The No. 8 seed and No. 9 seed matchups in the first round of the NCAA tourney are usually fairly even and that is exactly the case with the Oklahoma Sooners facing the Ole Miss Rebels. The Sooners and Rebels both fell short in their conference tournaments and have double-digit loss totals on the season.
The Rebels opened as 1.5-point favorites with a total of 142.5.
My Best Bet for Oklahoma vs Ole Miss
When initially seeing this line, I thought it was a mistake as I figured the Sooners would be favored. Diving into the numbers for both teams, I still think it’s a mistake. Mississippi really has only two signature wins this year, both against Auburn, and lost in the opening round of the tournament to Alabama. That is not a resume that inspires confidence in an SEC team that already plays in a weaker conference of the Power 5.
As for Oklahoma, I like the defensive intensity the Sooners have put forth all season and, playing in the Big 12, they face much tougher opponents than Ole Miss saw during conference play. The Sooners have at least beaten Florida (a team Ole Miss lost to), Texas and Kansas this year and defend the three-point line well enough that Ole Miss could have trouble scoring. Usually, these 8-9 games feel like coin flips but I’ll side with the better defensive team with the better resume.
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