Texas Tech vs. Texas NCAA Basketball Preview

Guard Matt Coleman III #2 of the Texas Longhorns passes the ball. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

Guard Matt Coleman III #2 of the Texas Longhorns passes the ball. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

 

The first really big dose of March Madness takes place Thursday when a rivalry matchup between ranked teams closes out the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament with the Texas Longhorns taking on the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

 

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Texas Longhorns

Thursday, March 11, 2021 – 09:30 PM EST at T-Mobile Center

Texas arrives in Kansas City as the third seed in the conference, climbing two spots to No. 13 in the latest AP poll while sticking at No. 16 according to the coaches. The Longhorns closed strong with three road wins in the busy final week of the season, and presently project as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Tech split its final six games of the regular season, sliding down to Nos. 20/22 in the two conventional rankings. The Red Raiders are showing up as either a 5-seed or 6-seed in various NCAA brackets.

 

Underdogs Cash 7 of Last 10 Matchups

Depending how action across Thursday’s fixture goes, the matchup will be found on either ESPN or ESPN2. FanDuel sent the Red Raiders out as 1½-point chalk for the clash, setting 136½ for the total.

It’s the third meeting between the teams this season, Texas Tech sweeping the regular season series. Texas visited Lubbock a little less than two weeks ago when the Red Raiders administered a 68-59 triumph as 3½-point home chalk. It was knotted 33-apiece at intermission before Texas Tech began the second half on a 19-6 run to take charge. Balanced scoring was behind the dubya as Mac McClung led five Red Raiders in double figures with 16, and the win snapped a 3-game losing streak for Chris Beard’s bunch.

They were in Austin in early-January when online bookmakers closed the Longhorns as 1-point favorites, and McClung was at it again with a game-winning jumper in the closing seconds for a 79-77 Red Raiders victory. Texas blew a 12-point lead in the first half and canned 13 of its 25 shots behind the arc, but turned it over 15 times and missed 13 free throws. The Longhorns have an 87-63 advantage in the rivalry, but Texas Tech has won seven of the last eight meetings.

 

Tech Just 1-4 ATS in Last 5 Neutral Site Games

In closing a pedestrian 3-3 over the final two weeks, Texas Tech succumbed all three times away from home. The first two of those defeats came at Kansas and Oklahoma State, trailing the Jayhawks the entire time in a 67-61 loss and blowing an 11-point lead in the second half before falling to the Cowboys in overtime. They lost the rebounding battle in each contest, and failed to cover the NCAAB lines either time.

Last Sunday’s game in Waco saw Texas Tech come out flat against Baylor, trailing 10-0 before fighting back. The Red Raiders clawed back in it to trail by just 2 at the break, but then suffered another long scoring drought in the second half when the Bears pulled away. Baylor dominated the glass and was zoned in from 3-point range, sinking 15-of-24 (62.5%).

 

‘Horns 3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS This Season on Neutral Courts

Shaka Smart’s squad has been on the road since the end of February, closing with four successive games away from home. The first of those was the loss to Texas Tech in Lubbock, but the Longhorns shook that off nicely with follow-up wins at Iowa State, Oklahoma and TCU. Sharpshooting was the key to the three covers, the team combining to hit better than 51% (82-160) in the winning efforts

Texas also clamped down defensively in the final four games, holding opponents to under 43% from the field (94-222), and forcing 53 turnovers in the three wins. Another big improvement was at the free throw line where the Longhorns struggled until the final week. They went into the final three games hitting less than 70%, but converted 34-of-41 (83%) in beating the Cyclones, Sooners and Horned Frogs.

This is the sixth time the Longhorns and Red Raiders have met in the Big 12 Tournament, with Texas winning three of the previous five. Texas Tech won the last collision in the conference tourney, 73-69, having to hold off a late challenge by the Longhorns who grabbed the cover. I like Texas to avoid falling a third time to the Red Raiders this season, and will go with the Longhorns with my NCAAB pick.

Free NCAAB Pick: Texas +1½ (-110) at FanDuel

BYU Cougars vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs NCAA Basketball Preview

The Gonzaga Bulldogs huddle on the court. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

The Gonzaga Bulldogs huddle on the court. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

 

BYU has five losses on the season with two from Gonzaga. Can they get their revenge and pull off an upset for the ages?

 

BYU Cougars vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

  Orleans Arena

The Gonzaga Bulldogs will look to finish off the regular season and conference play with an undefeated record of 26-0. They’ll take on BYU for the West Coast Tournament Championship after breezing through the conference all season long.

These two teams met twice during the regular season with Gonzaga winning 86-69 and 82-71 in two games this season.

Gonzaga has the best offense in the nation. They’re shooting a 61 percent effective field goal percentage and rarely turn the ball over. On top of that, they can get offensive rebounds at a high rate and are aggressive enough to get to the line at a high rate as well.

The Bulldogs are shooting 36 percent from three and a nation’s best 64.2 percent inside the arc on the season. They’re also 72.9 percent from the foul line.

Gonzaga is led by Corey Kispert who averages 19.3 points per game along with 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Kispert has minimized turnovers all season long and has one of the highest offensive ratings in the nation. He’s as efficient as it gets.

Drew Timme and Jalen Suggs round out the top three scorers with Timme adding 18.9 points and Suggs adding 14 pints along with 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

Defensively, Gonzaga has held opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 47.1 percent and have forced turnovers 20.6 percent of the time. They’ve also done a very solid job limiting offensive rebounds and keeping the fouls to a minimum for the most part.

Teams are shooting 32.1 percent from three and 46.6 percent from inside this season. Gonzaga has done a solid job on defense with a defensive efficiency of 88.4 percent. That’s good for seventh in the nation.

