SportsPulse: The glass slipper fits. Oral Roberts becomes the second ever No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16. Scott Gleeson details how they did it and if their magical run can continue. USA TODAY
No. 15 seed Oral Roberts and No. 3 seed Arkansas face off on Saturday in a Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament matchup.
Who will win and advance to the Elite 8?
Check out these picks and predictions for the South Region game, which can be seen at 4:25 p.m. Arizona time on TBS.
Arkansas is an 11.5-point favorite in the game.
More Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament picks, predictions:
NJ.com: Arkansas will stop Oral Roberts’ magical run
Sam Wilkins writes: “Oral Roberts have arguably been this year’s surprise package, as they’ve pulled off two upsets in a row by beating Ohio State and Florida to reach the Sweet 16. They’re up against a formidable Arkansas team this weekend, one that have impressed in their two games so far and will be confident following their narrow win over Texas Tech. Oral Roberts are #15 seeds for a reason, and despite their amazing run of form this year, we feel the Razorbacks will have too much for them this weekend and put an end to the Golden Eagles’ Cinderella run.”
Pete Fiutak writes: “Oral Roberts will stay around for about 15 minutes, and then the Hogs will start to pull away. The two teams played back in late December with Arkansas winning 87-76 thanks to a huge second half. The Golden Eagles were up 40-30 at the half, and then it was all Hogs in the second. The rebounding advantage? Arkansas 54-29. It won’t be quite that bad this time around, but Arkansas will make just about everything from the field when it has to, and it’ll grab the boards when it misses.”
ESPN: Arkansas a huge favorite over Oral Roberts
The site’s Basketball Power Index gives Arkansas a 92.4% chance to pick up the victory and Oral Roberts a 7.6% chance to get the win.
SportsBook Review: Arkansas will cover against Oral Roberts
Shawn West writes: “Texas Tech put a scare into Arkansas by slowing things down. Arkansas was able to get off a second-half run to go up 13, then held on as the Red Raiders rallied down the stretch. That’s not how Oral Roberts plays, and attempting to run with Arkansas could be a recipe for disaster, as Colgate showed in the first game of the tournament. Arkansas also has an advantage on the boards. The Razorbacks are No. 66 in the nation in offensive rebounding rate. Oral Roberts, meanwhile, pulled off its two upsets while getting outrebounded by Ohio State and Florida, 68-50. Unlike the other upset victims, Arkansas is familiar with Oral Roberts. The two teams played in late December. The Golden Eagles had a 10-point lead at the half, then Arkansas went on a second-half tear to win by 11. Sure enough, the Razorbacks rebounded 49 percent of their own misses and 83 percent of Oral Roberts’.”
Can Oral Roberts continue its magical NCAA Tournament run against Arkansas? College basketball writers aren’t counting on it. (Photo: AJ Mast, AP)
Sports Chat Place: Go with Oral Roberts (and the points) against Arkansas
Andrew Jett writes: “I’m going to stick with Oral Roberts in this one. The Eagles have been playing some great basketball over their last seven games, stunning Ohio State in the first round and keeping it going with a gutsy win over Florida on Sunday. Arkansas will be another stout opponent; the Razorbacks had to push to put away Texas Tech but didn’t have much trouble versus Colgate. This one should be an intriguing matchup but I like Oral Roberts to keep pace and bang out a cover. Should be fun.”
Covers.com: Take Arkansas to cover against Oral Roberts
Jared Hochman writes: “The 15th-seeded Golden Eagles have been outshot by their opponents (48.8 opp. field goal percentage) in two tournament games but have won the turnover margin 36-18 to drive their two upset victories. Those first two opponents, however, were ranked 45th and 75th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency—and Arkansas comes into this game ranking 11th in the nation. Arkansas is the most complete team the Golden Eagles have faced and can force even the most potent of offenses – Colgate was second in the country in scoring and Texas Tech is 31st in adjusted offensive efficiency – into prolonged scoring droughts, so don’t be surprised if it clamps down on Oral Roberts as well. We recommend waiting to see if public love for the Cinderella knocks the spread down a few points, but we have no problem backing the Hogs right now. “
Sports Betting Dime: Take Oral Roberts (and the points) against Arkansas
Robert Duff writes: “Being dominated on the boards hasn’t bothered Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles lost the rebound battle 49-32 to Ohio State and 37-24 to Florida. Both teams can score the basketball. Arkansas is the nation’s #7 offense (82.0 ppg) and Oral Roberts is 12th overall (81.5 ppg). The Golden Eagles covered in their loss to the Razorbacks as 19.5-point underdogs. They’re 4-2 ATS when an underdog of more than 10 points. Take Oral Roberts and the points.”