NCAA Basketball Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-5, 8-5 ATS) vs. Texas Longhorns (17-2, 7-8 ATS), Erwin Center, Austin, Wednesday, Jan. 27th, 9 PM Eastern, ESPN-U
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Longhorns -17/Raiders +17
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After losing two straight games as the No. 1 ranked team in college basketball the Texas Longhorns might be looking for someone to take out a little frustration upon. Unfortunately for Coach mini-Knight’s Texas Tech Red Raiders, they’re next up on UT’s menu, Wednesday night in Austin, for an in-state Big 12 Conference rivalry bout.
Several online sportsbooks opened this game Tuesday night with Texas favored by 17 points, with an over/under of 160. More than a couple of those outlets quickly bumped the Longhorns -17.5.
With four starters back from a team that won 14 games last year, Texas Tech has already equaled that win total this season. The Raiders started out 9-0, and with wins over Washington, Oregon State and Stanford, went 3-0 against the PAC 10. But they began their Big 12 slate with three straight losses, two of the blowout variety. T Tech has recovered, though, to win two straight home games. They beat Iowa State 78-71 last week, and in their latest outing rallied from 11 points down early in the second half to beat Oklahoma 75-65 Saturday.
Texas returned three starters from a team that won 23 games last season before losing to Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament. And they won their first 17 games this season, reaching the top of the AP rankings for the first time in school history. The Longhorns went 14-0 through their non-conference schedule, which included wins over Pittsburgh, USC, North Carolina and Michigan State. They then won their first three Big 12 games, although they couldn’t cover the pointspread in any of them. The ‘Horns then won their first two games as the top-ranked team in the land, but suffered their first defeat of the season at Kansas State 71-63 last Monday. And Saturday they ventured out of conference, and lost at Connecticut 88-74, a game they led by 10 points early in the second half.
So at 3-1 in conference play Texas trails first-place Kansas by a game and a half in the Big 12 standings, while at 2-3 Texas Tech is tied for eighth with Oklahoma.
In their only two conference road games so far this season, the Raiders have lost by 29 and 26 points.
The Longhorns have been favored by 14 points or more nine times this season. They’re 9-0 straight up in those games, but only 4-5 vs. the point spread.
And the ‘Horns have lost six straight games against the numbers.
Texas Tech is shooting 44% from the field as a team this season, 36.5% from 3-point range and 71% from the free-throw line. Texas, meanwhile, is shooting 48% from the floor, 35% from beyond the arc but just 62% from the line.
At the other end of the court the Raiders are allowing opponents to shoot 41% from the field, which ain’t bad. But the Longhorns are holding foes to less than 38% from the floor.
And Texas would figure to have a significant advantage on the boards in a match-up against Texas Tech. So far this season the ‘Horns are outrebounding opponents by 10.3 per game, while the Raiders are getting outboarded just slightly, by about a half a rebound per game.
Texas swept the two-game series from Texas Tech last season by scores of 71-49 and 87-81. The ‘Horns outrebounded the Raiders by 12 in the first game, and by 13 in the second.
These two teams have played two common opponents this season. They both beat Iowa State, Texas by a 90-83 score, Texas Tech by 78-71. And both got good games from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; the ‘Horns led the Islanders by 12 at halftime but only won by six points, 76-70, while Tech trailed by four at the half before beating the Isles 66-59.
The totals are 7-5 on Raiders games this season, which are averaging 151 points, and 8-6 on Longhorns games, which are also averaging 151 points.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rate the Longhorns at +12.2 points over the Red Raiders. And with Sagarin’s updated CBB home-court advantage figure of 4.1, Texas is a 16 1/2-point home favorite for Wednesday’s game over Texas Tech.
Z-Man’s Pick: Look for Texas to come out fired up after their recent slump. Take the Longhorns to cover the spread.