Can Oral Roberts become the first No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight?
The Golden Eagles will have that opportunity in a South Region semifinal matchup against No. 3 Arkansas. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:25 p.m. Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game will be televised on TBS.
Arkansas (24-6) is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996 under second-year coach Eric Musselman. The Razorbacks edged Texas Tech 68-66 in the Round of 32. Arkansas averages 82 points per game, so they will be more than comfortable getting into a high-scoring matchup.
Oral Roberts (17-10) averages 81.5 points under fourth-year coach Pail Mills, and they used that high-volume shooting philosophy to beat Ohio State and Florida in the first weekend of the tournament.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the Sweet 16 game.
Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts odds
- Spread: Arkansas –11.5
- Over/under: 159
- Moneyline: Arkansas -620, Oral Roberts +460
Three betting trends to watch
— Oral Roberts is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games, and they hit the over in seven of those games.
— The Golden Eagles are 11-3 ATS as an underdog this season. They have covered in their last five games as an underdog.
— Arkansas is 15-6-1 ATS as a favorite this season, but that record drops to 3-4 ATS when the spread is more than 10 points.
Arkansas key players
Moses Moody, a 6-6 guard, leads the Razorbacks with 17.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but he isn’t the only scoring option. Forward Justin Smith had 20 points in the victory against Texas Tech, and guards Jalen Tate and Davonte Davis also averaged double digits. Guard J.D. Notae is a super sub who averages 13.1 ppg. and two assists.
Oral Roberts key players
Max Abmas, a 6-1 guard, leads the nation with 24.5 points per game. He will remind Arkansas fans of Alex Dillard, a key player on the 1994 national championship team, with his three-point shooting range. Junior forward Kevin Obanor averages 19 ppg. and 9.6 rpg. Abmas and Obanor combined for 113 points in the Golden Eagles’ two tournament victories. That is 60.8 percent of the offensive production.
Best individual matchup: Kevin Obanor vs. Justin Smith
The guard play on both teams is strong, but this interior matchup will be the key. Obanor was a force against the Buckeyes and Gators, and both players were active on the offensive glass. Obanor has fouled out four time this season, but cannot afford to get into foul trouble in this game. Arkansas could test that early with Smith on the block.
Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts stat to know
Oral Roberts fired up an average of 63.5 shots in the victories against Ohio State and Florida, and that included 70 shot attempts against the Buckeyes. Arkansas is more than willing to play that game, however. The Razorbacks rank sixth in the nation with 64.7 shot attempts per game. Colgate and Texas Tech tried to slow the Razorbacks down.
Get to know … Jalen Tate
Tate, a Northern Kentucky transfer whose older brother Jae’Sean plays for the Houston Rockets, has emerged as a significant role player for Arkansas this season. The 6-6 guard is versatile at the point and wing, and he likely will be used in an effort to slow down Abmas, who hits 43.6 percent of his 3-point attempts. Arkansas is 15-2 when Tate scores double digits. He might be the X-factor.
Arkansas vs. Oral Roberts prediction
This could be the highest-scoring game of the Sweet 16 round given both teams want to play at that pace. The Razorbacks have given up 10 or more three-pointers nine times this season, but they are 8-1 in those games. Hot shooting might not matter. Obanor will need to control the game at both ends for Oral Roberts to have a chance, but Arkansas will pull away in the second half to advance to the Elite Eight.
Final score: Arkansas 86, Oral Roberts 72