#9 Missouri vs #8 Oklahoma NCAA Tournament Round 1

#9 Missouri vs #8 Oklahoma NCAA Tournament Round 1 | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on March 19, 2021

It’s just a fact the COVID is going to affect the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and No. 8 seed Oklahoma of the Big 12 has lost its second-leading scorer for at least its tourney opener against No. 9 Missouri of the SEC on Saturday. The Sooners are still very short favorites on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Missouri vs. Oklahoma NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

Missouri used to be in the Big 12 with Oklahoma. The Sooners lead the series 114-97, which began on February 16, 1916, with a 50-20 Mizzou win in Columbia, and the Sooners are 17-14 against the Tigers on neutral courts. The schools last met Nov. 26, 2019, when the Sooners claimed a 77-66 victory in Kansas City, as part of the Hall of Fame Classic.

Why Bet on Missouri? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Missouri’s résumé largely hinged on big nonconference wins — Oregon, Wichita State and Illinois — to overcome a rocky finish in SEC action. After a 68-65 win over Alabama on Feb. 6, the team recorded a 3-6 record in its nine games prior to the NCAA tournament. In four of those losses, Missouri (16-9) gave up 80 points or more. The Tigers have not been able to recapture the efficiency they used to pick up significant wins earlier in the season. Dru Smith (14.1 PPG) and Xavier Pinson (14.1 PPG) are key players for Cuonzo Martin’s squad. We know what the Tigers can do. But their only wins since Feb. 6 have been against South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Still, Mizzou went 8-4 during the 2020-21 campaign against teams in the NCAA Tournament field and the Tigers beat six conference champions during the regular season, including wins over Illinois, Alabama, Oregon, Wichita State, Liberty and Oral Roberts. Mizzou went 6-0 during nonconference play and heads into the tournament with three wins over Top 10 teams in the same season for the first time since 2011-12. Mizzou is one of 13 teams nationally with seven Quad 1 victories. Only eight teams nationally have more Quad 1 wins than the Tigers. Mizzou will boast the third-most experienced squad among the 68-team 2021 NCAA Tournament field (Texas, UCLA). The Tigers are the No. 9 seed for the fifth time in program history, last playing on that seed line during the 2013 NCAA Tournament, when Mizzou dropped an 84-72 decision to eighth-seeded Colorado State in Lexington, Ky. Mizzou is 1-4 overall playing as the No. 9 seed. No. 9 seeds like Missouri are 72-68 all-time vs. No. 8 seeds. In 2019, No. 9 seeds won all four meetings for the first since 2001 — by an average margin of 16.0 points, to boot — and they are 7-1 in the past two tournaments.

Why Bet on Oklahoma? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Some bad news for the Sooners (15-10) as guard De’Vion Harmon will miss the first two games (if OU) advanced due to a positive COVID test. Harmon, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, started 23 of 25 games for Oklahoma this season. He’s the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points. Harmon also contributed 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists, while shooting 33% from 3-point range. Coach Lon Kruger will likely turn to senior forward Alondes Williams in a bigger starting lineup. Williams started the first 14 games of the season before missing three games because of COVID-19 protocols. Oklahoma has wins over Alabama, Kansas, West Virginia and Texas. At one point it was ranked in the top 10. The defense has been sagging as of late, so OU will need All-Big 12 guard Austin Reaves to combine shooting forces with fellow senior Brady Manek. Reaves (17.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.7 APG) is a star, but Manek finding his rhythm from the perimeter — he has made 36% of his 3-point attempts overall but only 31% of those shots in league action — will create space for everyone on the floor. Kruger joins Tubby Smith as one of two coaches who’ve led five different programs to the NCAA tournament. That demands an adaptability that Kruger displayed with an Oklahoma team that beat Kansas, swept West Virginia and bested Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Oklahoma will be making its 33rd NCAA Tournament appearance, including its 28th in the past 38 years. The Sooners’ 28 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1984 are the ninth most in the nation during that span. The Sooners are 42-32 all-time in the NCAA Tournament (7-6 under Kruger) and have reached the Final Four five times (1939, 1947, 1988, 2002 and 2016). Oklahoma also boasts nine Elite Eight showings and eleven Sweet 16 appearances. The winner of the MU-OU game will face off against the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed Gonzaga.

Game Trends

  • Tigers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Saturday games.
  • Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
  • Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
  • Sooners are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games as a favorite.
  • Sooners are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 NCAA Tournament games.
  • Sooners are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games overall.

Expert Prediction

  • Missouri 72, Oklahoma 69
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