NCAA Basketball Oklahoma State Cowboys (19-7, 12-7 ATS) vs. Texas Longhorns (21-6, 9-14 ATS), Erwin Center, Austin, Wednesday, Feb. 24th, 9 PM Eastern, ESPN2
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Longhorns -9/Cowboys +9
Back in mid-January the Texas Longhorns were the top-ranked team in the land. Going into their game Wednesday night vs. Oklahoma State in Austin, the ‘Horns are in danger of falling out of the rankings altogether.
Online sportsbooks opened this game with Texas favored by nine points, with a total of right around 150. And those numbers had held steady in early betting action.
The ‘Horns are also listed at around -500 on most moneylines, with OK State getting around +375.
OSU returned three starters this season from a 23-win squad last year. They started 13-2 this season, then lost a couple of Big 12 road games. The Cowboys then won three in a row, then lost three in a row. And now they’ve won three in a row again, after beating Baylor Saturday 82-75. So at the moment, at 7-5 in Big 12 play and with 19 wins overall, OK State looks like it’s inside the NCAA tournament bubble.
Texas also returned three starters this season from a team that also won
23 games last year. And they started 17-0 this season, with wins over Pitt
and Michigan State, and reached No. 1 in the top of a major poll for the
first time in program history. Unfortunately, they are 4-6 since then. The
downslide started a month ago with back-to-back losses at K State and at
Connecticut, and defeats at the hands of Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri
have followed. The Longhorns managed to win at Texas Tech Saturday 71-67,
but they paid a price when they lost PG Dogus Balbay for
the season to a torn ACL.
Kansas has already clinched a share of the Big 12’s regular-season title, so the ‘Horns, at 7-5 in conference play, are now playing for seeding in the upcoming Big 12 tournament, and Big Dance bona fides.
On the season the Cowboys are shooting 45% from the floor, 35% from 3-point land and 72% from the line. The Longhorns, meanwhile, are shooting 47% from the field, 36% from long range but a dismal 62% from the line.
Defensively, OK State is holding opponents to 41% FG shooting, and they rank 91st in the country in rebounding at +2.8 per game.
Texas is limiting foes to just 39% shooting from the field, and ranks 11th in the country in rebounding at +7.3 per game.
OSU at times can become a little too dependent upon its long-range shooting; only Oklahoma takes more 3-pointers per game than the Cowboys. When they’re on, like when they went 12/22 from beyond the arc Saturday vs. Baylor, all is good. But when they’re off, like when they went 4/18 vs. Texas three weeks ago, they’re in trouble.
In that first meeting between these two teams this season three weeks ago in Stillwater, Texas beat the Cowboys 70-62. The Longhorns trailed by four points at the half, but shot 51% from the floor for the game, with Hamilton and James combining to go 17/26 for 41 points. Texas also committed just five turnovers, in covering the spread as 2 1/2-point road favorites. That game also easily stayed under its posted total of 151.
The ‘Horns have won seven of the last eight games in the series between these two teams, and five in a row in Austin.
The Cowboys are 2-4 both straight up and ATS on the road in Big 12 play this season, with wins at Iowa State and at Kansas State. OSU is also just 2-6 ATS as underdogs this season, although the one time they were getting as many as nine points, they beat K State outright.
The Longhorns are 4-2 SU but 1-5 ATS in Big 12 home games this season. They’re also just 2-10 vs. the spread in conference play.
OK State is 8-10 on the totals this season, as their games have averaged 143 points. Texas is 13-9 on the totals, as their games have averaged 151 points.
Also, the under is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these two teams.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rate Texas at +7.5 over the Cowboys. Adding on Sagarin’s CBB home-court advantage figure of 3.9, and the ‘Horns are about 11 1/2-point favorites over OK State for Wednesday’s game on the Sagarin line.
Z-Man’s Pick: This is a bad spot for the Cowboys. Texas is REALLY effective at playing perimeter defense (meaning they are likely to shut down OSU’s 3 point game) and should beat them and cover the spread fairly handily.