Big 12 Semifinal Betting Picks: Texas Longhorns vs Missouri Tigers

2012 Big 12 Tournament – Semifinals
#6 Texas Longhorns vs #2 Missouri Tigers
Sprint Center – Kansas City, Missouri
Friday, March 9, 2012, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Missouri -5
Current Line: Missouri -5 1/2
Opening Total: 145 1/2
Current Total: 145
Opening Money Line: Missouri -230 / Texas +190
Current Money Line: Missouri -240 / Texas +200

Missouri and Texas will meet in the Big 12 Semifinals Friday night in Kansas City. Missouri is a 5.5 point favorite

Most experts thought the 20-12 Texas Longhorns needed a win against Iowa St Thursday in the Big 12 quarterfinals to secure an at large bid to next week’s NCAA tournament. The Longhorns delivered with a gritty 71-65 come from behind victory over the Cyclones. Iowa St was up by 11 in the second half before the Longhorns rallied for the win. Now Texas will take on the fifth ranked Missouri Tigers who are the #2 seed in the Big 12 tournament. Missouri is 28-4 this season and could get a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Missouri breezed into the quarters with an 88-70 win over a depleted Oklahoma St team. Missouri has won 3 straight games.

This will be the 25th meeting between Missouri and Texas. Each team has won 12 games in the series. Missouri won both meetings during the regular season. The Tigers won 84-73 in Columbia January 14, and escaped with a 67-66 win at Austin January 30. This could be the last ever meeting between the schools as Missouri will leave for the SEC next season.

Texas is coached by Rick Barnes. The Longhorns have wins over Bradley, Rhode Island, UCLA, Temple, Rice, Oklahoma St, Texas A&M twice, Texas Tech twice, Kansas st, Iowa St twice and Oklahoma twice. Texas has losses to Oregon St, NC State, North Carolina, Kansas twice, Baylor twice, Kansas St, Iowa St, and Oklahoma St.

Missouri is coached by Frank Haith. The Tigers have losses to Kansas St twice, Oklahoma St, and Kansas. Missouri has non-conference wins over Notre Dame, Cal, Villanova, Illinois, and Old Dominion. The Tigers swept every other team in the Big 12, besides the 3 mentioned.

Texas is outscoring opponents 73-66 this season. The Longhorns are shooting 44% from the field, and 32.9% from 3 point range. Texas makes 73.3% of their free throws. The Longhorns average 36 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +3. Texas averages 12.6 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 3.7 blocks, and 7 steals a game. Texas opponents are shooting 41% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. The Longhorns force 13.9 turnovers a game.

Texas guard J’Covan Brown averages 20 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. Brown makes 37.5% from 3 point range, and is in the top 20 nationally in scoring. He leads the Longhorns in scoring and steals. Sheldon McClellan averages 11.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1 steal a game. Myck Kabongo averages 9.8 points, 3 rebounds, 5.3 assists to lead the team, and 1.2 steals a game. Julien Lewis averages 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1 steal  a game. Clint Chapman averages 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks a game to lead the Longhorns in both categories. He also scores 7.2 points a game.  Jonathan Holmes averages 7.1 points, and 4.9 rebounds a game. Forward Alexis Wangmene is out with a wrist injury.

Missouri is outscoring opponents 80-65. The Tigers are shooting 49.9% from the field including 39.2% from 3 point range. Missouri makes 76.5% from the free throw line. The Tigers are 8th in scoring, third in field goal percentage, 19th in 3 point field goals, and 8th in free throw percentage nationally. Missouri averages 32.2 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +0.8. The Tigers average 16.1 assists, 10.5 turnovers, 8.3 steals, and 2.8 blocks a game. Missouri opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field, and 36.4% from 3 point range. Missouri forces 14.8 turnovers a game.

Missouri guard Marcus Denmon averages 18 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals a game. He shoots 41.9% from 3 point range.  Kim English averages 14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. He makes 45.3% of his 3 point attempts. Ricardo Ratliffe averages 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1 block a game. He leads the team in rebounds. Michael Dixon averages 13.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals a game. Phil “Flip” Pressey averages 9.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.1 steals a game. He leads the team in assists and steals. Steve Moore leads the Tigers in blocks with 1.2 a game. Forward Laurence Bowers is out for the season with a knee injury.

Missouri is 16-9-2 ATS and the total is 16-10-1 this season. Texas is 10-16-1 ATS and the total is 13-14 this season. Missouri 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 games against Texas, and the under is 7-3-1 in the last 11. The Longhorns are 8-2-1 ATS in Friday games, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and 1-5 in neutral site games. The Tigers are 4-0 ATS in neutral site games, 5-1 after a straight-up win, 7-2 in Friday games, 6-2 overall, and in Big 12 games, and 12-5-2 against teams with winning records.

Certainly, Texas has the talent to pull off the upset. However, even though they average 73 points a game, they can’t get into an up and down game with Missouri. Missouri scores 80 points a game, and are relentless. I like the Tigers to win a close game and advance to the Big 12 Championship game.

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