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Bunnell’s Bounces: The boys are back in town

After nearly a month full of postponements and road games, the Horned Frogs are back in the Schollmaier Arena tonight to take on Oklahoma State (-4.5).

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

TCU men’s basketball is finally back in Fort Worth for a late-night matchup against Oklahoma State at the Schollmaier Arena.

The Frogs are coming off an absolutely gut wrenching loss on the road @ Mizzou in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. With less than five minutes left in the game, TCU led by as many as 12 points before allowing the Tigers to go on a huge run to force overtime.

With 3:34 remaining in the game, ESPN had the Frogs listed with a 97.6% chance to win. Ouch. Despite losing in overtime, TCU managed to cover the +10.5 point spread bringing their ATS record to 6-9-1 on the season.

As the saying goes: good teams win games, great teams cover. I guess the Frogs are too great for their own good as they’ve now won against the spread in their last two outright losses (+14 vs Kansas & +10.5 vs Mizzou).

A heartbreaking loss such as the one endured over the weekend can be a make or break scenario for some programs. After games like that, teams will either bounce back and play with a vengeance or come out looking mentally defeated. Jamie Dixon is a seasoned veteran at this point and I have full faith in him to keep the Frogs pushing this season.

Being that Dixon is a veteran coach, he is known for his ability to make key adjustments. Take a look at Kansas for example, the first time the Frogs played the Jayhawks they were embarrassed, allowing KU to score over 90 points on their home court. Nearly a month later, the Frogs traveled to Lawrence and gave a ranked Kansas squad a run for their money, holding them to only 59 points (lost 59-51).

TCU prevailed over Oklahoma State the first time around thanks to some clutch buckets from RJ Nembhard and company, but the Cowboys seem to have found their rhythm winning four of their last five.

Oklahoma State has covered the spread in six of their last eight games. Their record ATS this season is 8-6-1; nothing too crazy, but solid nonetheless.

Of course I could never forget about everyones favorite, the over/under, especially after the Frogs were a part of a 200-point NBA like game in Columbia.

The Horned Frogs have maintained their perfectly even record on the over/under, sitting at 8-8 on the year. Oklahoma State on the other hand has been significantly profitable on the over. The Cowboys record on the over/under is 8-5-2 (+3 units).

Now that we’re diving into the “entertainment purposes only” (wink wink) portion of this article, let’s take a look at where the oddsmakers have set the lines for the Frogs’ first home game in nearly a month:

TCU vs Oklahoma State

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: OK. St. -4.5, TCU +4.5
  • Over/under: 141
  • Money Line: OK. St. -200, TCU +165

My Pick: Hard pass on every line

I seem to pick other college basketball games just fine with a record over .500, but when it comes to TCU games for some reason I lose all capability of choosing a winning line. A wise man once said you can’t lose if you don’t play, and I want nothing to do with these lines tonight.

This is part of the reason I avoid placing bets on my home-town teams at all costs, there is too much room for biased opinions no matter how hard I try to analyze things objectively.

TCU +4.5 looks mighty appealing, but the Frogs are one of the most unpredictable teams in the country so I’m going to sit this one out.

With only a few hours before tip-off, TCU accounts for only 45% of the public bets on tonight’s game and 39% of the money placed. As for the over/under, 55% of public bettors are taking the under even though 62% of the money placed on the line sides with the over.

I don’t think we’ll see a repeat of the first matchup (153 combined points) considering TCU is ranked 243rd in tempo and the Cowboys have the 32nd most efficient defense in the country. These statistics alone nearly tempted me to take the under, but then again I never thought I’d see the Frogs play in a 200-point game, so who knows.

I am hoping we see a big game from Kevin Samuel down low in the post. The big man hasn’t scored double-digit points since 2020 and is due for one of his classic double double performances. The first time around against OSU, Samuel put up 18 points and an absurd 7 blocks, so I’m curious to see how he’ll play tonight.

Limiting mistakes is going to be key for the Horned Frogs tonight. The Frogs gave up 27 points off 20 turnovers in the first matchup as well as 15 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds.

Last time around in Stillwater, TCU held the Cowboys to 48% shooting from the field and only 18% from three-point land. It’s hard to say OK. State won’t have a better shooting performance tonight, but if the Frogs can contain them from deep we’re in business.

Moving on to some picks outside of Fort Worth, I am sitting on a 20-17-1 record on the year, and boy these lines get tougher and tougher by the day.

Here are my three best bets for tonight’s college basketball slate:

Pick 1: Tulsa vs SMU over 135.5

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST

Pick 2: NC State vs Virginia over 126

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST

Pick 3: San Diego State 1st half team total over 35.5 vs New Mexico

  • Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. CST