March Madness Sweet 16 Picks
Arkansas ranks 38th on offense and 10th on defense, per KenPom. Oral Roberts ranks 66th on offense and 238th on defense. Arkansas has beaten 14 seed Colgate and 6 seed Texas Tech. Oral Roberts is the the biggest Cinderella team this year pulling off huge upsets over 2 seed Ohio State and 7 seed Florida. Unlike most NCAA Tournament games, we actually have a prior matchup to help analysis this game. Back in December, Arkansas beat Oral Roberts at home 87-76. Three big things stand out from this game for me. One, Arkansas out rebounded Oral Roberts 58-32. Two, Arkansas only shot 16.7% from 3 and managed to still win by 11. Three, Arkansas held leading scorer in the country Max Abmas to 11 points. If they can replicate this performance defensively and on the boards, they should have no problem covering the -11 point spread right? Well, Arkansas has some statistical advantages to back this theory up.
Arkansas statistically has a major advantage on the boards. Arkansas ranks 71st in Offense Rebounding % and 124th in Defense Rebounding %. Oral Roberts ranks 307th and 332nd in these categories. Oral Roberts has been dominating the turnover battle in their two upset wins with a 36-18 turnover margin. They shouldn’t have that same luxury against Arkansas because the Razorbacks take care of the ball ranking 81st in Offense Turnover %. Arkansas actually forces quite a few turnovers themselves ranking 83rd in Defense Turnover %. Oral Roberts ranks 175th in this category. Offensively, Arkansas should dominate inside. The Razorbacks rank 91st in 2 point shooting % while Oral Roberts ranks 173rd defending the 2.
Oral Roberts has been hot shooting this tournament, but I think that will change in this matchup. Oral Roberts hot shooting has came against the 81st and 42nd ranked defenses. Now they are jumping all the way up to face the 10th ranked Arkansas defense who has already seen them once before. Also, this Razorback defense has held Colgate’s 54th ranked offense to 68 points and Texas Tech’s 33rd ranked offense to 66 points. Everything on offense for Oral Roberts goes through Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor. I expect the great Razorback coach Eric Musselman to use these extra days to prepare a defensive game plan to neutralize these two. I expect this plan to have 6’6 guard Jalen Tate defending 6’1 Max Abmas like he did in their prior matchup where Abmas scored only 11 points. Also, you have to wonder about fatigue setting in for Oral Roberts. As previously mentioned, Abmas and Obanor do pretty much everything for this team and they have played 45 and 40 minutes each in their two tournament games.
The Pick: Arkansas -11 @ -110 (Click To Bet)
Our exclusive OddsChecker user betting data shows that many believe Oral Roberts surprising NCAA Tournament isn't over with the Tusla team accounting for 54% of bets against the spread and 71% of all moneyline wagers. That could be down to the Razorbacks -600 being prohibitive to ML wagers but regardless it shows that the public believe in the Golden Eagles.
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Complete Sweet 16 Betting Preview
It's not just Brandon who has been on form for OddsChecker during March Madness. We have a crack team of NCAA experts who have been breaking down the bracket as we've progressed through the NCAA Tournament.
Our very own Jamie Kelton, Drew Martin and Adam Trigger take an indepth look at the complete Sweet 16 slate HERE. Don't miss on hearing what our professional handicappers are wagering on.
NCAA Tournament Expert Picks
Arkansas -11 @ -110 (Click To Bet)