After thwarting instate rival Oklahoma in the previous round, the Oklahoma State Cowboys now face off against the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 quarterfinals as a +6 underdog. Oklahoma State lost both previous matches against the Longhorns, now looking for redemption to get them off the bubble. The issue is injuries have ravished the Cowboys, making their chances look bleak against Texas and a major reason why I believe the Longhorns cover the spread with ease.
Oklahoma State Vs. Texas Prediction
Offense has been an issue for the Cowboys since the loss of Avery Anderson III, spurting down the stretch with a five-game losing streak before squeaking out a win against Texas Tech in their season finale. They are without him once again after skating past Oklahoma, now getting a much tougher defense to deal with in the Longhorns. Texas currently ranks 19th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom.
The defensive turnaround for Texas has been a sight to behold as that area of the court took a massive drop off after the departure of Chris Beard earlier in the season. Rounding back into form, their defensive capabilities have turned them into a potential champion per Kenpom historic metrics. You can read more about what makes a team fit the mold as a potential national champion in my breakdown here.
The Longhorn’s defense is well equipped to give Oklahoma State fits as they excel in covering the Cowboys strengths. Oklahoma State bases their offensive success on their ability to attack the interior, playing a post dominant style of offense. Through the low post, guards’ motion through the interior and either get the shot in stride or settle for a mid-range. The issue is that Texas is an elite interior defense, holding opponents to 46.4% underneath the arc. Good for 76th in the nation per TeamRankings. The Cowboys have no perimeter offense to make up for this, shooting a lowly 31.6% from deep.
Another issue for the Cowboys is that they mightily struggle with turnovers, coughing the ball up at a high rate. The Cowboys average 14 turnovers per game, ranked a lowly 313th in the nation. The Longhorns Havoc style of play will look to blitz the Cowboys guards, forcing them into bad reads in clogged passing lanes and turn those turnovers into easy buckets in transition. Oklahoma State’s scoring pace is already slow, making this detrimental should they give Texas quick points through their turnovers.
Oklahoma State Vs. Texas Prediction: Texas -6
Oklahoma State Vs. Texas Odds
As previously mentioned, Oklahoma State’s chances took a dip once they lost one of their key scorers in Avery Anderson and oddsmakers agree. They opened the Cowboys as a +6 underdog. Bettors are also siding with the Longhorns, taking them up to -6.5 in some shops as of writing. They have a massive defense advantage that can turn into quick extra points in a flurry, setting a scoring pace that Oklahoma State cannot keep up with.
Speaking of scoring pace, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a quick pace as they opened the total at 142. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the total, keeping the number the same as the opener. I’m kind of surprised that the under hasn’t taken some steam, yet Texas may be able to recoup the lack of consistent scoring from the Cowboys with their own blistering pace.
Oklahoma State Vs. Texas Key Matchups
Marcus Carr vs Oklahoma State stretch defense
While Oklahoma State’s offense has taken a massive drop off in production, their defense has maintained an elite AdjD rank of 20th in their turbulent stretch. A brunt of this success is based on their ability to smother looks for low quality opportunities, possessing a Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage of 45.9%. A percentage good for 16th best in the nation per TeamRankings.
This puts added pressure on the Longhorns guards to shift the defense to their liking, a feat that Marcus Carr is more than capable of doing. His playmaking ability is a key reason why I think they cover in my Oklahoma State Vs. Texas prediction.
Carr has full command of the offense, serving as both a slasher and facilitator. He averages 16.2 points per game and can bring out the Cowboys bigs when he enters the interior. In doing so, this creates gaps for Texas to exploit, as well as kicking back out the perimeter for a potential three.
Dillon Mitchell throws down the lob from Marcus Carr! pic.twitter.com/TPUrJIDFw7
— Hook'em Headlines (@HookemHeadlines) March 4, 2023
Back the Longhorns at no higher than -6 as they have clear advantages on both ends of the court to put this away early.