2016 NCAA Tournament
West Region – First Round
#11 Northern Iowa Panthers vs #6 Texas Longhorns
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Friday, March 18, 2016, 9:50 pm Eastern, TV: TBS
Opening Line: Texas -5
Current Line: Texas -5
Opening Total: 123
Current Total: 124 1/2
Opening Money Line: Texas -200 / UNI +170
Current Money Line: Texas -185 / UNI +160
Although they are playing across the Red River in enemy territory, the Texas Longhorns will have plenty of fan support as they open the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City against the Northern Iowa Panthers. Texas is the #6 seed in the West with a 20-12 record while Northern Iowa is the #11 seed. The winner between Texas and Northern Iowa will play either #3 seed Texas A&M or #14 Green Bay in the second round Saturday. This is the first ever meeting between Texas and Northern Iowa.
Northern Iowa is coached by Ben Jacobson. The Panthers are making their eighth trip to the dance and second straight. UNI is 22-12 this season. The Panthers tied for fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference at 11-7. Northern Iowa beat Southern Illinois in the quarterfinals of the MVC tournament in St. Louis before upsetting #1 seed Wichita State in the semifinals. The Panthers beat Evansville 56-54 in the championship game on a buzzer beater from Wes Washpun from the top of the key that bounced on the rim before going through the hoop.
UNI has a neutral site loss to BYU in a tournament in Hawaii, plus road losses at Richmond, Hawaii, New Mexico, Southern Illinois, Missouri State, Indiana State, Illinois State, and Loyola-Illinois. Northern Iowa has home losses to Colorado State, Loyola-Illinois, and Wichita State. Northern Iowa went 12-1 down the stretch including six straight wins. The Panthers have a neutral site win over Washington State in Hawaii, plus road wins at North Dakota, George Mason, Bradley, Drake, Wichita State, and Evansville. UNI has home wins over Stephen F. Austin, North Carolina, North Texas, Iowa State, Bradley, Drake, Southern Illinois, Evansville, Missouri State, Illinois State, and Indiana State. The Panthers are 19-13-1 ATS and the total is 13-20 this season. Northern Iowa was a 1.5 point favorite over Evansville and the total was 123.
Texas is coached by Shaka Smart. The Longhorns are making their 33rd trip to the tournament and third straight. Texas finished in fourth place in the Big 12 at 11-7. The Longhorns lost to Baylor 75-61 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.
Texas has neutral site losses to Texas A&M and Michigan in a tournament in the Bahamas, plus road losses at Texas Tech, TCU, Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State. Texas has home losses against Washington, Connecticut, Baylor and Kansas. The Longhorns have a neutral site win over Washington in the Bahamas, and road wins at Stanford, West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State. Texas has home wins over Texas-Arlington, UTSA, North Carolina, Appalachian State, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. Texas is 16-15 ATS and the total is 13-17-1 this season. The Longhorns were 2.5 point underdogs against Baylor and the total was 137.5.
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Northern Iowa is outscoring 68-63 this season. UNI is #11 in points allowed nationally. The Panthers are shooting 45.7% from the field and 37.5% from three point range. UNI makes 75.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 42.1% from the field and 32.3% from three point range. UNI averages 30.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 31.9 per game. The Panthers average 11.9 assists, 9.8 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.2 points, 11.8 turnovers, 4.8 steals and 2.7 blocks per game.
Wes Washpun averages 14.3 points, 4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Matt Bohannon averages 11.8 points and 4.1 assists per game. Paul Jesperson averages 10.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Jeremy Morgan averages 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Three other players get time in the rotation.
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Texas is outscoring 71-68 this season. The Longhorns are shooting 43.2% from the field and 33.9% from three point range. Texas makes 66.5% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.9% from the field and 34.3% from three point range. Texas averages 34.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 32.7 per game. The Longhorns average 11.5 assists, 10.4 turnovers, 5.2 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 11.3 points, 12.5 turnovers, 4.5 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.
Isaiah Taylor averages 14.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. Cameron Ridley averages 11.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He is probable with a foot injury. Javan Felix averages 10.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Kerwin Roach, Jr., Eric Davis, Jr. and Connor Lammert all average at least 7.1 points per game. Five other players will see time in the rotation.
Northern Iowa is 7-0-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 3-0-1 after a cover, 6-0 against Big 12 teams, 11-1-1 overall, 9-1-1 after a straight up win, 12-3-1 in neutral site games, 4-11-1 in Friday games, and 1-4 in non-conference games.
Texas is 5-0 ATS after failing to cover, 5-1 after a straight up loss, 11-4 overall, 9-4 against teams with winning records, 5-11 in non-conference games, 4-9 in Friday games, 1-5-1 in neutral site games, and 0-7 in NCAA Tournament games.
Texas has been inconsistent and Northern Iowa plays really good defense. The Longhorns could be ripe for an upset, and I think this game will be very low scoring. Everyone in the Lone Star State wants to see Texas and Texas A&M in the second round, but I think the Panthers spoil the party.