The Big 12 Conference may have been, from top to bottom, the most wildly competitive league in all of college basketball this season. Of course, Texas Tech has reached the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament, but then there’s the OTHER Final Four, the one in the NIT, where the Big 12 has two representatives. The bracket dictates that they will meet for the right to go to the championship game, and they will do that on Tuesday night, as the Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs do battle at 8:30 PM ET at Madison Square Garden.
Television is provided by ESPN, and VietBet customers can get their fill of action while the game is in progress as they access what is available through Live Betting Ultra.
2019 NIT Tournament Betting – Texas vs TCU – Wichita State Shockers vs. Lipscomb Bisons:
In the NIT odds posted on this game by the folks at VietBet, TCU is the slight favorite:
TCU Horned Frogs -1.5
Texas Longhorns +1.5
Over 138 points -110
Under 138 points -110
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2019 NIT Tournament Betting – CJ’s take on Texas Longhorns vs. TCU Horned Frogs:
TCU is an old hand at this, having won the NIT two years ago, in what was coach Jamie Dixon’s first season on the job. And maybe that previous experience is what drove them to wipe out the disappointment of blowing what looked like a sure opportunity to get an at-large bid out of one of the nation’s most intense conferences (the Big 12) as they lost 12 of their last 20 games, after a 12-1 start, in which the only defeat, interestingly enough, came at the hands of Lipscomb, who they might be meeting up with in the NIT title game.
Texas has not won an NCAA Tournament game since Shaka Smart arrived amidst much fanfare before the 2015-16 season. One of the things Smart had been “branded” for was his pressure defense, which took on the name “havoc” at VCU, which he had led to a Final Four berth before cashing in and moving up the coaching ladder. This season they registered some excellent victories, including wins over Purdue and North Carolina in non-conference play. And then they beat the likes of Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State in the Big 12. But that has been the knock on this team; they have enough talent to do great things but are very inconsistent.
These teams have played twice this season, and they were tight defensive battles. The first one, which took place in Fort Worth, went TCU’s way by a 65-61 count, as Texas had 17 turnovers and lost the battle of boards, allowing the Horned Frogs to pull down 14 offensive caroms. The rematch took place in the regular season finale in Austin, as TCU had an easier time of it, rolling to a 69-56 win. This time, Bane completely took control, with 34 of his team’s 69 points. And there weren’t too many offensive rebounds for the Frogs to get, as they shot 54% from the field.
TCU has rolled through Nebraska and Creighton in its last two, after an initial win over Sam Houston State where it woke up in the second half. And while Bane was rather quiet against Creighton, Australian import Kouat Noi erupted for 25 points, fueled by six triples. Alex Robinson, a 6-1 guard who is one of only two active players with 1000 points and 700 assists (Jon Elmore of Marshall is the other) had eleven rebounds, which shows you how versatile he can be. he can also get bogged down by turnovers, as do the Frogs in general (just 230th in defensive turnover percentage), so if Texas could play the kind of pressure defense Smart employed at VCU, they could, well, wreak some havoc. But they just don’t do that in Austin.
However, the Longhorns put the clamps on Colorado pretty good in the quarterfinals, holding the Buffaloes to 32% shooting in a 68-55 win. What you can expect from this team is that they are going to be tough to penetrate inside, as they give up just 46.7% shooting inside the arc. That perhaps puts a little extra pressure on TCU to make outside shots.
Frankly, they may or may not make a lot of triples, but they are a viable entity here because they can do a good job shutting down threes themselves (allowing just 30.4%) and they’ll do a good enough job on the offensive boards to chase down some of their misses. They also move the ball around quite well; in fact, almost 61% of their field goals come by way of an assist. They appear in very good form, as all their NIT wins have been by double digits. And then, there is that previous experience, as they’ve done this before. They can do it again.
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