|-11.5 HOU (-118) @ Fanduel|
Frank Haith has had stops at Miami-Fl and Missouri before coming to Tulsa for the 2014-15 season. His teams have averaged 19.3 wins per year in his first six seasons, including going 21-10 before COVID shut down the 2019-20 season. However, Haith's biggest win at Tulsa came when it stunned No. 5 Houston 65-64 back on Dec 29. It was the program's first win over a top-5 opponent in 24 years (Golden Hurricane beat a ranked UCLA team back in 1995!). After opening 1-3, Tulsa has gone 7-1 to enter this rematch with Houston at 8-4.
Kelvin Sampson had a great run at Oklahoma (nine NCAA tourneys in 10 seasons, including a Final 4 appearance in 2002) but then ran into off the court issues in a two-year stay at Indiana. He was away from CBB for a few years but resurfaced at Houston for the 2014-15 season. It took him a while to build the program but his teams won 27 and 33 games in back-to-back seasons before going 23-8 in last year's pandemic-shortened season. The Cougars opened 7-0 this season, rising to No. 5 in the latest AP poll but lost their first game of the season 65-64 at Tulsa. The Cougars have won all four games since that loss to the Golden Hurricane and enter this rematch 11-1 and ranked No. 8 in the latest AP poll.
The Golden Hurricane are led by a quartet of guards in Rachal (14.6 & 7.2), Joiner (9.8-5.1-3.8), Embery-Simpson (7.9) and Jackson (7.3). The 6-9 Idowu (8.5 & 4.8) is the team's best frontcourt player. Tulsa is scoring a modest 67.8 PPG, which is NOT helped by the team making just 64.3% of its free throws (307th). However, Tulsa does play defense, allowing 60.9 PPG (16th) while holding opponents to 37.4% from the floor (7th).
Houston guards Grimes (17.8 & 6.5) and Sasser (15.5) are the 'big dogs,' joined on the perimeter by Jarreau (8.8-6.0-3.7) and freshman Mark (7.9). The best frontcourt player is the 6-7 Gorham (7.7 & 9.1). Houston is not a high scoring team (73.3 PPG) but Sampson's team can sure play "D," allowing only 56.5 PPG, ranking second-best in the nation. The Cougars are holding opponents to 37.1% shooting (4th), including 25.6% on threes (also 4th-best).
Houston is 8-0 at home with an average margin of victory of 21.0 PPG and wins this one "with room to spare!" Lay it!