NCAA Basketball: Texas/Oklahoma Preview, Odds and Prediction - 03/04/2021

by Big Al Staff

A Thursday ESPN doubleheader concludes at 9 PM ET in a rematch between two nationally-ranked teams from the Big 12.

Texas has won four of their last six games with their 81-67 victory at Iowa State as a 12.5-point favorite on Tuesday. Courtney Ramey paced the team with 14 points to add to his 13.7 points-per-game scoring average. Andrew Jones leads the team with a 14.8 points-per-game clip.

The Longhorns returned twelve players, including all five starters from last year. Smart added a likely one-and-done freshman in Greg Brown, who is contributing 10.7 points-per-game and 6.9 rebounds-per-game. Texas has six players scoring at least 8.1 points-per-game.

Texas ranks 16th in the AP poll with a 15-7 record. They have several impressive victories against Indiana and North Carolina en route to winning the Maui Invitational while adding wins against Oklahoma State, West Virginia, and Kansas twice. Their seven losses are against Villanova, Texas Tech (twice), Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia. Their 9-6 record in the Big 12 puts them in fifth place. Smart’s team has also had several games lost this season due to the COVID, with both the players and the coaching staff missing time.

Texas ranks 25th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency at kenpom. Their effective field goal percentage of 52.0% is second-best in the conference. On defense, the Longhorns are 34th in adjusted defensive efficiency fueled by their half-court defense as they hold their opponents to a 46.1% effective field goal percentage, 25th nationally.

Oklahoma lost their third in a row on Monday in a 79-75 upset loss at Oklahoma State as a 2.5-point favorite. These three setbacks were by 13 combined points. Brady Manek stepped up with 20 points, four assists, and four rebounds in the loss. The senior is fourth on the team with a 10.4 points-per-game average. He has started the last six games at center after previously playing at power forward. Austin Reaves added 19 points, seven assists, and four rebounds, with the senior leading the way with 17.6 points-per-game, 5.7 rebounds-per-game, and 5.1 assists-per-game averages. Sophomore De’Vian Harmon contributed another 14 points to help his 13.0 points-per-game average.

The Sooners are ranked 15th by the Associated Press with a 14-8 record. Lon Kruger’s team has high-profile victories against Kansas, Texas, West Virginia (twice), and Alabama in non-conference play. Seven of their losses are against teams ranked in the top-56 at kenpom: Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech (twice), Oklahoma State (twice), and Xavier. A setback to Kansas State that ranks 183rd at kenpom is the lone blemish on their resume.

Kruger has over 70% of the production return last year's 19-12 team. Oklahoma is 36th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and 39th in defense at kenpom. The Sooners have been tough to score on inside the arc, with opponents making only 45.6% of their 2-point shots, 33rd nationally. But Oklahoma is allowing opposing shooters to convert 35.4% of their 3-pointers, 260th in the nation. The Sooners make the most of their scoring opportunities, with Reeves running the point. Oklahoma only turns the ball over in 15.5% of their possessions, ranking 19th nationally.

Oklahoma won the first meeting between these two teams, 80-79, as a 3.5-point underdog in Austin on January 26th. Texas did not have starters Courtney Ramey and Jericho Sims and rotational players Jase Febres and Brock Cunningham, given COVID quarantine issues in that contest. All four of those players are back in the mix now. BetAnySports lists Oklahoma as a 2-point favorite with the total set at 143.

Computer prediction:  Oklahoma 72 Texas 69

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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