Stanford Cardinal vs. Texas Longhorns Preview and Pick

(3) Stanford Cardinal (28-7), +2, o/u 134 vs. (2) Texas Longhorns (30-6), -2, o/u 134, Houston, Texas, 7:25 p.m. Eastern, Friday
by Oracle of

Both Texas and Stanford are coming into their Sweet 16 off emotional battles against teams that weren’t supposed to give them trouble in the second round of the tournament.

Stanford needed overtime to get by Marquette, who actually led for most of the second half of play. The highly publicized twin towers did their damage in the end though, as Brook Lopez, who finished with 30 points, hit a game winning shot with 1.2 seconds left, as his team won, 81-80.

Twin brother Robin was key in the first half with Brook on the bench in foul trouble, finishing with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

Texas got all it could handle from Miami in a 75-72 win. They got 26 points, including six three-pointers, from A.J. Abrams to hold off the Hurricanes late.

When these two teams clash on Friday night in Houston, Texas will be the favorites -2 at most online sportsbooks. The over/under currently stands at 134 as well.

No doubt Stanford will try to expose Texas and their lack of height, as most teams don’t have anyone who can guard two 7-footers. The Longhorns are a guard-oriented team with the likes of D.J. Augustine (19.2 points), A.J. Abrams (16.6) and Damion James (13.2).

They’ll rely on 6-10 Connor Atchley to handle Brook down low. Atchley can cause match up problems for Stanford on the offensive side of the ball, though, as he scores 9.6 points per game and can shoot the three-pointer (42%) to spread the court.

Augustine will have to snap out of a 6-for-22 slump in the tournament if Texas wants to get by Stanford, as he’s scored just 20 total points. Abrams has been a stud during the tourney, scoring 26 points and hitting six three-points in both games.

Stanford usually plays well when their guards play well. When teams double down and concentrate on the Lopez twins, guys like point guard Mitch Johnson and Anthony Goods need to deliver.

Johnson has done just that in the tournament, hitting three triples and dishing out 16 assists against Marquette in the overtime win.

It’s a good thing Texas comes into this game as a favorite. They are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the Pac-10.

The Cardinals have been hot, though, covering four of their last five overall games. It also may not be a good thing Texas is favored, as they’re 0-8 in their last eight tourney games when favorites of .5 to 6.5 points.

Although Stanford has a stellar defense, the over has been trendy for them as of late. The over is 4-0 in their last four as an underdog and 5-0 in their last five against Big 12 opponents.

If Stanford can continue getting quality guard play, Texas will have their hands full. However, playing in their own backyard of Houston has to give the Longhorns a boost.

Oracle’s Pick: Wrong team favored! Take Stanford to cover, win and advance to the Elite 8!