed Syracuse and were within two possessions of the lead with one minute remaining in the game. fore Penn this year, the highest-rated No. 16 seed of all time was Portland State entering the 2008 tournament. (It ended up losing, to Kansas of all teams, by 24).Ivy League teams have had relative success against No. 1 seeds in the past as well. The closest matchup ever between a No. 1 seed and a No. 16 seed was between Georgetown and Princeton in 1989. The Tigers lost this game by only a single point. Ivy teams have won three of their last five games in the round of 64 (and that doesn’t even include Cornell’s Sweet 16 bid in 2010). And the two first-round losses were by a combined 4 points.
Why Bet on Kansas?Kansas won a 14th straight Big 12 regular-season title and then followed up with tournament title. Five Jayhawks in double figures, including a team-high 20 points from redshirt-sophomore and the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Malik Newman, lifted KU to the title with an 81-70 victory over West Virginia.The Jayhawks, who shot a blistering 72 percent from the field in the second half including nine 3-pointers, claimed their 11th Big 12 postseason championship. The win moved Kansas to 27-7 on the year and gave KU 27 wins for the fourth-straight season and the 11th time in the last 12 seasons. West Virginia fell to 24-10 in its 2017-18 campaign.Nobody has a better corps of shooting guards than Kansas. Big 12 Player of the Year Devonte’ Graham averaging 17.3 points and 7.5 assists per game this season, third and second in the Big 12, respectively. Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I this season averaging 17.0-plus pts, 7.0-plus assists, 1.6-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game. He is on pace to be the only player in Kansas history to average at least 15 points and 7 assists per game since assists became official stats in 1983-84. Graham is also averaging 37.6 minutes per game, on pace to be the most by a Kansas player in Big 12 history. Graham played 40 minutes in 16 games this season, including 10 straight at one point.This marks the ninth straight season that the Jayhawks have earned a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. In head coach Bill Self’s 15 seasons, KU has never been seeded lower than fourth. Kansas has been a No. 1 seed 14 times, including each of the last three seasons (1986, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018).The Jayhawks and Quakers have played three times previously, with the Jayhawks coming away with victories in each (89-71, Dec. 8, 1997; 61-56, Nov. 17, 1998; 105-59, Jan. 4, 2000). Kansas has played four games overall in the NCAA Tournament in Wichita with a 4-0 record. The last time KU was in an NCAA Tournament game in Wichita was 1981.
Latest March Madness Odds Trends
- Pennsylvania is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
- Pennsylvania is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pennsylvania’s last 5 games
- Kansas is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
- Kansas is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Kansas’s last 7 games