NCAA Basketball Texas Longhorns (20-5, 9-12 ATS) vs. Missouri Tigers (18-7, 11-8 ATS), Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Wednesday, Feb. 17th, 9 PM Eastern, ESPN
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Tigers -2 1/2/Longhorns +2 1/2
Two Big 12 teams looking for a quality victory to enhance their NCAA tournament credentials hook up when the Texas Longhorns visit the Missouri Tigers Wednesday night in Columbia.
Missouri opened up as a two-point favorite for this game at most online sportsbooks, with a total of 153. But as of late Wednesday morning the Tigers had been bumped a half-point, to -2 , and the total had been bet up to 155. The Tigers are also listed at around -145 on various moneylines, with the Longhorns getting +125.
Texas appeared to be a Final Four contender this season when they starting 17-0 and reached No. 1 in the rankings. But the ‘Horns have lost five of their last eight games, and stand in danger of blowing a chance at a good seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Texas lost consecutive games about a month ago at Kansas State and at Connecticut, beat Texas Tech, then lost at home to Baylor, won at Oklahoma State, but followed that up with back-to-back defeats at the hands of Oklahoma and Kansas. UT then got a much-needed breather last Saturday when they clobbered Nebraska 91-51.
Mizzou started 14-3 this season, and won three of its first four Big 12 games. But the Tigers are only 4-4 since then. They lost to Oklahoma about a month ago, then beat Nebraska, lost to Kansas then beat Oklahoma State, lost to Texas A&M then beat Colorado and Iowa State, then, last Saturday, lost a tough one at Baylor on a last-second tip-in 64-62.
So at 6-4 in the Big 12, Missouri and Texas are tied for fifth place, 4 games back of the first-place Jayhawks.
On the season Texas is shooting 48% from the field, 36% from 3-point land but only 62% from the free-throw line. And that ineptness from the stripe has hurt them in at least a couple of losses.
Defensively, the ‘Horns are holding opponents to just 38.5% FG shooting, and are outrebounding foes by 9.5 boards per game.
Missouri is shooting 45% from the floor, 38% from long range and 73% from the line this season. And the Tigers are limiting opponents to 40% FG shooting. But they’ve been having trouble on the boards, getting outrebounded by about three boards per game, and it cost them in the loss at Baylor.
Missouri is 14-1 straight up and 6-4 ATS at home this season, and they’re 5-1 vs. the numbers when favored by five or fewer points.
The ‘Horns, meanwhile, are 4-3 SU and just 1-6 ATS on the road this season. And they’re 0-2 both straight up and against the spread as underdogs.
Texas games are averaging 151 total points, as the ‘Horns rank third in the nation in scoring at 84 PPG, helping them go 128 on the totals.
Missouri is averaging almost 80 PPG, and their games are averaging 145 points, as the Tigers have gone 9-8 on the totals.
In the only meeting between these two teams last season, Mizzou beat Texas in Austin 69-65. The Tigers won outright as 4 1/2-point road dogs, and that game stayed well under its posted total of 148.
Sagarin’s PREDICTOR rankings at USAToday.com rate the ‘Horns at +2.6 over the Tigers. But factoring in Sagarin’s updated CBB home-court advantage figure of 3.9, and Mizzou is a point-and-a-half favorite over Texas for Wednesday’s game on the Sagarin line.
Z-Man’s Pick: Despite the general public’s opinion on Texas, I absolutely LOVE Missouri to beat up Texas in this game.