Oklahoma vs Texas
The #5 Texas Longhorns will enter Tuesday’s conference battle against #24 Oklahoma without their head coach, as Shaka Smart tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday afternoon.
Smart’s absence could a factor, but the Longhorns are not a young team and rely heavily on senior Matt Coleman (13.2 PPG, 4.1 APG) and a couple of junior guards, Courtney Ramey (13.9 PPG, 3.9 APG) and Andrew Jones (14.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG).
Texas has won seven of its last eight games along with a narrow 79-77 home loss to #15 Texas Tech. During that span, the Longhorns beat #3 Kansas 84-59 and #14 West Virginia 72-70, while they are coming off an 82-67 win to Kansas State.
— Shaka Smart (@HookEmSmart) January 25, 2021
The Sooners are back in the AP Top 25 Poll, riding a three-game win streak following a 75-68 victory to #9 Kansas. However, Oklahoma is winless in three straight outings away from home, and the Sooners are just 5-12 straight up and 6-10-1 ATS in their previous 17 road contests.
We’re looking for Texas’ D to make the difference, as the Longhorns should have enough firepower to shut down the Sooners. Oklahoma scores 113.0 points per 100 possessions (22nd in the country), but Texas surrenders just 88.7 (5th).
Furthermore, the Longhorns hold their rivals to 38.9% shooting from the field (21st) and 28.7% from downtown (25th). Texas is 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six matchups with Oklahoma, but the Longhorns failed to cover in five consecutive games on the home court. That will have to change eventually.
Kentucky vs Alabama
The Kentucky Wildcats just snapped a three-game skid that started with a heavy 85-65 defeat to Alabama on January 12. They beat LSU 82-69 as 1.5-point home favorites this past Saturday, improving to 5-9 on the season and 4-3 in the Southeastern Conference play.
On the other side, the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-3, 8-0 Conf.) are No. 9 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll, riding a nine-game win streak following an 81-73 victory to Mississippi State last Saturday. They sit atop of the SEC standings, three games ahead of their closest rivals.
No. 9⃣ in the @AP_Top25
— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) January 25, 2021
Alabama dominated the Wildcats in that 20-point victory two weeks ago. The Tide shot 45.6% from the field and 46.7% from beyond the arc (14-for-30) while handing out 15 assists and forcing 19 turnovers. The Wildcats failed to cope with Alabama’s furious pace, and that’s going to be a problem at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa once more.
The Tide tally 74.8 possessions per 40 minutes, and that’s the ninth-fastest pace in the country. The Wildcats, on the other side, average 67.1 possessions per 40 minutes (273rd in the country). This Kentucky team lacks experience and leans on a bunch of freshmen, so we’re backing the hosts to win and cover.
College basketball pick – Alabama by 8.
Mississippi State vs Tennessee
The #18 Tennessee Volunteers fell 12 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll after losing to Florida 75-49 and #19 Missouri 73-64 last week. They desperately need to stop this slide, and the clash against Mississippi State looks like a perfect opportunity.
The Bulldogs have dropped two straight, too, and are 1-3 straight up over their last four outings. Mississippi State is a good defensive team, as the Bulldogs surrender 90.5 points per 100 possessions (13th), but they score only 105.4 in a return (104th).
Final from Tuscaloosa pic.twitter.com/T8Lp3vIs9W
— Mississippi State MBK (@HailStateMBK) January 24, 2021
The Vols have to find their defensive mojo, and we expect them to bounce back against the Bulldogs’ struggling offense. Tennessee still has the third-best defensive rating in the nation (88.1), while the Vols score 110.0 points in a return (57th).
Tennessee is 15-5 straight up and 13-7 ATS in its last 20 matchups with Mississippi State. The Volunteers’ last three home wins over the Bulldogs came by 15 or more points.
College basketball pick – Tennessee by 9.
Dayton vs Saint Louis
The #22 Saint Louis Billikens will take the floor for the first time since December 23 and a 62-46 home victory over UM Kansas City. They failed to cover a 23-point spread, but the Billikens went 12-1 SU and 10-2-1 ATS through their last 13 games overall.
Saint Louis will certainly need some time to find the right rhythm after a long, long pause. Senior guards Jordan Goodwin (16.9 PPG, 11.1 RPG) and Javonte Perkins (17.8 PPG, 54.8 3P%) will continue to lead the way, as the Billikens rank 40th in offensive efficiency (111.0) and 38th in defensive efficiency (38th).
.@SaintLouisMBB is set to return to the floor tomorrow against Dayton, it’ll be their first game since Dec. 23. Take a look behind the scenes as we record our #Billikens Coaches Show with head coach @CoachTFord5 sponsored by @fieldhouse_stl https://t.co/g0Q9eIdp8B
— KMOXSports (@KMOXSports) January 25, 2021
On the other side, Dayton is coming off a 66-43 defeat at VCU last Saturday, putting an end to a three-game winning streak. The Flyers are 79th in the country in offensive efficiency (107.1) and 95th in defensive efficiency (97.4), while senior guard Jalen Crutcher is averaging 18.3 points, 3.8 boards, and 4.4 assists per game.
Dayton has won three of its last four games against Saint Louis, but the Flyers are only 1-6 ATS over their previous seven encounters with the Billikens. In their first clash in more than a month, the Billikens will be fired up to prove their worth, so we’re backing the hosts to cover.
Missouri vs Auburn
The Auburn Tigers have dominated the Missouri Tigers over the last few years, going 5-2 SU and ATS in their previous seven encounters. However, they lost the last one as 3.5-point road favorites, 85-73, and the Auburn Tigers opened as slight 1.5-point home favorites for Tuesday’s clash.
Auburn is coming off a 109-86 road win over South Carolina, recording its third win in the last four showings. Missouri, on the other side, is rolling on a three-game win streak following a 73-64 victory at #6 Tennessee. The Missouri Tigers are No. 12 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, climbing seven spots thanks to their rich vein of form.
Third ranked win, fifth Quad 1 win, fourth true road win and the first win in Knoxville since 1972.
— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) January 24, 2021
This SEC showdown will be a tight one and could easily go either way, as both teams have been playing well recently. We’re taking the visitors to cover because their defense should be a key factor. While Auburn allows 96.2 points per 100 possessions, Mizzou yield only 91.8 (22nd).
Missouri is 40th in the nation in opponent field goal percentage (39.6%) and 22nd in opponent 3-point percentage (28.6%). Mizzou deals fine with the teams that prefer to play at a fast pace, and Auburn averages 71.8 possessions per 40 minutes (54th).
College basketball pick – Missouri by 3.
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