The No. 6 Texas Longhorns enter the NCAA Tournament hoping to avoid a fifth-straight loss in the opening game. They will face the No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies, who enter the bracket with an automatic bid for winning the ACC conference tournament. Here’s a look at how the teams stack up against each other.
No. 6 Texas: 21-11 (10-8 Big 12): At-large bid
KenPom rating: 15 Overall, 33 Offense, 13 Defen
NET ranking: 16, (5-10 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Timmy Allen (12.9 ppg)
Key stat: The Longhorns have lost four of their last six games coming into the NCAA Tournament.
Texas has been a defensive juggernaut as expected under Chris Beard, but this offense continues to get into dangerously slow stretches for too long. The Longhorns have to find some ways to open up guards Courtney Ramey, Andrew Jones and Marcus Carr. All three have struggled offensively this season but they’ll need to get going for Texas to make an impact in March.
No. 11 Virginia Tech: 23-12 (11-9 ACC): Automatic bid
KenPom rating: 23 Overall, 18 Offense, 55 Defense
NET ranking: 27 (3-5 Vs. Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Keve Aluma (15.8 ppg)
Key stat: The Hokies shoot 39.3 percent from behind the arc as a team, good for third in all of college basketball.
The Hokies made a nice run through the conference tournament, taking down Duke in the final to win the ACC’s automatic bid. This offense is capable of lighting it up from downtown, which makes Virginia Tech a big threat in a bracket format. Aluma, the team’s top scorer, averaged 19.0 points per game during the conference tournament run. He’ll look to keep that going against Texas.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Texas -1
Point total: 123.5
Moneyline: Texas -115, Virginia Tech -105
Against The Spread Pick: Virginia Tech +1
Point total pick: Under 123.5
Pick to Win: Virginia Tech
This is strength vs. strength, as the Longhorns bring a dominant defense and the Hokies sport an efficient offense. The total should stay under but look for Virginia Tech to make just enough offensive plays to win this game.
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