Tuesday offers quite the slate compared to yesterday. There are two match ups in particular that I’ve been keeping my eye on: Oklahoma vs Texas Tech (-7.5) and Virginia vs Miami (+5.5). These are probably two of the bigger games tonight with Oklahoma “star” Trae Young being must see TV this season and the new number 1 team on the road in conference play.
Eye Test Takes
Oklahoma vs Texas Tech (-7.5)
Oklahoma beat Texas Tech five Tuesdays ago when they played each other in Norman, OK. Things have changed since then, Texas Tech has gone 7-2 since the teams last met, including winning 6 in a row. Oklahoma on the other hand has fallen into a recent skid. They have gone 2-6 in that same stretch and have lost 3 in a row. Not good for the Sooners and Trae Young.
Solely based on this, I’m going with Texas Tech to get the W tonight. The Sooners have looked lost on offense lately and Texas Tech plays incredible defense at home. Look for Trae Young to try and start this game hot, he shot 1-12 in the first half the last two times these teams met. If that happens again, I think Texas Tech runs away with this one early.
As you can see, Oklahoma has the better record and higher win percentage vs the RPI Top 50 as well as a higher strength of schedule. Their 11-5 record vs RPI Top 50 includes going 5-0 vs the RPI Top 25. Texas Tech falls inside the RPI Top 25, but Oklahoma is 0-6 on the road in 2018.
Keys to the Game
Texas Tech: Limit Trae Young to under 10 free throws. Keeping him under 10 free throws for the game has boded well for the opponents of Oklahoma lately.
Oklahoma: Drain 3’s early and often. This is just about all they can do tonight against a TTU defense that ranks in the top 10 in transition defense and top 3 in defense overall. It’s going to be hard for the Sooners to take anything below the elbow in this game.
Another thing Oklahoma needs to focus on is guarding Keenan Evans off of on-ball screens. Evans gets 1.3 points per possession when he gets an on-ball screen, which ranks in the top 2% in the nation.
I think Texas Tech wins this game based on their defensive success and new found offensive efficiency with Keenan Evans. I think Oklahoma will cover late in the game when they start hoisting threes at the end of the game to try and get back into it.
Virginia vs Miami (+5.5)
Virginia, Virginia, Virginia, where do we start? Well they’re the new number 1 team in the country according to the AP poll, they play the best defense in the country as well as the most boring basketball ever played on TV according to the casual fan. They just lost a game as a double digit favorite and then moved into the top spot. Not much makes sense about this team in the past week.
Miami comes into this game after losing at Boston College after not scoring any points in the last 6 minutes of the game. That’s a huge red flag, especially with the spectacular defense played by Virginia, but I do not think it will effect them at all this game. Miami has some kids that can flat out score and I think they will be the highlight of the game on their home court.
Virginia is fighting to keep their number 1 rank and Miami is hosting the number one team in the nation on national TV. This all smells like an upset brewing.
Based on these stats, it looks like Virginia is going to mop the floor with Miami. What these stats do not take into account is human emotion. The emotions are going to be riding high for a Miami team playing the number 1 team in the nation on their home court on national television.
Virginia’s top win, Clemson, beat Miami earlier in the year when they still had Dante Graham. The Cavs got to play Clemson the first game after they lost Graham and that definitely had an impact on the game. Clemson had only 36 points and looked lost without their star player.
Keys to the game
Miami: Don’t panic. This is what Virginia thrives off of on defense. They are good at turning their defense into offense and often score points in transition.
Virginia: Get the ball down low. Virginia Tech forced Virginia to shoot jump shots in the last game and we all saw how that ended up. Miami switches on a lot of screens due to their length and athleticism, so it may be tough for Virginia to score. Virginia banks on creating mismatches with a lot of screens, but they may not run into many mismatches with the team Miami puts on the court.
I think the overall experience and defense of Virginia allows them to win this game. They will cover the spread and ultimately put Miami away like a number 1 team is supposed to.