College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Texas vs. Texas Tech (Tuesday, February 1)
Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Beard (Texas)
- Chris Beard makes his highly anticipated return to Lubbock on Tuesday night in what should be a raucous atmosphere between Texas and Texas Tech.
- The Red Raiders are six-point favorites, but is this too many points in what is expected to be a low scoring game?
- Mike McNamara breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Texas vs. Texas Tech Odds
-102o / -120u
|Texas Tech Odds|
-102o / -120u
When the Big 12 basketball schedule was released back in September, there was one game I immediately circled on the calendar.
It was this one.
Chris Beard returns to Lubbock for the first time since his shocking departure last March.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a man go from so beloved by a community to so heavily despised in less than a year, but that’s what it feels like right now with Beard and the Tech faithful.
As I’m writing this, I’m watching videos of Texas Tech fans following the UT bus and flipping the bird to Beard from the front passenger seat.
Students have been camping outside the stadium for over 48 hours in anticipation for this one. Frankly, I don’t think you’ll see another atmosphere quite like Tuesday night the rest of the year in college basketball.
What makes the storylines even more intriguing, is that both of these teams are playing good basketball right now. Texas Tech enters this game ranked No. 14 in the country and sitting at 16-5 overall.
Texas is also 16-5 and has won three in a row, including Saturday’s one-point victory over Tennessee.
We’ve taken a look at some of the external factors surrounding this game, but now let’s get into who has the advantage on the court.
Texas did everything it could to give the game away against Tennessee in the last five minutes. The Longhorns were playing suffocating defense and led the Vols 51-35 with 5:20 to go in the game.
From that point, Tennessee went on a 16-0 run and actually had the ball with a chance to take the lead with under a minute left. Texas got a stop and then got a Timmy Allen free throw to retake the lead at 52-51 with six seconds to go.
The Longhorns escaped with the win, but you have to wonder what that stretch did to the team’s psyche.
Texas continues to be an extremely sound defensive team. In their last three games, the Longhorns have held Oklahoma State, TCU and Tennessee to 51 points or fewer.
Dylan Disu, Tre Mitchell and Christian Bishop contest everything at the rim, and the Longhorns are forcing turnovers at a very high clip.
On the other end, it has been a flat out struggle at times. The Longhorns have gone on long scoring droughts in many recent games, and part of this is because they haven’t established a go-to scorer.
Marcus Carr was expected to be that guy, but the Minnesota transfer just hasn’t been all that efficient. He’ll need to take much better care of the basketball against a swarming Red Raiders defense.
Mark Adams has done a remarkable job in year one as the head man in Lubbock. Texas Tech is ranked in the top 15 in the nation, and very few teams can boast the quality of wins the Red Raiders already have.
Saturday’s blowout win over Mississippi State was another prime example of just how good this team is defensively. The Red Raiders held the Bulldogs under 40% shooting from the field and forced 22 turnovers in the process.
Adams brought in a quartet of transfers in Adonis Arms, Kevin Obanor, Bryson Williams and Davion Warren, and all have fit into his system seamlessly.
Williams has been incredibly efficient from the field, and Obanor gives the Red Raiders a veteran presence who has played in a lot of big games going back to his March run at Oral Roberts a year ago.
Texas has been loose with the basketball in recent games, so that is certainly an area Adams will look to expose Tuesday night.
One other thing to monitor is the health of Terrence Shannon Jr., who is currently listed as a game-time decision. I’m sure Shannon Jr. would love the chance to suit up against his former coach, and even if not at 100%, he would give Tech another depth piece in what should be a very physical game.
Texas vs. Texas Tech Betting Pick
Back in early January, my initial thought on this game was that the gambling play was going to have to be backing Texas Tech in this emotional spot. However, I no longer feel that way.
Part of that is because this line is a lot higher than what it was expected to be at that time. I believe the anticipation of a crazy environment, as well as the Texas Tech motivational angle, may be over-baked into this line.
With an O/U currently sitting at 121, 6.5 is a lot of points to be laying in a matchup between two teams that are both very strong on the defensive end.
Texas Tech is a mediocre jump shooting team, and that is kind’ve where you need to attack the Longhorns offensively. The Red Raiders’ offense could struggle in the half-court, and I don’t expect them to generate many easy buckets.
Lastly, as much motivation as there may be on the side of Texas Tech, something tells me Beard & Co. are going to be pretty fired up for this one, as well.
I think you’ll see this nucleus of players rally around the profanity-laced chants directed at the team bus late last night. Guys like Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey had zero involvement in Beard returning to his alma mater, but I think they’ll be fired up to play for their new coach.
Ultimately, I think Texas Tech is the slightly better team on both sides of the floor, but given the number here, I believe the value lies with the Longhorns.
I’m taking the 6.5 and playing Texas in a game I am flat out fascinated to watch.