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With Big 12 Title In Sight, No. 8 Kansas Hosts Oklahoma

Joel Embiid and the Jayhawks can move one step closer to a 10th consecutive Big 12 title on Monday.

Joel Embiid and the Jayhawks can move one step closer to a 10th consecutive Big 12 title on Monday.

Looking to claim at least a share of the Big 12 title, No. 8 Kansas hosts Oklahoma in Lawrence, Kan., Monday night.

Tip-off at Allen Fieldhouse is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET.

With just four games left on the docket and a three-game lead over the chasing pack, Kansas (21-6, 12-2 Big 12) is just one win away from securing its 10th straight division championship, or a share of it at least.

The Jayhawks by no means have the easiest run in, but Bill Self’s side is a runaway favorite to top the conference at season’s end. The Jayhawks are also emerging as a legitimate No. 2, or even No. 1, seed when the NCAA tournament rolls around. But Self will be preaching focus and patience, urging his side to forget the future and first earn a share of the title on Monday.

Kansas crushed one of its closest competitors Saturday, handing No. 19 Texas an 85-54 loss at Allen Fieldhouse. The Longhorns currently sit alongside Oklahoma and Iowa State in second-place in the Big 12, but proved to be no match for a Jayhawks side that has won 15 of its last 18.

Freshman Joel Embiid broke the school record for blocks in a season during Saturday’s game, swatting six balls while pulling down seven boards and scoring 13. Fellow-freshman Andrew Wiggins added 21 points to lead the Jayhawks in scoring.

The duo will now look to lead the team to a victory Monday night.

Oklahoma (20-7, 9-5 Big 12) will look to spoil the party and emerge from Lawrence with a rare road win.

The Sooners haven’t recorded a win at Allen Fieldhouse since February 17, 1993, back when the Big 12 was the Big 8. Oklahoma has dropped 12 straight in the building since.

Lon Kruger’s side has won two straight since a surprising loss to Texas Tech two weeks ago, including last week’s rivalry game against Oklahoma State.

The Sooners took care of business this past Saturday, defeating Kansas State 86-73 in Norman, Okla.

Buddy Hield led the side with 18 points, four assists and three steals, while Isaiah Cousins chipped in with 17 points, as the Sooners built an early lead before dispatching the Wildcats.

Oklahoma will now hit the road aware that the Big 12 title is all but out of reach, yet knowing that second place in the conference – and a high NCAA tournament berth – are still very much up for grabs. A win over the Jayhawks would be headline material too, and headline material is huge at this time of the year.

The Sooners and Jayhawks met back on January 8 in Norman. The Jayhawks earned a 90-83 victory that night, thanks to 22 points and 11 rebounds from Perry Ellis, and 24 points from Wayne Selden, Jr.

The Sooners got 32 points from Cameron Clark that night, but a 36-22 advantage on the boards was enough for Kansas to ride out the game, avenging last season’s loss to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Kansas Jayhawks odds for 02/24/2014

Having won 19 of its last 20 at home, Kansas is a comfortable favorite in this one.

The Jayhawks have won 11 of their last 12 against the Sooners, and – as stated above – have been dominant on their home court in the head-to-head series.

The spread opened at 11, which makes for some interesting betting.

While the Jayhawks are a solid bet straight up, Oklahoma could be a good bet to cover the spread.

The Sooners (15-10-0 ATS) have covered in six of their last eight. They’ve also posted a 9-3-0 ATS record on the road and a 9-3-0 ATS record when playing as the underdog.

The Jayhawks (15-12-0 ATS) meanwhile are 10-6-0 ATS at home and 13-10-0 ATS as the favorite. That being said, the side from Lawrence has covered the spread in 10 of the last 14, including the earlier head-to-head meeting between the sides.

At the time of publication, the total line had yet to be released. Here are some considerations for when it is unveiled.

Both Oklahoma (14-10-0) and Kansas (15-11-1) have favored the over this season. The total went over when the two sides met earlier this year.

However, the total has gone under in eight of Oklahoma’s last 11. The total has also gone under in Kansas’ last two games, although before that the Jayhawks had seen the total go over in 12 of 15 contests.

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