With March Madness fast approaching, college basketball odds feature a treat Saturday with the SEC / Big 12 Challenge. Many of these teams are hopeful to keep NCAA Tournament futures alive deep into the brackets. Kansas, last year’s national champion, is hoping to end its three-game skid as they face John Calipari’s Wildcats Saturday night. In this article, we’ll review the SEC / Big 12 Challenge odds for four of the marquee games, including matchups and metrics.
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SEC / Big 12 Challenge Schedule
Below is the schedule and tip times (ET) for every game on Saturday.
- No. 15 Auburn () at West Virginia (); 12 p.m.
- No. 2 Alabama () at Oklahoma(); 2 p.m.
- No. 12 Iowa State () at Missouri (); 2 p.m.
- Texas Tech () at LSU (); 2 p.m.
- No. 11 TCU () at Mississippi State (); 4 p.m.
- Arkansas () at No. 17 Baylor (); 4 p.m.
- No. 10 Texas () at No. 4 Tennessee (); 6 p.m.
- Florida () at No. 5 Kansas State (); 6:00 p.m.
- No. 9 Kansas () at Kentucky (); 8:00 p.m.
- Ole Miss () at Oklahoma State (); 8 p.m.
No. 2 Alabama at Oklahoma
Headlined by freshman forward Brandon Miller, Alabama has been one of the best teams in college basketball this year. Ranking in the top-20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, they’re one of the most lethal teams on both ends of the floor.
Enter Oklahoma, who’s defense will be attempting to switch on ball screens and make life difficult for Brandon Miller and company. Porter Moser has already made his coaching presence felt in second season, limiting opponents to a miserable 29.5% shooting from behind the arc. With the Tide attempting the fourth-most threes a game (29.6), they could be in for a long day from a shooting perspective.
Although their point distribution is fairly even amongst 2s, 3s and free throws, the Tide could struggle getting to the line Saturday. Porter Moser takes pride in his teams contesting shots while not getting called for fouls. In fact, the Sooners only get called for 15 fouls a game, good for a top 51 rate in college basketball. Points will have to come elsewhere for the Tide on Saturday.
On the flip side, Alabama’s length is a concern for the Sooners interior defense. Led by bigs Noah Clowney and Charles Bediako, the Tide thrive off second chance points. In their game against Missouri last weekend, Alabama tallied 12 offensive rebounds which netted them 21 second chance points. If Porter Moser’s squad can’t limit the second chance opportunities, the Tide could be in for a big game on the glass.
This game will largely be decided by who can dictate tempo. It features one of the fastest teams in the country in Alabama, against one of the slowest teams in Oklahoma. We saw the Tide struggle against a slow-paced Mississippi State squad earlier this week. If Oklahoma can similarly control tempo against Alabama, they can keep this game close in the end.
KenPom makes Alabama a 7-point favorite if it was setting lines in SEC / Big 12 Challenge odds, with a total set at 143.
No. 10 Texas at No. 4 Tennessee
This is without a doubt one of the premier matchups of the day as two top-10 teams square off in Knoxville. Texas is 12-2 under interim head coach Rodney Terry. Terry’s squad faces a tall task against a Tennesse team ranked number one in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Their defense was on full display Wednesday night when they stifled Georgia, allowing a woeful 41 points and forcing the Bulldogs into 20 turnovers. Luckily for the Longhorns they limit offensive turnovers, only committing 12.2 a game. Senior guard Marcus Carr is having his best season yet in that regard, only turning it over 1.8 times a game.
Among college basketball’s fastest paced teams, Texas averages 15.9 seconds per offensive possession. In fact, the Longhorns are top-40 on the year in fastbreak points with 267 so far. Keep in mind Texas has been held in check in transition over their last two games, only coming away with a combined 7 fast break points against Oklahoma State and West Virginia. To pull off the upset in Knoxville, look for Texas to control pace of this game and get easy baskets in transition.
The Vols have the No. 1 effective field goal defense and limit quality two-point looks (No. 6 in two-point defense). Dylan Disu could struggle in this regard. The 6-foot-9 forward struggled in the team’s previous game against Oklahoma State, shooting only 38.5% from inside the arc. For reference, Oklahoma state ranks Number 7 in two-point defense, right behind Tennessee.
Although lines are not available at the time of writing this, KenPom makes Tennessee an 8-point favorite. They have the total set at 136.
Arkansas at No. 17 Baylor
Sporting the tenth highest points per possession in college basketball at 1.11, Baylor will be a huge challenge for Arkansas. Adam Flagler in particular poses a big threat as he’s shooting 43.6% from behind the arc this season, good for second in the Big 12 behind Kansas guard Gradey Dick. Furthermore, Arkansas’ 3-point defense could be due for some negative regression after facing an LSU squad that in two games shot a combined 5-of-26 from deep against them.
Although Baylor thrives on second chance points with Jalen Bridges and Flo Thamba crashing the offensive boards, Arkansas is one of the best teams in the country at limiting second chance points.
It should be noted that Eric Musselman‘s squad has struggled mightily on the road this season, sporting an 0-4 record away from Bud Walton Arena.
KenPom makes Baylor a 4-point favorite for the game, with the total set at 148.
No. 9 Kansas at Kentucky
Kansas is in the midst of a brutal schedule, and their game Saturday is no cakewalk either. Against Baylor Monday evening, Bill Self‘s Jayhawks allowed a whopping 13 offensive rebounds. The Bears turned their 13 offensive rebounds Monday into 16 seconds chance points. Limiting second chance points will be a difficult task, as Oscar Tshiebwe leads college basketball with 102 offensive rebounds. If Kentucky controls the glass, they could ultimately win this one.
On the flip side, it’s been a confusing season for the Wildcats. They lost back-to back games against Alabama and South Carolina, only to turn around and beat Tennessee four days later.
Much of the confusion begins with point guard Sahvir Wheeler. Cason Wallace has emerged as John Calipari’s favorite of late, despite Wheeler’s potential for another big season. Wallace was instrumental in the team’s come from behind victory over Georgia last week while Wheeler watched from the sidelines.
During Kentucky’s losses to Alabama and South Carolina, they allowed both teams to shoot a blistering 45.2% from deep. Dajuan Harris and Gradey Dick could have big games against the lackluster perimeter defense of the Wildcats.
During the Jayhawks losing streak, Jalen Wilson has been a bright spot, averaging 30.3 ppg over the three losses. As one of the favorites at to win the Wooden Award, Wilson will be a nightmare for Kentucky to defend.
KenPom makes the Jayhawks a 1-point favorite for this matchup, with a total set at 143.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SEC / Big 12 Odds
This is a great spot to back a Kansas team that is in desperate need of a win after losing three straight. Despite their disadvantage in the rebounding department, I expect Kansas to prevail in the end. I bet the Jayhawks when the line opened at less than a possession.
Kansas is now . Best of luck betting SEC / Big 12 Challenge odds.