TEXAS VS MINNESOTA
Bet Jamaica Line - Texas -4
The Texas Longhorns basketball program has prospered under head
coach Rick Barnes. During the ten years he has been calling the
shots, the Longhorns have made the NCAA Tournament each year, not
including this season. What’s more, he has taken them to five Sweet
Sixteen’s, three Elite Eight’s, and one Final Four. He hasn’t got
the deadly weapons he has had in the past this time around, but he
does have one thing on his side; experience. He will need it to send
home the Minnesota Gophers.
One man’s trash is another mans treasure seems to apply to Tubby
Smith ending up as the coach of the Minnesota Gophers. The rabid
Kentucky Wildcat fans were unhappy with his performance, despite
bringing home the national championship in 1998, and winning the SEC
in 2003 and 2004. I’m sure the Gophers are more than happy with the
22-10 record he managed this year. That record includes wins over
Louisville, Wisconsin (twice), Ohio State, Penn State, and Illinois.
Not bad at all! On the flip side, they are 3-7 in their last ten
games ATS. Despite a great resume, they were a bubble team and got
in the NCAA Tournament with a ten seed.
Despite leading at half time, Texas’s regular season ended in a loss
to Baylor; a team they had blown out just weeks ago. They own wins
over UCLA, Wisconsin, Villanova, and Oklahoma. They have proved they
can play with most teams when they are hot. Their only “bad” losses
came against Notre Dame, and Arkansas. Texas is a dismal 2-9-1 in
their last ten gamest against the spread. The Longhorns hard work
this year was rewarded with a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament.
plays from the best handicappers in the country - Free Sports
Texas has the benefit of balance on their side. Four players are
averaging 10+ PPG, so shutting down one guy will not win the game
for the opposing team. Despite this, Damion James is clearly the
masterpiece of the team. He is putting up 15.4 PPG, and grabbing 9.2
RPG. He is a swingman at 6 foot 7 inches tall, and can really light
the scoreboard up as he proved with 26 points against Kansas. AJ
Abrams is a small guy at 5 foot 11 inches tall, but his PPG is big
at 16.3. The senior had 31 points against UCLA, so he must be
contained if the Gophers want to advance to the second round. Gary
Johnson and Dexter Pittman are also important scorers for the
You wouldn’t think the Gophers were a very good team if you judged
them solely by the statistics of their players. They play about 8
different guys on a regular basis. Lawrence Westbrook is the court
general. The junior is putting up 12.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 1.5 APG.
Westbrook’s biggest game of the year was 29 point performance
against Wisconsin. His fellow junior Damian Johnson can be counted
on for 9.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.2 APG. Al Nolen can go unheard up for
several games at a time, but he did have 18 points in the Gopher
victory over Louisville.
Texas has been a solid program year in and year out. They have the
experience and depth it takes to be a Cinderella surprise in the
NCAA Tournament. Minnesota is a great program, but Tubby Smith has
only now got them to the point of national recognition. I don’t
think they will be able to contend with the Longhorns for rebounds,
and I expect James to go wild. Minnesota is going to be an excellent
team down the road, but it wont start this year. The Texas Longhorns
are a safe bet to advance at -4.