Texas vs. Northern Colorado Prediction: Will the Longhorns Dominate?

Mike Spector makes his selection for the highly anticipated Texas Longhorns vs. Northern Colorado Bears matchup tonight.
Mike Spector
Wed, November 17, 1:05 PM EST

Texas vs. Northern Colorado Prediction: Will the Longhorns Dominate?

The eighth-ranked Texas Longhorns head home to face the Northern Colorado Bears in the first round of the Abe Lemons Classic. Texas was in the national spotlight in a primetime game against top-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday night, while Northern Colorado heads back on the road after playing their first three of four games in Honolulu. Will the Bears’ experience help keep this game against the Longhorns close, or will Texas’ inexperienced yet talented roster be too much for their Big Sky opponent?

Texas vs. Northern Colorado Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Game Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Where To Watch: LHN

The Bears return all five starters from their 2020-21 squad and were picked fifth in the Big Sky Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Northern Colorado is off to a 3-1 start through four games. Their two biggest wins came on back-to-back days against Pacific and Hawaii before surprisingly losing their third game in the Rainbows Classic to Hawaii-Hilo. The Bears played four games in five days and had just one day off before tonight’s showdown against Texas. Thus, will playing that many games in a short span take its toll on them tonight?

While Northern Colorado has all their starters intact from a year ago, Texas head coach Chris Beard assimilates six transfers and one true freshman. The mix of new talent started slowly at Gonzaga, trailing by 20 points at halftime after shooting just 37% from the field. However, Beard is likely encouraged that his team clawed back in the second half and trimmed the lead to 11 points on three separate occasions.

The Bears do a tremendous job at running teams off the 3-point line, as they faced the lowest three-point attempt rate of any Division I team last year. However, they struggle with rim protection, and their two-point defense (46.2% allowed) ranks 122nd in the country, per KenPom. That is something that Beard will likely exploit as the game wears on, leaning on the talented frontcourt of Tre Mitchell and Christian Bishop. Bodie Hume’s length at 6’6” from the guard position will be relied upon heavily to disrupt the rhythm of Texas’ standout guards, Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones.

On the flip side, Texas needs to tighten up a defense allowing opponents to shoot 36.1% from 3-point range through two games, which ranks 247th in the country. The Longhorns can be a Final Four team, but this roster is still very much a work in progress this early in the season.

In their last five games, Northern Colorado is 4-1 ATS and has covered the spread in five of their last seven games as road underdogs. Meanwhile, Texas is 3-8-1 ATS in their previous 12 games as home favorites and are 1-4-1 ATS in their previous six games following a straight-up loss. 

With the heavy minutes the Bears have logged over the first week of the season, we are concerned about their potential to stay with the Longhorns for 40 minutes. However, we expect their experience to be the reason they are competitive in the first half, while Texas may suffer from a hangover after the Gonzaga game for the first 20 minutes. 

  • Northern Colorado +12 First Half (-110)
Mike Spector
MikeSpector01
Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest
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