College Basketball Picks: Missouri Tigers vs. Texas Longhorns

No. 2 Missouri Tigers at Texas Longhorns
Monday, 1/30/12, 9:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Missouri PK
Current Betting Line:  Missouri -1
Opening Total:  146.5
Current Total:  144
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Missouri Tigers are the highest scoring team in the Big 12 Conference

Missouri is set to finish off four games in nine days in traveling to take on the Texas Longhorns Monday night inside the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.  The Tigers have won five of their last six games, including a 63-50 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders as 23.5-point home favorites on Saturday.  “We’re a good-shooting ballclub, we just didn’t make shots,” commented Tigers head coach Frank Haith.  The team was held below 40 percent shooting from the field for just the second time this year in that contest.  Missouri is 9-5 ATS as a favorite this year.

The Tigers have three starters that average in double figures, with senior guard Marcus Denmon leading the way in scoring 17.8 points per game.  Missouri leads the Big 12 Conference in scoring 81.9 points per game, while holding opponents to just 66.8 points during conference play.  Getting to the charity stripe and knocking down free throws is a definite strength of this squad, leading all Big 12 teams in hitting 77.8 percent of its shots from the line.

Texas certainly needs a signature win in hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, dropping four of its last five games, including a 76-71 defeat to the Baylor Bears as seven-point road underdogs last time out.  The Longhorns have been led offensively by the play of junior guard J’Covan Brown, who has averaged 24.8 points over the past five games.  “We fought hard and put ourselves in position,” commented Longhorns head coach Rick Barnes.  The program has won five of six in front of the home fans in this series, which includes a 71-58 victory on Jan. 29, 2011 as 7.5-point favorites.  Texas is 17-17 ATS at home the past two-plus campaigns.

The Longhorns will be meeting their fifth AP Top 25 opponent in six games, which marks the first time that has happened in school history.  Texas will need to play its best defense of the season in hopes of pulling off an upset, holding opponents to 51.7 points per game in its three conference wins this season.  During its five league losses, the program has allowed opponents to score 78.0 points a contest.

Bettors will likely back the Longhorns due to their 7-2 ATS mark as a home underdog, while the Tigers are 2-6 ATS as a road favorite of 6.5 points or less.

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