Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Florida State-North Carolina, Texas-Oklahoma
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Florida State Seminoles guard Trent Forrest (3), North Carolina Tarheels guard Cameron Johnson (right).
We’re just over three weeks away from Selection Sunday, and 20 ranked teams are in action amid Saturday’s docket to celebrate the occasion. Among them, No. 16 Florida State travels to No. 8 UNC after Oklahoma and Texas square off in an unranked affair.
Where’s the value in these two contests? Let’s break it down.
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Texas Longhorns at Oklahoma Sooners
- Spread: Oklahoma -3.5
- Over/Under: 134
- Time: Noon ET
- TV: ESPNU
The Longhorns (12-14 against the spread) have won five of their past six games ATS while Oklahoma (17-6-3 ATS) have lost three contests ATS over that same stretch.
The biggest storyline surrounds Shaka Smart’s unit, which will suit up minus leading-scorer Kerwin Roach (15.0 points per game), who went off for 23 points in a three-point win win over Oklahoma (+5) on Jan. 19. The 6-foot-4 guard was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.
Texas has generated the most 3-point attempts in Big 12 play despite tallying the conference’s third-lowest clip (33.2%) from the perimeter. Roach owned the second-highest percentage (34.4%) on the team.
With Oklahoma letting up the fourth-lowest 3-point scoring rate (35.5%) during their league slate, the Longhorns’ offense is bound to struggle without their lead guard.
To make matters worse, their ball movement wasn’t very crisp with Roach to begin with, amassing third-lowest assist rate (50.5%) in the conference. He produced the third-highest assist rate on the team, too.
On the flip side, the Longhorns’ interior defense has allowed the third-highest two-point scoring rate (50.7%) in league play. The Sooners have accrued the highest scoring rate (52.8%) from that area, led by Christian James (15.3 ppg) off the dribble drive and Kristian Doolittle (9.9 ppg) on the block.
They’ll have success running their offense inside, similar to last Saturday’s victory over TCU, scoring 56.3% of their offense from that vicinity. Lay the points in a revenge spot.
THE PICK: Oklahoma -3.5
Florida State Seminoles at North Carolina Tar Heels
- Spread: UNC -7.5
- Over/Under: 158
- Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
The Tar Heels (16-8-2 ATS) have covered in seven of their past nine games, including Wednesday’s outright win at Duke. On the flip side, the Seminoles (13-13 ATS) have won seven of their past eight affairs ATS.
UNC gashed the Blue Devils inside to the tune of a 65.5% two-point clip, as Roy Williams’ bunch has relied its interior offense for 50.5% of its scoring overall — the sixth-highest rate in ACC play. But FSU has not only yielded the lowest two-point scoring clip (42.5%) amid its league slate, but it’s given up the third-lowest scoring rate (43.4%) from that vicinity as well.
Expect a letdown performance for North Carolina in the paint — aided by Zion Williamson’s absence in their last contest. The Seminoles’ length matches up to perfection against UNC’s size, and it’ll be able to limit Cam Johnson (16.7 ppg) throughout.
Florida State point guard Trent Forrest should be able to bother the turnover-prone Coby White, too, thanks to the 43rd-highest steal rate (3.8%) in Division I.
At the other end, the Seminoles are shooting just 33.6% from 3-point land in conference play, but they’re starting to regress in a positive direction via their 35.1% clip over their past three contests. The Tar Heels have been susceptible in that department, allowing the ACC’s sixth-highest 3-point clip (33.5%) and perimeter scoring percentage (34.3%), respectively.
The 6-foot-10 Mfiondu Kabengele (13.4 ppg) will be a major difference-maker with his prowess for both spacing the floor (39.5%) and attacking the paint.
The Seminoles are criminally undervalued in this one, going 3-1 (75.0%) as an underdog vs. ACC opponents this season, per Bet Labs.
THE PICK: FSU +7.5