Kansas vs. Arkansas: 2023 NCAA Tournament West Region Second Round Preview

Mar 17, 2023 - 12:37 PM

Kansas Jayhawks vs. Arkansas Razorbacks Game Info

Kansas Jayhawks (28-7, 13-5 Big 12) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (21-13, 8-10 SEC)

  • Date: Saturday, Mar. 19, 2022
  • Start Time: 5:15 p.m. ET
  • Location: Wells Fargo Arena — Des Moines, IA
  • Coverage: CBS
  • Last Meeting: November 22, 2005 — Arkansas defeated Kansas 65-64 at the Maui Invitational.

Kansas vs. Arkansas Betting Odds

Odds courtesy of BetMGM

  • Moneyline: KAN: (-190) | ARK: (+155)
  • Point Spread: KAN: -3.5 (-115) | ARK: +3.5 (-105)
  • Total: 144.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

Betting Trends

  • Kansas 2022-23 Betting Trends: 17-18 ATS; 17-18 to the Over
  • Arkansas 2022-23 Betting Trends: 17-16-1 ATS; 14-19-1 to the Over
  • Kansas is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games against teams with a winning percentage over .600.
  • Kansas is 1-4 ATS in its last five games following a SU win.
  • Arkansas is 5-1 ATS in its last six neutral site games.
  • Arkansas is 2-5 ATS in its last seven NCAA Tournament games.
  • The Under has cashed in seven of Kansas’s last eight games.
  • The Under is 4-0 in Arkansas’ last four NCAA Tournament games.


Kansas continues its pursuit of becoming the first repeat national champion since Florida did it in 2006-07. Though this is a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 8 seeds, it is also a meeting of two teams that were ranked in the top ten in the AP poll preseason top 25. The Jayhawks started the year tied for fifth in the AP poll, while Arkansas was ranked tenth in the preseason.

Arkansas Razorbacks Betting Preview

Arkansas lasted only a short time as a top-ten team before injuries hit it hard. The Razorbacks still miss center Travon Brazile but is the healthiest it has been in quite some time, with NBA prospect Nick Smith back playing the wing for the last ten games. Smith has scored 16+ points in four of the previous seven games, and he raises the ceiling considerably for a Razorbacks team that is battle-tested out of the rugged SEC. Arkansas went 3-7 ATS against ranked teams this year and 4-6 ATS in an underdog role.

Kansas Jayhawks Betting Preview

Kansas has not lost a game to anyone other than Texas since February 5 but dropped two to the Longhorns in that span, including the Big 12 Tournament championship. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Kansas’ 96 points in its tournament opener are the most by a defending champion in its first tournament game since Florida in 1997. In addition, the Jayhawks have now won a game in 16 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, tied for the second-longest streak all-time. 

Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Kansas Jayhawks Betting Pick and Prediction

At first glance, this point spread will look curiously low to many bettors. That is because it is historically low, as Jon Fendler pointed out on Twitter. Michigan in 2021 was the only other No. 1 seed that closed at -4 or lower in a Round of 32 game in the last 20 seasons. And while the curiously low spread will have many backing the Jayhawks in droves, we have too much respect for the Razorbacks and expect them to stay within the number. 

Arkansas has a difficult time defending 3-pointers off the dribble, but Illinois ranked 218th in that category, and the Razorbacks held the Illini to just 27.3% (6-for-22) from 3-point range. That bodes well for Arkansas when facing a Kansas that ranks an even worse 231st in the same category. 

The optics of a No. 1 seed playing a No. 8 seed may look like there is a huge talent gap, but Arkansas has five former RSCI top 100 recruits. In addition, the Razorbacks were never in jeopardy of not receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after finishing the regular season 17th in strength of schedule and with a ShotQuality rank of 29th.

Another concern for Jayhawks backers is that the team continues to be without head coach Bill Self. He was expected to be back on the sidelines for the NCAA Tournament after being hospitalized with an illness. However, he still missed the Howard game, which has to affect the team’s preparation for a much more formidable opponent. 

An Arkansas victory would continue the trend of the defending national champion losing in the first or second round for the sixth consecutive tournament. In addition, only two of the previous 14 defending champions even reached the Sweet 16, while no defending champion has advanced past the Sweet 16 since Florida in 2007. This could very well result in an outright Arkansas win, but we will take the extra 3.5 points of insurance at minimal juice at BetMGM.

Pick: Arkansas +3.5 (-105 at BetMGM)

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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