NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
There weren’t too many people who thought Missouri’s hire of Frank Haith was a great one, but it sure looks like a brilliant move right now. Haith has the Tigers playing like a legitimate contender for the National Championship. Missouri has lost just two games so far this year, but one of those games was to Oklahoma State in Stillwater. They’ll get their chance at some revenge Wednesday evening at home.
Oklahoma State has struggled to a 2-6 record on the road so far this season. The Cowboys did pick up a nice road win a couple weeks ago over Texas Tech, so that might have given them a bit of confidence heading into this game. Keiton Page is a 5’9 guard who is known for his shooting ability, but he is shooting just 37.9% from the floor this year. He only has 54 assists on the season, so he isn’t your typical point guard who sets up his teammates first. Le’Bryan Nash is only a freshman, but he is the Cowboys most talented player. Nash is 6’7 guard who can take it to the rim with authority.
The problem for Oklahoma State is they really don’t have anyone at all who can score in the low post. Without a post presence, the Cowboys must rely heavily on three-point shooting. So far this year, Oklahoma State is shooting just 30.8% from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Cowboys play pretty good half court defense, but opponents get far too many second chance opportunities.
Missouri comes into this one with a perfect 15-0 record at home this year. The Tigers still play at a tempo similar to what they did under Mike Anderson, but they have improved their half court defense. Missouri is allowing opponents to score only 64 points per game so far this season. Marcus Denmon started the season in a shooting slump, but he has been great of late. Denmon has scored at least 15 points in eight of the team’s last nine games. Kim English is shooting 50.2% from the floor, and a ridiculous 47.1% from beyond the arc. Ricardo Ratcliffe leads the nation in field goal percentage at an amazing 73.7% from the field. Ratcliffe also hauls in 6.8 boards per game.
Michael Dixon Jr. has improved his game quite a bit this year, and he is now one of the team’s top offensive options. Phil Pressey has piled up 146 assists this year compared to just 57 turnovers. Pressey is a great point guard for a fast paced team like the Tigers. Missouri is third in the nation in field goal percentage shooting at 50% as a team.
Oklahoma State has struggled to stick with anyone good on the road this year, and I think that will continue in this one. Missouri will force quite a few turnovers and get plenty of easy baskets.
Prediction: Missouri 81 Oklahoma State 63
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