Statements were made yesterday in college hoops by several teams. The UCONN Huskies continue to show people that they are a lot better than most people think, as they celebrated their first top-25 ranking of the season by picking up a hard-fought road victory at DePaul. The Huskies are now 7-1 on the season and are ranked 25th and rising in the latest AP Poll.
Another team that needed a win and took care of business was Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers were upset the night before at Indiana State and rebounded last night in the second half of a back-to-back with the Sycamores. The Ramblers are still the favorites in the Missouri Valley Conference, but the Bulldogs of Drake are hot on their tails, as they are 14-0 and are steamrolling the competition. In an unfortunate scheduling quirk, Drake and Loyola-Chicago don’t have any games scheduled between them before the MVC tournament at the end of the season, and these teams seem to be on a collision course in the Valley!
Gotta keep it entertaining❗
— UConn Men's Basketball (@UConnMBB) January 12, 2021
Two other teams that impressed yesterday were the Boise State Broncos and the Colorado Buffaloes, as both teams picked up big conference road wins. The Broncos ran their record to 11-1 with a win at upstart Wyoming, blowing the Cowboys out by 23 points on their own floor.
As for Colorado, the Buffaloes picked up a win over Utah, in Salt Lake City, and while the Utes are down right now, road wins in league play are essential and hard to get no matter who you are playing. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to the Big 12, where the Oklahoma Sooners square off with the TCU Horned Frogs.
- TCU Horned Frogs (9-4) at Oklahoma Sooners (6-4)
- Lloyd Noble Center, Norman
- 4:30 PM PST
- TV: ESPN+
The Oklahoma Sooners have played an absolutely brutal stretch of games in the Big 12, with recent games against Kansas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Baylor, and will get another tough game tonight as they host an overachieving TCU Horned Frogs team in a Big 12 conference game. The Sooners lost three out of those four games but did manage to pick up the home floor win over West Virginia, to give them a signature win on their resume. OU is looking for the season sweep of the Horner Frogs, as they knocked them off in Forth Worth earlier this season.
Game day in Norman. #BoomerSooner
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 12, 2021
For TCU, the Horned Frogs had a six-game winning streak going before dropping back-to-back home games to Baylor and Kansas in their last two games. Interestingly enough, all four of the Horner Frogs losses have come on their home floor this year, and TCU has a stellar 4-0 record in true road and neutral floor games. TCU came into the season with light expectations but are looking to pick up their 4th top-100 victory tonight against Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Sooners (6-4)
Despite playing a nasty schedule against some of the best defenses in the nation, the Oklahoma Sooners have still managed to play a very efficient offense. That efficient offense is a trademark of a Lon Kruger coached team, and even against top-10 defense like Kansas, West Virginia, Baylor, and Texas Tech, the Sooners have still managed to take care of the basketball, pass well, and hit their free throws at a high rate. That didn’t convert to wins over Kansas, Baylor, or Texas Tech, but it showed me that this Sooners team can score with any team in the nation.
Former Wichita State transfer Austin Reaves has taken his game to a whole new level this season and is looking like a potential all-Big 12 caliber player for the Sooners. Reaves leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, and minutes per game. The senior has done everything for Oklahoma, and in the Sooners first game with TCU, he had the best game of his career. In that first meeting, Reaves exploded for 32 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds. If he can have a repeat of that performance tonight, the Sooners are going to win this game.
TCU Horned Frogs (9-4)
How can you not love TCU head coach Jaime Dixon? After winning at least 21 games in each of his first three seasons at TCU, the Horned Frogs had a down year last year and were expected to again be down this year. But Dixon has done a remarkable job of staying competitive in the very tough Big 12 this season, despite not having the same level of talent as many of these other top teams in the league.
The Frogs are 2-0 on the road in Big 12 play, winning at Oklahoma State and K-State, and they are 2-0 on neutral floor games as well with top-100 wins over Liberty and Tulsa. There have been several soft wins sprinkled in there, like wins over Prairie View A&M, Northwestern State, and Houston Baptist, all teams ranked 300th or worst, inflating their record just a bit, but this TCU team has played well enough to join the NCAA tournament conversation at this point as few teams have the road wins that TCU touts.
Who Do I Like?
I really wanted to take the upset special in this game and back TCU. The opening line of Oklahoma -9 seemed like a juicy proposition, as that is a lot of points to give a team that has played so well away from home. But I guess the public had the same idea, as they have been hammering TCU. All of that early action has moved this number a whopping three and a half points towards TCU!
If you look at Kenpom, they have the Sooners winning by 7 points, so that opening line was likely a bit off, but now that it has moved sharply towards TCU, I am going to make a standard fade the public play and back Oklahoma. The Sooners have been great at home this season, with a 5-1 record, with their only loss coming against a very good Texas Tech team.
When these two teams matched up in Fort Worth over a month ago, the Sooners used a big second half to pull away late and win that game by four points. Now that Oklahoma is at home, I would tend to think their home floor is worth at least the two extra points they need to cover this number.
I think Austin Reaves is going to have a coming out party tonight for Oklahoma. He played well in the losses to Baylor and Kansas, and I think that he blows up on TCU again tonight. Reaves threatened a triple-double in the first game with TCU, and I see him being even better tonight at home. If he can score at will like he did in the first matchup, I just don’t see any way that TCU can keep this game tight.
I get to make a couple of my favorite plays in this one. I get to back a home team in conference play, always the side I like to be on, and I get to fade the betting public. Was the public right for jumping on TCU getting +9 points? Yeah, that was probably the right play. But the public doesn’t ever seem to understand that too much of a good thing, is not a good thing, and they have taken their love affair with TCU a little too far.
The public always seems to get it wrong, and it wouldn’t shock me at all if this one falls right into that middle that they have created with this massive line move. I expect the Sooners to win and cover the -5.5 points, and if the universe is on my side and wants to punish the public for being the public, it will land between the 5.5 and the 9 points. Give me the Oklahoma Sooners tonight, as home favorites, laying -5.5-points. I’ll call the final score at 80-72 and high five the public for delivering me a winning ticket!