NCAA Basketball Pick: Texas vs. TCU

Darin Zank

Monday, January 19, 2015 5:24 PM GMT

Since joining the Big 12 a couple of seasons ago TCU is 0-5 straight-up and 2-3 against the spread versus Texas. The Frogs will try to wrangle the 'Horns when the teams meet in Fort Worth Monday night.

Longhorns-Horned Frogs Betting Odds
Most college basketball betting odds opened this game with Texas favored by three points, the total offered at around 118; in the early betting some books bumped the 'Horns to -3.5. Bettors who believe TCU might pull the upset tonight could get a price of +145 on the Frogs on the moneyline at 5Dimes.

 

Longhorns-Horned Frogs: Background
Texas, with basically the entire roster back from a team that made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, began this season as the favorite to win the Big 12. Texas went 11-2 through its non-conference schedule, with wins over Iowa, Cal and UConn, the losses coming against Kentucky and Stanford. The 'Horns then opened Big 12 play with a 70-61 victory at Texas Tech, covering as eight-point favorites, but then lost back-to-back games to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. But the Longhorns rediscovered their winning ways last time out, walloping West Virginia 77-50, easily covering as three-point favorites.

Texas led by 14 at the half Saturday, then pulled away. For the game the 'Horns shot only 43 percent from the field, but hit 31 of 37 free-throws and outrebounded the Mountaineers 44-32.

TCU, with four starters back from a team that went 9-22 last year, was just looking to make progress this season, and hopefully win a couple of Big 12 games, after going 0-18 in conference last season. But after a great start the Frogs might have bigger things in mind.

TCU started 13-0 this season, although some of that must be attributed to a very weak schedule. The only victories over major conference schools came against Washington State, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The Frogs then opened Big 12 play with three straight losses, to West Virginia, Kansas State and Baylor. But TCU only trailed the Mountaineers by a bucket with eight minutes left before fading; then lost by five in Manhattan; then lost in overtime to the Bears.

Last time out TCU snapped a 23-game conference losing streak with a 62-42 victory at Texas Tech. The Frogs led by 10 at the half Saturday, and never let the Raiders get within single-digits from there. TCU shot 45 percent from the field, and held Tech to just 23 percent shooting, and 11 field goals.

 

Longhorns-Horned Frogs Recent History
Texas has beaten TCU five times over the last two seasons, but the Frogs covered last year's two meetings. The Longhorns won at TCU last February 59-54 but the Frogs covered as nine-point home dogs; the 'Horns then won in Austin in March 66-54 but TCU covered as a 17-point dog. Both of last year's meetings played way UNDER their totals.

 

Longhorns-Horned Frogs Key Stats
Texas is shooting just 43.5 percent from the field this season, but holding opponents to just 34 percent FG shooting. TCU is shooting 47 percent from the floor, and also holding foes to just 34 percent shooting.

According to Sagarin at USAToday.com the Longhorns have played the 46th-toughest schedule in college basketball so far this season, while the Frogs' schedule ranks No. 347.

Check out Joe Gavazzi's Top Defensive Rankings here.

Longhorns-Horned Frogs Betting Trends
Texas is 3-7 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as 'Horns games have averaged 127 points.
TCU is 2-6 on the totals, as Frogs games have also averaged 127 points.

 

Longhorns-Horned Frogs Free Pick
TCU has the nice record, it just hasn't beaten anybody yet. Texas is the better team in this match-up, and should still contend for the conference title. And playing on the road the Longhorns are dealing with a more manageable spread. If this game were being played in Austin the 'Horns might be favored by 8-9-10 points. We like Texas for the win tonight, with room for the cover, add them to your NCAA Basketball picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: Texas -2.5 at Pinnacle Sports