The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 4 seed Oklahoma State will face No. 13 seed Liberty in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!
Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.
Game date: Friday, March 19
Game time: 6:25 p.m
TV channel: TBS
Location: Farmers Coliseum
Odds: OK State -9.5
No. 4 Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State’s impressive winning streak, which included two wins over West Virginia and one over Baylor, ended against Texas in the finals round of the Big 12 Tournament. The Cowboys weren’t considered a legitimate c contender ahead of the 2020 season, but are now a dark horse that everyone will have an eye one. They owe a lot of their recent success to freshman standout Cade Cunningham.
Cunningham is the consensus top prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft class and has been the best first-year player in the country by a wide margin. His averages of 20.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest have been impressive, but his ability to make winning plays in the clutch is arguably even more valuable. Whether Cunningham can carry Oklahoma State deep into the NCAA Tournament remains to be seen. He’s shown that he can go toe to toe with the nation’s best, though.
Record: 20-8, 11-7 Big 12
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 53
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 22
Over Total: 19-8-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +800
No. 13 Liberty
The Liberty Flames were the best team in the Atlantic Sun this season and finished it off by winning the conference tournament. The Flames play among the slowest styles of basketball in the country, ranking No. 348 among 348 teams in possessions per game. Liberty finished with a 23-5 record and are on a 12-game winning streak, so they’ve established a winning culture, which is a dangerous sign for whoever they’re matched up against in the first round.
The Flames come into this game with a much better offense in terms of adjusted efficiency than they do on the defensive end, and that is likely due to their three-point percentage of 38.8%, which ranks as the top mark in the conference. They also lead the Atlantic Sun in free throw shooting at 77.8%. Junior guard Darius McGhee leads the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game.
Record: 23-5, 11-2 A-Sun
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 51
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 168
Over Total: 12-11-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +20000