BYU, on the other hand, have a very solid and balanced team. They’re shooting a 55 percent effective field goal percentage thanks to 37.2 percent from three and 54.6 percent from inside. Gonzaga will challenge them defensively but if BYU gets from the field, this game might get closer than some would expect.

BYU is 20-5 with two losses to Gonzaga. They’re a solid team but they’re just not a number one seed like Gonzaga. BYU is led by Alex Barcello who averages 15.7 points per game along with Brandon Averette and Matt Haarms who each add 11 or more points per game.

Defensively, BYU has limited teams with their effective field goal percentage. Teams are shooting an effective field goal percentage of just 46.1 percent. The Cougars have also been able to limit damage on the glass, as they’re 24th in the nation in limiting offensive rebounds. The one area they’ve struggled in is forcing turnovers but by holding teams to 31.7 percent from three and 45.2 percent from inside, they’ve done enough offensively where turnovers haven’t been needed much.

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Mercer vs. UNC-Greensboro NCAA Basketball Preview

Mercer Bears Marching Band

The Mercer Bears Marching Band performs at a basketball game.

Mercer Bears vs. UNC-Greensboro Spartans

Monday, February 8th, 2020 – 7:00 PM ET at Allen Fieldhouse

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Michigan State Spartans vs Michigan Wolverines

Gabe Brown #44 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates his three point basket. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images/AFP

Gabe Brown #44 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates his three point basket. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images/AFP

Despite their struggles all season, the Michigan State Spartans have a chance to make a late push into the NCAA Tournament on this week’s college basketball odds calendar with back-to-back games against the Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines

Thursday, March 04, 2021 – 07:00 PM EST at Crisler Center

While this year’s schedule has been fraught with challenges and frustrations over postponements and cancellations, it has made for some interesting back-to-back matchups among some rivals here at the end of the regular season. Michigan State has moved at least back into the bubble picture for March Madness, and winning at least one more game would guarantee the Spartans a Day 1 bye at the Big Ten Tournament next week in Indianapolis. A sweep of their rivals this week would almost lock up a No. 1 seed for the Wolverines at the Big Dance, while just one win would secure the top seed in the conference tourney for Michigan.

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Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State NCAA Basketball Preview

Guard De'Vion Harmon #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts after making a shot. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

Guard De’Vion Harmon #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts after making a shot. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP

 

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Monday, March 01, 2021 – 09:00 PM EST at Gallagher-Iba Arena

Stakes of the Matchup

Most college basketball games are inconsequential. There are hundreds of teams, and only 68 of them make it to the big dance. To make it to the NCAA tournament, teams must either win their conference or make it as an at-large team. Typically, teams in weaker conferences must win their conference to make the tournament. What makes the Big 12 different is that they are currently ranked as the second-best conference in college basketball. As a result, the Big 12 expects to send several teams to the national championship tournament each year.

Baylor, currently the second ranked team in the country, plays in the Big 12. Of the ten teams that play in the “Big 12”, six of them are ranked among the AP top 25 teams. One of those teams is the 7th ranked Oklahoma team who tonight visits unranked Oklahoma State. While the Cowboys are unranked, they received the most votes of any unranked team in the last AP poll.

Despite what appears to be a matchup where OU has a clear edge, both teams are relatively equal after OU has lost their last two games. Once the AP top 25 is updated both teams are likely to either be unranked or ranked in the 20’s. Currently KenPom rates OU as the 33th best team and OSU as the 36th best team. The betting line reflects the close matchup as the Sooners are only 1.5 point favorites.

Currently Oklahoma has a 14-7 overall record while Oklahoma State has a 16-6 record. In conference play, both teams are 9-6. OSU has won their last four games while OU has lost their last two games. Basketball handicappers who believe in streaks will be inclined to bet on the Cowboys because they have been playing well recently. Additionally, both teams played on Saturday and the Cowboys won 74-71 in overtime. However, past performance is not predictive of future performance and a strong case can be made for the Sooners reverting to the mean.

 

How Oklahoma and Oklahoma State Match Up

On Saturday, Oklahoma was a pre-game six-point favorite against Oklahoma State, and at one point looked good as they were leading by seven points at halftime. Then the Sooners collapsed in the 2nd half and lost in overtime and now they are only 1.5 point favorites against the Cowboys. While Oklahoma did blow a large lead, they were also the victim of bad variance as they lost the rebound battle 45-28 despite having a 50.2% rebound rate of the season. For OSU to win again, they must find a new way to beat OU as OSU got lucky in Saturday’s game.

While both teams are evenly matched, both teams play much different styles of offense. Oklahoma State plays at the 19th fastest tempo in college basketball and the fastest tempo in the Big 12 as they average 76.6 possessions per game. Oklahoma currently averages only 71.9 possessions per game which is slightly higher than the median college basketball team, which averages 71.2 possessions per game. The Cowboys are going to look to run the ball up the court all game, while the Sooners will try to slow down the tempo.

Monday night’s game is going to come down to how well Oklahoma State’s offense does against the Sooners defense. According to basketball analytics website KenPom, OSU is 75th in offensive efficiency while OU is 39th in defensive efficiency. For Oklahoma State to win, they must play better on offense then they have been playing all season. Their defense is a strength as the Cowboys have the 20th best adjusted defensive efficiency in college basketball, but they will have their hands full against a Sooners offense which has the 35th best offensive efficiency in college basketball.

 

Prediction

Monday night’s spread is an overreaction to Oklahoma’s losing streak, Oklahoma State’s winning streak, and Oklahoma State’s upset on Saturday. While Oklahoma State has a strong team, they are overvalued in Monday night’s matchup. Oklahoma should be a heavier favorite and that is why I am betting on them to cover as 1.5 point favorites at Oklahoma State.

College Basketball Pick: Oklahoma Spread -1.5 (-110) at DraftKings