College Basketball Pick
Shaka Smart recently found out just how tough life is playing in the Big 12. Texas was riding high with a Four-Game winning streak and a 7-3 Conference record just a few weeks ago. However, the Longhorns had to deal with Four straight ranked opponents and proceeded to lose three of those. Now, Texas gets home Games against two of the best teams in the country, Oklahoma and Kansas.
The Sooners have had struggles of their own, also recently losing three of their last Four, but they put things together in a huge road win at West Virginia on Saturday. This is a team you simply don’t want to play because Buddy Hield can be un-guardable at times; he scored 29 points Saturday.
The first time these teams played, it ended — maybe unsurprisingly — with Hield hitting a Game-winning three with a couple seconds remaining. It was a solid performance from Texas, holding Oklahoma to just 63 points in Norman. They’ll need to do the same in this Game, while also doing more on the offensive end because holding the Sooners to 63 points isn’t exactly an easily repeatable task. They’ve scored less than 69 points just twice in Conference play.
The problem for the Longhorns is they can’t capitalize on Oklahoma’s main weakness of not having true big men that can operate in the paint. In that first meeting, Khadeem LAttin, Dante Buford and Jamuni McNeace combined for five points and five rebounds in the 5-spot for OU. Prince Ibeh has been better for Texas, but he was still only able to go for nine points and 11 boards. Ibeh lacks a solid offensive Game and that hurts against this Oklahoma team. At the 4-spot, Texas can’t use Connor LAmmert to its advantage because Oklahoma has a similar, and probably better, player in Ryan Spangler.
And while the Longhorns have great guard play between Isaiah Taylor, Java Felix and Kendal Yancy, it’s hard to match what the Sooners bring to the table. In that first Game, Jordan Woodard only had three points on 1-of-6 shooting. Expecting that to happen again would be a mistake because he shoots 45% from range to go with 13.5 points per Game. Hield didn’t shoot all that well in the first Game either, but still finished with 27 points.
The starting three Texas guards scored 41 points in the first Game, a solid total, but Oklahoma was at 47 points and that was the difference.
Texas is solid on the perimeter, but they don’t have the type of size that will give Hield trouble, with all of their starters coming in shorter than Hield. And of course, you also have to worry about point guard Isaiah Cousins in the Oklahoma backcOurt.
Oklahoma may have the better team, but anything can happen to teams on the road in Big 12 play. Texas was blown out by Baylor in its last home Game, but they took down West Virginia the Game before that. The Sooners are a top team, but even after their win over West Virginia, it’s still hard to trust them on the road. Before that WVU win, they fell at two weaker teams in Kansas State and Texas Tech.
If the Sooners aren’t hitting their shots, anything can happen. But even if that’s the case, the Longhorns will need to hit some of theirs as well.
Score Prediction Oklahoma 77 Texas 76