The No. 14 Abilene Christian Wildcats will look to follow in similar footsteps as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles on Saturday night. Oral Roberts currently have the upset of the tournament, as they edged out the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes for a 75-72 win. Ohio State appeared to get overly confident following their win in the Big Ten Championship against the Michigan Wolverines. The Buckeyes apparently never watched the Summit League, because Oral Roberts were good all season. The Golden Eagles can shoot and Ohio State didn’t bother to get in their face and make that game difficult.
For the high seeds going into Saturday, they have to look at the case of Ohio State and understand that could happen to them if they’re not showing up to the party prepared on Saturday. And for the lower seeds, it’s essentially the opposite, in that look at what Oral Roberts just did, we can do it, too. Abilene Christian is one of those mid-major schools that was solid throughout the season, but this is the first time that most people are exposed to them this season. I’ve followed the Southland Conference this season, and I have to say that Abilene Christian isn’t a squad to underestimate.
Abilene Christian enters Saturday with a record of 23-4, and a dominant performance in the Southland Championship. Nicholls State is a quality team. They went toe-to-toe during the regular season, with Nicholls State 14-2 in the conference and Abilene Christian at 13-2. The Wildcats put the Southland Tournament Championship on cruise control, as they stomped on Nicholls State by a score of 79-45. Having said that, what does it mean when comparing Abilene Christian to a successful Big 12 program? Texas are conference champions going into the NCAA Tournament as well.
The Longhorns knocked off the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 91-86, to secure the Big 12 Tournament Championship. They scraped out a 67-66 win against a talented Texas Tech team before beating Oklahoma State. If Kansas didn’t have to bow out of the tournament because of Covid-19, maybe we’re not talking about a Texas championship. In any case, Texas beat who was in front of them and go into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed. Head below for our free Abilene Christian vs. Texas pick on March 20, 2021.
Abilene Christian (No. 14) vs. Texas Longhorns (No. 3) NCAA Tournament Betting Odds:
Abilene Christian vs. Texas Prediction:
Abilene Christian were fundamentally solid on both sides of the floor in the Southland Conference. They are a well-rounded group that can beat a team with their defense or offense. Abilene Christian has showcased a nice ability to be a chameleon and win a defensive or offensive battle. Texas must be aware of the Wildcats solid ability as an offense and defense. They certainly aren’t one-dimensional.
For instance, in an early matchup against Texas Tech on December 9, the only ranked team they’ve played this season, the Wildcats went into defensive mode in Lubbock and kept the game closer than many anticipated. Texas Tech won, but Abilene Christian covered in a 51-44 win for the Red Raiders.
The Wildcats are a well-balanced team offensively. They scored an average 77 points per game for 54th in the NCAA. However, away from home, Abilene Christian netted just 68.7 points per game, so that’s a considerable drop off from playing at home. Defense was able to travel for the most part, with 67.3 points conceded per game this season. Overall, the Wildcats were eighth in the nation with 60.7 points against.
Obviously the biggest question with Abilene Christian is their strength of schedule. Their only big challenge was against Texas Tech in December. Otherwise, Abilene Christian didn’t have to deal with any ranked programs. Against a lot of teams in this tournament, I likely would have been on the Wildcats here, but they get a bad draw against a sizzling hot Longhorns squad.
Texas is on a five-game winning streak and wins in six of their previous seven outings. Their only loss during this stretch was against Texas Tech on February 27, 68-59. They returned the favor in the Big 12 Tournament with a 67-66 win. Texas was effective on both sides of the floor, with 74.9 points per game for 84th and 68.2 points conceded for 121st in the NCAA. They’ve been a money maker as of late, going 5-0 ATS in their previous five tilts.
I like Abilene Christian as a team, but they just got a bad matchup here. Texas is in great form at the moment and have plenty of confidence The main key for Texas going into this game is not to take the Wildcats lightly. If they do that, then the Longhorns should be able to pull away in the second-half for a 77-65 win or thereabout.