Rutgers vs. Houston Odds: Our Projected Spread, Total for NCAA Tournament Second Round
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston Cougars star Quentin Grimes.
#10 Rutgers vs. #2 Houston Odds
Rutgers gutted out an opening-round win over Clemson, while Houston cruised in its first game against Cleveland State.
Now the No. 2 and No. 10 seeds will meet in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, with the Cougars as about a 6-point favorite, according to our projections.
How Rutgers & Houston Match Up
|All stats via KenPom.|
What To Know About Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights go through their dynamic duo of Ron Harper Jr. and Jacob Young offensively. The pair averages a combined 29.8 points per game.
But Rutgers’ bread and butter this season has been a defense that ranks 18th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. It helps to have two massive rim protectors in Myles Johnson and Cliff Omoruyi, but Rutgers can lock down everywhere on the court. Rutgers’ experience (Harper and leading-rebounder Myles Johnson are juniors, and Young is a senior) will be a big boost come March.
However, what will likely hold them back from a deep run is their inconsistent offense, which goes on too many droughts. It’s tough to win in March when you shoot 31.1% from 3 (291st) and 63.2% from the line (332nd).
If Rutgers could ever consistently hit outside shots and free throws, it could make a run to the Final Four. They just haven’t shown me enough to trust them to do that for four straight games. — Stuckey
What To Know About Houston
There isn’t much that Kelvin Sampson’s Houston Cougars don’t do well. They rank ninth in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, according to KenPom and are sixth overall. There’s really no weaknesses on a defense that has so much versatility and takes away everything in the paint. Houston is one of the country’s elite teams while playing at the 320th-ranked adjusted Tempo.
Quentin Grimes is the leading scorer at 17.9 points for a team that is full of players between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-8, including do-everything senior wing DeJon Jarreau, who recently recorded the first Cougar triple-double since Bo Outlaw in 1993. They are also extremely well-schooled under Kelvin Sampson.
Like most Sampson teams, they are absolutely fantastic on the offensive glass, despite lacking elite size. The Cougars’ size and athleticism will be a problem for any team, and they’re definitely going to be a contender for a Final Four run. Houston, we have a problem, and it’s Houston for the rest of this field. — Matt Trebby