Game to be played at Honda Center, Anaheim, CA.
Texas A&M completed the greatest comeback in college basketball history to reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, and Thursday the third-seeded Aggies will try to maintain their momentum against No. 2 Oklahoma in the West Region game at Honda Center in Anaheim. Texas A&M rallied from 12 points down in the final 35 seconds before defeating Northern Iowa in overtime last weekend, earning a Sweet Sixteen matchup against its former Big 12 rival.
The Sooners are making their second straight trip to the Sweet Sixteen after losing to Michigan State in this round last season. Four players who started that game have started the last 102 for Oklahoma; Isaiah Cousins, Buddy Hield, Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard, each of whom has also scored at least 1,000 points in their respective careers. Hield, the two-time Big 12 Player of the Year, comes in averaging 25.4 points–second in the nation and tops among power 5 schools–and the 6-foot-4 senior guard has produced 63 points in the first two games of this tournament. Danuel House doesn’t want his college career to end Thursday either, so expect the 6-7 forward for Texas A&M to continue playing at a high level, something he’s done while averaging 24.7 points over the last three games.
TV: 7:37 p.m. ET, TBS
LINE HISTORY: The point spread opened at -1.5 in favor of the higher seeded Sooners and the public hit that number hard early in the week which forced the books to bump the line up to -2.5. The total opened at 145 and was bet up slightly to 146. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “We opened Oklahoma as a -2 point favorite with over 90 percent of the early action on the Sooners to cover. We are now sitting at Oklahoma -3 with over 85 percent of the action on Oklahoma to cover. Our total of 146.5 is getting 85 perent of the action on the OVER.” – Michael Stewart of CarbonGaming.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (28-8, 16-13-2 ATS, 14-17 O/U): The Aggies can’t expect point guard Alex Caruso to score another 20-something points and more than triple his scoring average, as he did in the win against Northern Iowa, but demanding strong performances from their starting front court of Jalen Jones and Tyler Davis shouldn’t be a stretch. Both match up well against Spangler and fellow Oklahoma big man Khadeem Lattin, who haven’t been tested in a while. Jones, a 6-7 forward who’s second on the team in scoring (15.4) and leads in rebounding (7.1), should take advantage of his quickness off the floor and the 6-10, 265-pound Davis will have a size advantage and regularly scores in double figures as well.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (27-7, 12-20 ATS, 15-17 O/U): The Sooners will undoubtedly counter with their 3-point shooting proficiency, as they enter this game at 42.5 percent from beyond the arc this season, which is second best in the nation, and shot 41.3 in the two games last weekend in Oklahoma City. Hield was fourth in the nation in 3-point attempts (274) during the regular season and 20th in 3-point percentage (46.4), but opponents have been making it harder for him to beat them from deep the last several weeks. Hield made at least half of his 3-point attempts in 16 of the first 20 games, but only shot 50 percent or better once in the last 14 contests.
* Texas A&M is 0-8 ATS in its last eight games after scoring more than 90 points in its last game.
* Oklahoma is 1-7 ATS in their last eight NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 5-0 in Texas A&M’s last five games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600.
* Under is 11-3 in the last 14 meetings.
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