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Courtside Players Club

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Courtside Players Club (1/29/24)

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(1 Pick)

9:00 PM EST: Houston -4.5 (3 Units)

Houston lost very close back-to-back games and they've been playing some of their best ball ever since. They've rolled off 4 straight starting with a 23-point blowout vs Texas Tech, 57-42 vs UCF, 75-68 @ BYU, and 74-52 vs Kansas State. They're a clear #1 in defensive efficiency and #2 Tennessee isn't particularly close. The Longhorns are stronger offensively than they are defensively and that's how Houston would want it. Their 2 losses on the year came @ Iowa State and @ TCU. Road games against the 3rd and 39th ranked Adj D. Texas currently ranks 75th. The TCU loss was more about Houston struggling from deep anyway. They only made 4 of 18 3's and the Cougars shoot a respectable 35.3% from 3.

Houston's starting trio at Guard are quality shooters, as is their 6th man. Their 3-PT shooting is a strong factor here. Texas ranks 220th in opponent 3-PT % and it's a big reason they're 3-4 in conference play. In those 7 games Texas Tech shot 46.7% from 3 Against them, Cinci 41.2%, WVU 41.2%, UCF 30.4%, Baylor 50%, Oklahoma 21.1%, and BYU 41.2%. UCF ranks 283rd in 3-PT % and Oklahoma is 150th. Sooners just had a real off night against Texas too. Either way they've really struggled to defend the 3-PT line.

Turnovers and Offensive rebounding is another huge factor for this Houston play. Houston ranks 8th in turnovers per game while Texas ranks 201st. Houston also ranks 2nd in opponent turnovers per possession (25.4%) to Texas's 72nd. Houston's 2nd in offensive rebounding % at an astounding 40.3% clip while Texas is 119th in defensive rebounding %. The Cougars should snag some extra possessions on the Longhorns today.

Texas also fails to exploit the 1 area of weakness for this Houston Defense. The Cougars can get into foul trouble, ranking 250th averaging 18 fouls per game. Texas ranks 267th in opponent fouls per game and is 101st in FT % though. Both of these teams move at a snails pace too. Houston is 350th in Adjusted Tempo while Texas is 239th. Fewer possessions and a slower paced game will help mitigate the negatives from fouling too much.

It's never easy to go on the road and win in conference play but a championship defense travels. Houston's offense should manage just fine against a Texas defense that's allowed an average of 77.5 points per game to Power 6 opponents this season.

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