Thursday Big 12 Tournament Betting Odds & Picks: Texas Tech vs. Texas & West Virginia vs. Oklahoma
Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Bob Huggins of the West Virginia Mountaineers
Much like most conference tournaments, the Big 12 games will continue without fans at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. While the majority of seats will be empty, the Big 12 will provide four fantastic battles featuring among one of most competitive conferences in the country.
Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals
No. 5 Texas Tech vs. No. 4 Texas
- Spread: Texas Tech -5.5
- Total: 125
- Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
This will be the third time Texas Tech has played Texas this season, with the two teams earning surprising wins on their opponent’s home court.
Texas Tech enters this matchup on a four-game losing streak, including a 68-58 home loss to the Longhorns. Under head coach Chris Bears, the Red Raiders rely on a superior defense that ranks ninth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency.
While not as strong in Big 12 Conference play, Texas Tech was the best at limiting opponents from beyond the arc, allowing just 28.4% from 3P. However, when it faced Texas at home on Feb. 29, it allowed the Longhorns to shoot 45.5% (10 of 22) from deep.
Texas has somehow turned its season around despite continual injury issues. Prior to their loss to Oklahoma State on March 7, the Longhorns had won five consecutive games including two road matchups. Their small guard lineup greatly improved their offensive efficiency, which ranks worst in conference play.
The three-guard attack of Matt Coleman (12.7 ppg, 39.5% 3P), Andrew Jones (11.5 ppg, 38.3% 3P) and Courtney Ramey (10.9 ppg, 31.3% 3P) has been tremendous over the last month and combined for 40 of the Longhorns’ 68 points in that win.
Texas also is a superior defensive team, ranking inside the top 25 in adjusted defense efficiency and top 60 in effective field goal percentage allowed.
In a game between two strong defensive teams on a neutral court with an NCAA Tournament invite hanging in the balance for both teams, I’m taking the 5.5 points with the Longhorns. A true road win at Texas Tech coupled with a five-point home loss on Feb. 8 translates to another last-possession game between these heated rivals.
THE PICK: Texas +5.5
No. 6 West Virginia vs. No. 3 Oklahoma
- Spread: West Virginia -4
- Total: 134.5
- Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
Oklahoma has swept the season series against West Virginia, winning, 69-59, at home and, 73-62, in Morgantown.
The Sooners present as a difficult matchup for any team simply because they do not turn the ball over. Oklahoma ranks in the top 25 in offensive turnover percentage per KenPom. In its road victory at Morgantown, the Sooners committed only 11 turnovers in a game they dominated from start to finish.
Head coach Lon Kruger’s team has a strong trio of scorers in forward Kristian Doolittle (15.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg), guard Austin Reaves (14.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and forward Brady Manek (14.4 ppg, 38% 3P).
West Virginia transitioned away from its normal “Press Virginia” reputation to a half-court attack on both ends of the floor. On offense, the Mountaineers are led by the dual inside presence of forwards Oscar Tshiebwe (11.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and Derek Culver (10.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg). However, this offense has statistically been the worst in Big 12 play, ranking last in effective FG%, 3P% and free throw efficiency.
The Mountaineers have relied heavily on their home court for victories, having tallied just one win in their last seven road games.
I don’t trust the West Virginia offense and fail to see many easy baskets generated against a methodical Oklahoma offense. I’ll gladly take the 4 points with the Sooners.
THE PICK: Oklahoma +4