Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:05 PM
Saturday's Early Tips
College Basketball’s regular season continues to wind down during the month of February in anticipation of March Madness and every win or loss this time of the year can have a major impact on this year’s NCAA Tournament. Two of those impact games are on this Saturday’s slate starting with a High Noon showdown in the Big 12.
Texas at No. 23 Oklahoma (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: Oklahoma -6 ½, Total 154 ½
The Longhorns’ postseason plans have taken a big hit with a three-game losing streak both straight-up and against the spread. The most damaging loss was to Kansas State as five-point home favorites and the most recent loss came against Baylor on Monday night in a tough 74-73 double-overtime defeat as three-point favorites at home. Texas dropped to 5-8 SU in Big 12 play with a 7-6 record ATS and the total has gone OVER four of its last six contests.
Four of five starters ended Monday’s loss in double figures with the Longhorns shooting a spotty 36.1 percent from the field and a woeful 15.8 percent from three-point range. Freshman forward Mohamed Bamba has been the team’s leading scorer this season with 13.7 points per game. With 16 points in the latest loss, he has exceeded that average in his last three starts. Texas is averaging 72.4 PPG while allowing an average of 68.0 points on defense.
Oklahoma started its current four-game losing streak on Feb. 3 with a 79-74 loss to Texas as a three-point road underdog. The Sooners have failed to cover ATS in their last six games and the total has gone OVER in three of their last five games. Although, it did stay UNDER 153 ½ points against the Longhorns. Oklahoma is now 6-7 SU (4-9 ATS) in conference play as part of an overall record 16-9. It is an even 6-6 ATS on its home court this season.
Freshman guard Trae Young remains the nation’s top college player in scoring with 29.1 PPG and Oklahoma remains the top scoring team in the nation with an average of 88.4 points, but things are just not clicking for this team right now. In Tuesday’s 88-78 loss to Texas Tech as seven-point road underdogs, the Sooners’ Christian James scored a team-high 23 points with the rest of the starters adding just 27 total points in the losing cause. That total includes Young’s 19 points.
-- The Longhorns are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss and the total has gone OVER in their last four games on a Saturday.
-- The Sooners have failed to cover the spread in their last six Saturday’s games and the total has gone OVER in nine of their last 13 games at home.
-- Head-to-head in this bitter cross-state rivalry, the underdog is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in five of the last seven meetings in Oklahoma.
No. 3 Villanova at No. 4 Xavier (FOX, 4:30 p.m. ET)
Opening Odds: Villanova -1, Total 165 ½
The Wildcats were thought to be the top team in both the Big East and the country for a good part of the season, but some doubt has creeped in with bad losses to St. John’s at home as 16-point favorites and to Providence on the road as 9 ½-point favorites in two of their last three games. Villanova slipped to 10-3 SU and 8-5 ATS in conference play heading into Saturday’s showdown. The total stayed UNDER 152 ½ points in Wednesday’s 76-71 loss to the Friars after going OVER its six previous games.
Cold shooting from three-point range was to blame for this latest loss with the Wildcats failing to convert on 17 of their 20 attempts from beyond the arc. They still managed to shoot 50 percent from the field with junior guard Mikal Bridges scoring a game-high 19 points. Villanova’s leading scorer this season has been another junior guard Jalen Brunson with an average of 19.8 PPG. He ended the game against Providence with 14 points after scoring at least 21 points in each of his previous three starts.
Xavier has moved into the top spot in the Big East standings at 12-2 SU with a SU nine-game winning streak. It has covered in seven of these games as part of a 9-5 record ATS in conference play. Wednesday’s 102-90 victory against Seton Hall as a 6 ½-point home favorite went OVER the closing 159-point line. It has gone OVER in three of the Musketeers’ last four games. They have gone 11-5 ATS at home this season and the total has gone OVER in three of their last four home games.
The last time Xavier lost a game was on Jan. 10 in an embarrassing 89-65 beatdown on the road at the hands of Villanova as a heavy 9 ½-point road underdog, so you can add a revenge factor into this rematch. Senior guard Trevon Bluiett has been the Musketeers’ leading scorer all season long with 19.6 PPG and he led the way on Wednesday night in a big way with a game-high 37 points while connecting on eight of his 11 shots from three-point range. Freshman forward Naji Marshall added 20 points to the winning cause.
-- The Wildcats have gone 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games and the total has stayed UNDER in seven of their last 10 games played on Saturday.
-- The Musketeers are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 games coming off a SU win and the total has stayed UNDER in six of their last seven Saturday games.
-- The home team in this Big East clash has covered in five of the last six meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in the last three games.