The Texas Longhorns know that they’re right on the middle of the bubble. They know that if they don’t beat the Iowa State Cyclones in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals on Thursday, they can’t expect to be a lock for the NCAA tournament the following week. This will be an interesting college basketball betting matchup.
The Texas Longhorns Can Win Because…
People who follow the Texas Longhorns will tell you that this is a hugely talented team that could make a big run in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament if things fall right… but they haven’t fallen right so far. Yet, this team just needs a few shots to drop, and everyone might start believing.
Consider what happened for Texas in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night against Texas Tech. The Longhorns shot only 43.9 percent from the field. They earned only 14 free throws. They forced only 10 Texas Tech turnovers. They were outshot from the field, since Texas Tech hit 47.8 percent of its shots. Yet, Texas led by 19, 61-42, with 7:20 left in the game. The Longhorns cruised to a 65-53 win that was a lot more lopsided than the final 12-point margin would suggest. How did Texas do this? It committed only nine turnovers, for one thing, and it grabbed 17 rebounds to only seven for Texas Tech. The Longhorns might have been outshot, but they gained 11 more shot attempts than Texas Tech, not counting their free throws. Texas hit only 4 of 19 three-pointers and yet won by 12… and could have won by 20 if it wanted to, but it took it easy on Texas Tech in the final three minutes of the game.
Just imagine what Texas could do if it hit perimeter shots. Jonathan Holmes is seen as a player who, if he can hit threes, would be almost impossible for opponents to guard. If he can get hot, Texas can win this game very easily, so keep this in mind when looking over the NCAA Basketball odds.
The Iowa State Cyclones Can Win Because…
The Cyclones swept Texas this season, and they did so by running roughshod over the Longhorns’ overwhelmed defense. Iowa State hit 46 percent of its field goals in an 85-77 win in Austin on the Longhorns’ home court on February 21. Iowa State drilled 57 percent of its three-point shots in that game, and it earned 33 free throws. What’s worth mentioning is that Iowa State hit only 21 of those 33 foul shots. Had the Cyclones made 27 or 28 of them, they would have won a lot more easily on the road.
Iowa State was balanced in that game, placing five scorers in double figures and getting 33 bench points compared to just 13 for Texas. The Longhorns got 52 of their 77 points from only two players, Isaiah Taylor and Kendal Yancy, in that game. Everyone else was held in check. Iowa State knows how to play Texas. The Cyclones controlled each of the two games during the season, winning their home game by a smaller margin only because Texas made a huge rally in the final three minutes of the game. Iowa State is the best shooting team in the Big 12 (48.5 percent) and the best two-point shooting team (55.4 percent). Texas’ defense is not going to be able to stop ISU. It didn’t in the regular season. The Cyclones averaged 87 points in two games.
Iowa State’s offense is just way too good for Texas’ defense. The Cyclones would need Texas to get career-best games from at least three players, not just two, in order to lose here. The Longhorns have to play their best game of the season just to have a chance at the end. Take Iowa State with your NCAA Basketball picks.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Iowa State