Texas Longhorns (12-3) +4 at Oklahoma Sooners (15-1) -4
Gallagher Iba Arena, Stillwater, O.K., 9:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Big 12 college hoops action heats up primetime Monday night when conference powerhouses collide when the Texas Longhorns go on the road to battle with the Oklahoma Sooners. The Longhorns are coming off a disappointing road loss to an emerging Arkansas team a little less than a week ago 67-61. The Longhorns had reached the number 7 ranking in the nation last week, but that loss will slide the Horns down in the polls when they are released later today. No. 6 Oklahoma has remained the appeared class of the Big 12 with a solid 15-1 record with their only loss also coming by way of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Both opponents started off conference play with a win and stand at 1-0 in the Big 12. Texas and Oklahoma look to make their claim as one of the best in the Big 12 in front of the nation on Monday night.
Oklahoma is among one of the better scoring teams in the nation. The Sooners are averaging a strong 80 points per game this season which ranks them in the top 30 teams across the nation. The Sooners are also shooting a stout 48% as a team which is another reason they are putting the ball in the basket better than most of the teams in college basketball. Oklahoma will look to control the rebounds against a Texas team that is equally strong on the boards. Oklahoma ranks 19th in the country averaging 38 rebounds per game. The early betting lines have this game predicted to be a close game and second chance opportunities are very important in any close game.
Texas presents a bit slower pace offense than the Sooners, but provides teams trouble on the defensive side of the court as well. The Longhorns are ranked in the top 40 teams in America in both scoring defense and field goal percentage allowed. Texas is only allowing opposing teams to shoot a dismal 38% against the Longhorns while also holding teams to a mere 60 points per contest. The Longhorns will look to contain a solid shooting Oklahoma team this Monday night and get back on track after a disappointing loss to early last week. Texas along with Oklahoma is among one of the best rebounding teams in the land. It will be interesting to see which team can grab the advantage off the boards when these two Big 12 rivals collide.
Bovada Sportsbook has opened the betting line favoring the Oklahoma Sooners campaign by 4.5 points over Texas. However, more recently the betting line is moved a half of a point in way of the Longhorns and now stands with Oklahoma at -4. Early action has a large portion of the betting public favoring the Longhorns to bounce back and pick up a big victory over the Sooners.
Senior guard A.J Abrams has led the Longhorns this season averaging a strong 17.5 points per game for a Texas offense that is not known for their scoring. Damion James and Gary Johnson are the responsible parties controlling the inside game. James is averaging 15 points per game and a team leading 8.7 rebounds per contest. Johnson has been equally effective on the glass with 7.1 rebounds per game while supporting with 11 points per game as well. The Texas big men will need a really big performance in attempt to take down the Sooners on Monday.
Oklahoma sophomore forward Blake Griffin is among one of the best young players in America. Griffin has been one of the best scorers in college basketball this season averaging a stout 22.5 points per game. However, it is the rebounding ability Griffin presents that make him so valuable. Griffin leads the nation in rebounding with an amazing 14 boards per game. Also keep an eye on another young talent in freshmen guard Willie Warren. Warren is adding help with nearly 16 points per game this season and the Sooners will need a big performance from the young talent hold of a solid Texas basketball team.
The Longhorns have been indecisive against the books this season with a 6-6 ATS mark for the year. However, Texas has won the last 7 out of 10 against the Sooner while also going 7-3 ATS during that stretch as well. Oklahoma is 6-5 ATS this season with a 3-2 ATS mark at home. The under total has been reached in the last 7 of 9 games in this series including the last 4 games.
Jays Pick - I do not believe Texas is as good as many think. Texas will have to prove me wrong. Take Oklahoma -4