Oregon is 7-1 against the spread over its last eight games; Oklahoma State is 1-6 ATS over its last seven contests. Is our pick on Friday's West Region eight-vs.-nine game in Omaha just that simple?
Ducks-Cowboys Betting Odds
The NCAA Tournament odds opened this game with Oregon favored by a point and a half, with a total of 138. In the early betting the spread has held steady, while the total has dropped a point or two, down to 136 at some shops.
According to Sagarin's predictor ratings at USAToday.com Oklahoma State should be favored in this game by three points. Take that for what you think it might be worth.
Coming into this season we weren't sure what to think of Oregon. The Ducks lost a lot of production from a team that made the NCAA Tournament last season, and appeared headed for a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Pac-12. But Oregon ended the regular season on a 9-1 run, finished in a tie for second at 13-5 in conference play and advanced to the finals of the conference tournament, although to be kind we won't talk about what happened there.
The Pac-12 only sent four teams to the NCAA tournament this season. Also, the Ducks lost three games to conference champion Arizona, by scores of 80-62, 90-56 and 80-52. So the Pac-12 was certainly a bit top-heavy this year.
Oregon, with victories this season over, among others, UC-Irvine (which won the Big West tournament), UCLA and two over Utah, along with losses to VCU, Ole Miss, UCLA and those three against Arizona, is 4-6 SU, 3-7 ATS against teams that made the NCAA tournament.
Oklahoma State, preseason, fell into a similar category as Oregon. The Cowboys had to replace a lot of production lost from a Dance team of last year, and we figured they'd finish somewhere in the bottom third of the Big 12. Oklahoma State finished 8-10, in a tie for sixth place in the Big 12, a conference that sent seven teams to the Dance. Apparently five victories combined over Texas, Baylor and Kansas are enough to make the NCAA tournament these days.
The Cowboys also come into this tournament having lost six of their last seven games, and two of those losses came against TCU, which went 4-14 in the Big 12, and Texas Tech, which went 3-15. We're still wondering how OSU got in.
The Cowboys played one non-conference game this season against a team that made the tournament; it lost at home to Maryland back in December 73-64. On the season OSU is 5-9 SU, 6-8 ATS against NCAA qualifiers.
These teams met two Marches ago, in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, when the 12th-seeded Ducks upset the fifth-seeded Cowboys 68-55 out in San Jose. Now, we don't put much weight on that outcome when handicapping Friday's game, but we do note that the total on that contest was 136, almost exactly what it is for Friday's contest, and that game played well UNDER that figure.
Oklahoma State is shooting 44 percent from the floor this season, while holding opponents to just 40 percent FG shooting.
Oregon is shooting 46 percent from the floor, and 76 percent from the FT line, which is very good for a college team, while holding foes to 42 percent FG shooting.
Ducks-Pokes Betting Trends
Oklahoma State is 12-14 on the totals this season, as Cowboys games are averaging 130 points.
Oregon is 15-17 on the totals, even though Ducks games are averaging a healthy 146 points
Ducks-Cowboys Free Pick
Oregon certainly comes in as the hotter team, and those Oklahoma State losses to Texas Tech and TCU turn us off. We like the Ducks in this spot for our NCAA Tournament picks.
Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Oregon -1.5 at Pinnacle