Arkansas forward Justin Smith against Mississippi during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
- The Arkansas Razorbacks are 10.5-point favorites over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in their NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 game on Saturday, March 27th
- Oral Roberts, a 15-seed, has already toppled #2 Ohio State and #7 Florida
- The Razorbacks beat the Golden Eagles 87-76 on December 20th
The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles are one win away from making NCAA Tournament history. Will the Arkansas Razorbacks be the team to burst their bubble?
No 15th-seed has ever advanced to the Elite Eight of March Madness. Prior to Oral Roberts, only Florida Gulf Coast in 2013 made it as far as the Sweet Sixteen. The Golden Eagles are only the second 15th-seeded school to win a game in the tournament since that run by Florida Gulf Coast.
Oddsmakers don’t foresee the magic continuing. The #3 Razorbacks are solid 10.5-point picks to ground the Golden Eagles. Interestingly, Arkansas ended up narrowly covering that spread when the two teams met on December 20th, defeating Oral Roberts 87-76. Oral Roberts is 6-0 against the spread over the past six games.
Tipoff is set for 7:25 pm ET on Saturday, March 27th, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. TBS is carrying the broadcast.
Oral Roberts vs Arkansas NCAA Tournament Odds
|Team||Moneyline at DraftKings||Spread||Total|
|Oral Roberts||+390||+10.5 (-110)||O 159.5 (-110)|
|Arkansas||-385||-10.5 (-110)||U 159.5 (-110)|
Odds as of March 22nd.
Golden Eagles Are Soaring
Talk about defying the odds. Oral Roberts hasn’t gone this far in an NCAA Tournament since 1974. The Golden Eagles are just the third Summit League team to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Both of those appearances came prior to 2007, when the Mid-Continent Conference rebranded itself as the Summit League.
Already, Oral Roberts has won outright as a 15.5-point underdog against #2 Ohio State and as an eight-point ‘dog facing #7 Florida. The Golden Eagles erased an 11-point second-half deficit against the Gators. They are 9-2 both straight up and ATS over the past 11 games.
One reason that the Golden Eagles haven’t landed with a thud is star power. Sophomore Max Abmas is the nation’s leading scorer. The 6-foot-1 guard is averaging 24.5 points per game. He’s getting offensive support in the tournament from junior forward Kevin Obanor.
Obanor scored 28 in the win over the Gators, while Abmas netted 26 points. Each spent the entire 40 minutes on the court. Against the Buckeyes, Obanor scored 30 point and Abmas dropped in 29.
Oral Roberts’ Final Four Odds Went From +9000 to +3000 – How Far Can the Golden Eagles Fly?
There Is Recent History
It’s not often come tournament time that there are previous meetings available for assessing. In the case of Oral Roberts and Arkansas, that isn’t the case. As mentioned above, the Razorbacks defeated the Golden Eagles in regular-season play.
Even though they eventually succumbed, Oral Roberts put a scare into Arkansas. It was 40-30 Golden Eagles at halftime. The Razorbacks went 2-for-16 from three-point range in the first half.
In the second half, Arkansas utilized its size advantage to take control under the hoop, pouring in 57 second-half points. The Razorbacks controlled the boards, holding a 58-32 edge in rebounds. Justin Smith grabbed a career-high 17 boards and scored 22 points to pace Arkansas.
While Obanor scored 21 points, Arkansas held Abmas to 11 points. Oral Roberts is 5-3 SU when Abmas scores less than 20 points.
The Golden Eagles are beating teams by forcing turnovers and getting to the free-throw line. Oral Roberts is second in the nation in free-throw percentage (82.19%). At 33-of-41 from the charity stripe in the tournament, the Golden Eagles are actually below their season average (80.48%).
Against Ohio State, Oral Roberts forced 16 turnovers while committing just six. The margin was 20-12 in favor of the Golden Eagles in the win over the Gators.
WE EAT BRACKETS FOR BREAKFAST!!! #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/BB0NuA34lk
— OralRobertsU (@OralRobertsU) March 22, 2021
That edge could vanish when facing Arkansas, though. The Razorbacks are also tenacious. They are forcing 15.40 turnovers per game, good for 41st in the nation. Arkansas is also 45th in the NCAA in turnover margin (+2.5 per game).
Being dominated on the boards hasn’t bothered Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles lost the rebound battle 49-32 to Ohio State and 37-24 to Florida.
Both teams can score the basketball. Arkansas is the nation’s #7 offense (82.0 ppg) and Oral Roberts is 12th overall (81.5 ppg).
The Golden Eagles covered in their loss to the Razorbacks as 19.5-point underdogs. They’re 4-2 ATS when an underdog of more than 10 points. Take Oral Roberts and the points.
Pick: Oral Roberts +10.5 (-110)
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.