(Image Credit: Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports)
Texas vs. California
5:00 p.m. ET ESPN2
(Odds courtesy of VegasInsider.com)
Opening Spread: Texas -11
Current Spread: Texas -11
Projected Spread: Texas -13.5
In tonight’s third-place game of the 2k Classic, Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns will face off against Mark Fox’s Golden Bears. Both teams are coming off opening-round losses where their effort and intensity were outmatched by their opposition. The Longhorns jumped out to a 42-37 halftime lead over Georgetown, but had too many defensive lapses in the second half, allowing the Hoyas to score 45 points en route to a 16 point loss.
I have still been impressed with the Longhorns this season despite their second-half collapse last night. Matt Coleman has been money from deep this season, shooting 72% from behind the arc in the Horns first five contests. Coleman started 4-4 from range in the first half last night and finished with a game-high 22 points.
Mark Fox’s Golden Bears came into the 2k Classic undefeated at 4-0, but Coach K and the Dukies are a completely different animal. Fox knew he didn’t have the athletes to match up with the Blue Devils, so the Bears implemented a zone to try and negate the Blue Devils athleticism. Fox’s plan did not pan out, as Vernon Carey was unstoppable down low, and the Blue Devils hit 10 three-pointers in the process.
Texas presents similar matchup disparities with the Golden Bears. They are the deeper and more athletic team, and although their second-half effort seemed a bit concerning, they should have no problem bouncing back against a weaker Golden Bear squad. The Longhorn frontcourt of Jericho Sims and Will Baker should feast tonight.
I project this line at Texas -13.5 and played it as soon as it opened at -11. I see value in this one.
Pick: Texas -11 (up to -13.5)