TEXAS VS MINNESOTA
Bet 5dimes.com Line – Texas -4 O/U 125.5
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. Whats more, he has taken them to five Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights, and one Final Four. He hasnt 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 mans 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. Im 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, Texass 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.
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 Longhorns.
You wouldnt 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. Westbrooks 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 dont 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.
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