Texas vs. TCU NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Timmy Allen #0 of the Texas Longhorns. Chris Covatta/Getty Images/AFP

It has been a disappointing season so far for the Texas Longhorns while the TCU Horned Frogs are doing better than expected, and that adds up to a critical matchup for both sides on Tuesday’s NCAA Basketball betting card.

Texas Longhorns vs. TCU Horned Frogs

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 – 09:00 PM EST at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena

Ranked No. 5 in the preseason polls and one of the favorites in the Big 12 on the NCAA Basketball futures, Texas has fallen on tough times recently – and out of the AP poll – with three losses in the last five trips to the floor. The Longhorns still have plenty of time to accomplish their goals with a conference crown, but Chris Beard needs to get his team headed back up the rankings with a very tough stretch on the schedule coming up.

Jamie Dixon and TCU entered the season playing with house money after only winning eight of their previous 31 conference games. Picked to finish near the bottom of the league standings, the Horned Frogs are coming off a huge win over Iowa State, another team that has exceeded expectations after the Cyclones were projected to have a poor season.

Game Draws Lowest Total of Evening

Despite their recent struggles, the Longhorns are still being cast as road chalk in the 2.5-3 range for this one. With Texas leading the nation in scoring defense, and TCU among the top 20 in the category, Tuesday’s total is 121.5.

Some of the struggles for Texas during the current 2-3 stretch have come on the defensive end. Texas opponents have scored about 62 PPG in the five games, a little more than seven points over the season average, and the perimeter defense has been lacking. In the three defeats – at Oklahoma State and Iowa State and home against Kansas State – the Longhorns allowed their foes to shoot 43.1 % from 3-point range.

Texas tightened up in that area last Saturday in a 56-51 win over Oklahoma State in Austin. The final margin was only half what the Longhorns needed to cover the NCAA Basketball odds, but considering they went without a basket for more than 10 minutes during the first half, Beard’s bunch was lucky just to get the win.

There were still far too many turnovers, many of the 20 for the afternoon coming during the scoring drought that saw Texas turn a 13-0 lead into a 16-13 deficit. And that effort came in the comfort of their own arena; the Longhorns are 1-4 straight up and against the spread on the road.

Frogs on 4-Game ‘Under’ Run

After spending most of the last two weeks on the road, TCU will be hanging around Ft. Worth for most of the next two weeks. Coming off a couple of close wins at Kansas State and home against Oklahoma, the Horned Frogs began last week at Stillwater involved in another tight affair with Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys would rally in the final half-minute for a 57-56 triumph, sending Dixon and TCU to Ames on Saturday in a down mood for the matchup with Iowa State. Lined as 6-point underdogs at Bet365the Horned Frogs turned in one of their best defensive performances of the season in walloping the Cyclones 59-44.

Texas Christian harassed Iowa State out on the perimeter, holding the Cyclones to a dismal 3-of-26 (11.5%) from 3-point range. The Horned Frogs also gave Iowa State very few second chance opportunities by winning the rebounding battle, leaving the Cyclones with their fewest points at home in more than 50 years.

‘Horns Have Won, Covered Last 5 Meetings

These old rivals have a history that goes back 106 years, and Texas has won the last five encounters to build a healthy 115-68 advantage over TCU. The Longhorns covered all five of those straight-up wins, the last three as favorites at online betting sites. Playing the ‘under’ has sent those bettors back to the pay window in five of the last seven.

Their meeting in Ft. Worth a season ago came in the final regular season game for both sides, and the Longhorns covered a 7.5-point spread with room to spare in the 76-64 final. That result did manage to get past a 136-point total, balanced scoring on the Texas side with five players in double digits helping the game ‘over’ the mark.

Since neither side is big on getting up and down the court quickly, this one is going to be like watching paint dry for many fans who tend to get bored with the part of the game called defense. There will be plenty of defense, but my NCAA Basketball pick still believes there will be enough scoring to get past this number.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 121.5 (-110) at BetMGM