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Bunnell’s Bounces: Road Warriors

TCU(+12) heads down to Austin to face the 13th ranked Texas Longhorns.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU Men’s Basketball is back on track after two consecutive nail-biter home victories over Oklahoma State and Iowa State, bringing their overall record to 11-7 on the year.

The Horned Frogs failed to cover the spread of -4.5 in their last outing which would have been their fourth consecutive win against the spread, but hey, a win is a win.

The games against Oklahoma State and Iowa State are a prime example of something I’ve been chirping all year: FEED THE BIG MAN. These were the first two games of 2021 where Kevin Samuel scored double-digit points and what do you know? The Frogs came away with a win in both.

Kevin Samuel’s presence in the post can’t be ignored, getting him the ball down low as much as possible spreads the floor and can create kick-out shot opportunities. Something TCU’s guards have thrived on this season.

It was a nice two-game homestead, but the Frogs hit the road today to take on the 13th ranked Texas Longhorns. Following tonight’s matchup in Austin, the Frogs will face No. 7 Texas Tech next. Back-to-back ranked opponents, there are truly no days off in the Big 12.

TCU’s performance against ranked teams hasn’t been ideal this season to say the least. The Frogs are 0-4 straight up against ranked opponents and have only covered the spread once (+14 vs Kansas). The history isn’t on our side, but the Longhorns have been in a slump as of late so there could be potential for a huge road upset.

The Longhorns are a whopping 1-7 against the spread in their last eight games and have only covered a double-digit point spread once all season against Texas State. TCU on the other hand has covered the spread in three of their last four, including two double-digit covers against Kansas and Missouri.

TCU is a team trending upwards in the eyes of Vegas, meanwhile Texas is heading in the opposite direction. Considering the Longhorns recent struggles, I’m surprised this line is in the double digits. I had this projected anywhere from -8.5 to -9.5, so I believe there is a ton of value on the Frogs tonight.

Here are some fun trends for tonight’s matchup according to TCU is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games and 9-3 ATS when playing teams with a win percentage above .600. Texas on the other hand is 0-5 ATS when following an ATS loss (failed to cover -13.5 vs K. State last time out) and 7-20 ATS in their last 27 home games.

With that being said, let’s see where oddsmakers have set the lines for today’s game in the Frank Erwin Center:

TCU @ #13 Texas

  • Tip-off: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Texas -12, TCU +12
  • Over/under: 141
  • Money Line: Texas -835, TCU +575

My Pick: TCU +12, TCU team total over 64.5

Playing on the road against a ranked opponent is a scary position in theory, but the numbers seem to lean with the Frogs considering how well they have performed away from home this season. Winning the game is a separate conversation entirely, but the Frogs are more than capable of keeping things within 12, especially with Mike Miles back in the starting lineup today.

I’ve waited all year to see Mike Miles and Greg Brown battle it out to determine who the real Big 12 freshman of the year is. *cough cough* it’s Miles. This should be fun.

There is a ton of value on the Horned Frogs team total tonight, 64.5 seems incredibly too low for an offense that averaged 86 PPG over their last three contests. On top of that, the Longhorns have only held a Big 12 opponent to less than 65 points once all season, and ironically it was against Kansas (84-59).

At the time of writing, just under 60% of public bettors are siding with the Horned Frogs to cover the spread today and 71% of the money sides with them as well. As for the over/under, 63% of public bettors are taking the over along with 70% of the money placed on the line.

Both TCU and Texas have hit the over in three of their last four contests, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another high-scoring affair this afternoon.

Moving on to some other college basketball picks for today’s slate, my record is now a dead even 21-21-1, so today is all the more important. Last time out, Saint Johns +1.5 was winning THE ENTIRE TIME before blowing it in overtime… C’est la vie.

I’m in need of some winners today, and I believe I’ve put together three absolutely unlosable mortal locks of the day. Here are my picks:

Pick 1: UTA +5.5 vs Texas St.

  • Tip-off: 2:00 p.m. CST

Pick 2: Alcorn St. vs Mississippi Valley St. under 147

  • Tip-off: 4:30 p.m. CST

Pick 3: Cleveland St. -2.5 vs Detroit

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST