Guard Matt Coleman III #2 of the Texas Longhorns is embraced by forward Greg Brown #4. John E. Moore III/Getty Images/AFP
Known more for being a football rivalry, the hardwood clash between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners on Thursday’s sports betting calendar is nonetheless a big one with some heavy implications for next week’s Big 12 Tournament.
Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Thursday, March 04, 2021 – 09:00 PM EST at Lloyd Noble Center
Texas and Oklahoma begin the game in fifth and sixth, respectively, in the conference standings. The Big 12 gives the top 6 squads a first-day bye in the tournament, set for March 10-13 in Kansas City. Texas Tech looms just behind the Longhorns and Sooners, meaning Thursday’s loser could be in danger of falling to seventh place. The two teams are also right with each other in the latest rankings, Texas holding down the 15/16 slots in the AP and coaches polls while Oklahoma is running 16/15.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh6S2KN9jX0?start=430&feature=oembed]
‘Dogs Have Covered Last Six Meetings
Neither the Longhorns nor the Sooners are in danger of losing out on the NCAA Tournament due to a loss in this matchup, but the outcome surely will affect seeding in the Big Dance. ESPN has the broadcast and the college basketball odds board has Oklahoma giving up 2 points with 142 for the total.
It is the second meeting between the two this season, and if Thursday’s battle is anything like the first a little more than five weeks ago in Austin, we’re in for a treat. Texas hosted Oklahoma as 3-point chalk, and the Sooners departed town with an 80-79 mild upset thanks to some late free throws. Oklahoma took the lead for good with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the first half, but then had to survive a 3-minute scoring drought near the end of the game and hold off the Longhorns.
That victory increased Oklahoma’s lead in the rivalry to 57-41, and marked the third consecutive win by the visiting side. Underdogs have been the way to go the past few seasons with six consecutive covers. Texas won last year’s matchup in Norman, 52-51, using a 3-pointer with under a second remaining for the triumph as a 7-point underdog. The final stopped well short of a 134-point total.
‘Horns 3-1 to the ‘Over’ in Last Four
Shaka Smart’s squad has been struggling a bit coming down the stretch, the Longhorns splitting their last four and running 4-5 beginning with the loss to Oklahoma in late-January. They’ve been even worse at the window where the Longhorns have covered the lines at online sportsbooks just twice, plus a push, in their last 10 trips to the floor. Some earlier postponements are forcing them to play their final four games on the road, with Sunday’s trip to TCU closing out the regular season.
At least Texas reaches Norman off a solid performance at Iowa State on Tuesday. The Longhorns were 12-point favorites, and covered with a bucket to spare in an 81-67 win over the Cyclones. Texas broke an early 13-13 tie with a quick 15-0 run, and remained in control the rest of the way. Kai Jones led the way with 17 points off the bench, adding eight boards and three thefts to his linescore, and Texas made up for 19 turnovers by going 20-for-23 at the line.
OU Has Covered Six of Last Eight Home Games
Lon Kruger’s crew has really tailed off with three successive losses heading into Thursday’s tilt. The Sooners also haven’t made any friends among bettors by beating the spread just once in their last six matchups. The one that really hurt was the 62-57 egg they laid at Kansas State nine days ago as 10-point favorites. Work on the glass has been a problem all season, and especially during the current slide.
Oklahoma’s last two losses came in a span of three days against rival Oklahoma State, giving the Cowboys their first Bedlam broom job over the Sooners since the 2016-17 season. The old foes went to overtime last Saturday in Norman where Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham poured in a career-high 40 points, 10 of them in OT, for the 94-90 final. The Sooners stopped Cunningham early in the follow-up game in Stillwater on Tuesday, but he caught fire in the second half to lead the Cowboys to a 79-75 final.
Smart was sidelined for the first meeting with Oklahoma due to COVID-19, as were players s Jericho Sims and Courtney Ramey and Brock Cunningham. That trio accounts for about 75 minutes of combined floor time a game, and they’ll be on the court Thursday in Norman. For my NCAAB picks, I’ll take the Longhorns plus the bucket.
Texas +2 (-110)Visit Site
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.