Texas at Oklahoma Spread, Odds, Trends & Matchups Print
Written by mark   
Sunday, 11 January 2009 20:30

Fast Start

Norman,Ok - Oklahoma is off to its best start in 23 years, but that still might not be enough to end its current losing streak against Texas.

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Ranked sixth, the Sooners look to avoid their seventh consecutive loss to the seventh-ranked Longhorns when the Big 12 rivals meet on Monday night in Norman.

Oddsmakers from Online Sportsbook Sportsbook.com have made the Oklahoma -4 point spread favorites for Wednesday’s game against Texas. Current College Basketball Public Betting Information shows that 53% of more than 197 bets for this game have been placed on the Oklahoma -4

Led by 6-foot-10 preseason All-American sophomore forward Blake Griffin, Oklahoma (15-1, 1-0) is in the Top 10 for the first time in three seasons and owns a 13-game winning streak at the Noble Center.

With those elements in place, there couldn't be a better time for the Sooners to finally beat Texas, which has won the last six meetings by an average of almost 17 points.

Oklahoma won 82-72 at home on Jan. 28, 2006 for its last victory over Texas, which has won the last two straight and four of the last six in Norman.

This will be the first time since March 2006, however, that both teams enter ranked in the Top 25. Texas went 3-0 against Oklahoma last season, but despite their recent success these Longhorns know this contest shouldn't be like any in recent years.

"It's going to be great. It is what you play college ball for these types of games," Texas forward Damion James said. "Oklahoma maybe has the best player in the country with Blake Griffin. It's going to be a great crowd, it's going to be so much fun."

Both teams are coming of victories in their conference openers.

Griffin had 29 points and 15 rebounds in a 61-53 win at Kansas State on Saturday for the Sooners, who are off to their best start since opening with 17 straight win in 1985-86.

Averaging 22.5 points and 14.1 rebounds in 2008-09, Griffin averaged 18.3 and 12.6 in three games versus the Longhorns as a freshman.

Though Oklahoma knows it needs Griffin to be at his best, the difference could be on the defensive end.

Even though the Sooners have endured some defensive lapses at times, they lead the Big 12 by holding opponents to 37.7 percent shooting this season, including 35.4 over their last nine contests.

"At times it should be questioned because we haven't played great on defense at times, but I wouldn't say that we are a poor defensive team," said Griffin of the Sooners, who are allowing 64.6 points per game. "We are going to have to prove that to people and that is fine."

They'll likely have to prove that against Texas (12-3, 1-0), which has managed to fare well enough of late despite the continued struggles of leading scorer A.J. Abrams.

Abrams was held to eight points, but James had 19 and sophomore reserve Gary Johnson added 17 in the Longhorns' 75-67 victory over Iowa State on Saturday to bounce back from a six-point loss Tuesday at Arkansas, which also handed Oklahoma its only loss this season.

Abrams is averaging 17.5 points, but has been held to single digits in four of his last five contests while shooting 28.8 percent during that span.

"A.J. has struggled. (Saturday) was the first day I thought he was really pressing,'' said Texas coach Rick Barnes of the senior guard, who topped the 20-point mark twice against the Sooners last season.

James and Johnson have helped the Longhorns overcome Abrams' struggles. The junior swingman is averaging 16.6 points and 10.4 rebounds in the last five games, while Johnson is putting up 16.8 per game during the same span.

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Posted: 1/12/09 1:30AM ET


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