The Big 12-Big East Challenge tips off with a couple of matchups on Thursday, and is joined by another game between a pair of the top mid-major squads in the country as part of our handicapper’s NCAAB odds analysis.
Liberty Flames vs. Florida Atlantic Owls
Thursday, November 30, 2023 – 06:00 PM ET at Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena
Fresh off a win in the bracketed ESPN Events Invitational, Florida Atlantic now hosts the Field of 68 Classic with a visit from the Liberty Flames, who also picked up some hardware by winning the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
Flames, Owls Combined 9-2 ATS
Overnight lines at offshore sportsbooks favored Florida Atlantic by 7-7½, with the scoreboard target running 147-147½.
Ritchie McKay has the Flames well on their way to an 8th-straight 20-win season. The 6-0 start includes five consecutive chalk-line covers and each victory by double-digits. Led by 6-7 senior Kyle Rode, Liberty is up to No. 39 in the latest Kenpom rankings.
After successive wins over Butler, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech during their Thanksgiving tournament trip, Florida Atlantic can be found at No. 13 in this week’s AP poll. They missed Nick Boyd (thigh) in all three games, and the sophomore guard is questionable for Thursday.
Third Meeting Between Schools
This is a weird little matchup in the sense that Liberty essentially took Florida Atlantic’s place in Conference USA with the Owls moving to the AAC. And the Flames did more than just move into the FAU slot, they also have become instant favorites to win the CUSA title that Florida Atlantic soared to last year.
The two schools met twice before, splitting decisions in 2001 and 2002 when the contests were played at the old Vines Center where the Flames played up until a few years ago.
Look for both sides to make it into the 70s and send this one past the total.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Butler Bulldogs
Thursday, November 30, 2023 – 06:30 PM ET at Hinkle Fieldhouse
‘Tis the season for interconference challenges, with the Big 12 and Big East beginning their annual battle on Thursday. Texas Tech and Butler have the honors to tip the 6-day event at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the NCAAB odds are tight.
Can Tech Build on Win Against Michigan?
Grant McCasland’s first season in Lubbock is off to a decent start with a 5-1 record. The lone loss came to Villanova in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis, but the Red Raiders made up for that with a strong performance against Michigan to close the tournament.
Butler’s two losses were a 20-point defeat in East Lansing to Michigan State as part of the Gavit Tipoff Games, and then a wild 91-86 setback to FAU at the ESPN Events Invitational. Thad Matta’s group closed the latter tourney with wins over Penn State and Boise State.
Bulldogs 2-0 in Previous Meetings
Both teams won their 2022 B12/BE matchups, Texas Tech just missing the 16-point cover in a 79-65 win over Georgetown and Butler covering as small home chalk in a 76-64 final. The Red Raiders and Bulldogs met twice before, Butler winning both games at the 2007 Great Alaska Shootout and the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
This one opened as a pick before shifting slightly in Butler’s favor, and that’s the way I’m going with my free pick.
NCAAB Pick: Butler -1 (-115) at BetOnline
Creighton Bluejays vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Thursday, November 30, 2023 – 09:00 PM ET at Gallagher-Iba Arena
Creighton is coming off an upset loss, but that hasn’t stopped Bookmaker from making the Bluejays 7-point favorites on the road at Oklahoma State in the second Big East/Big 12 Challenge contest on Thursday.
Jays Embarrassed at Home
Greg McDermott and the Bluejays passed on a Feast Week tournament this year, and they probably wish they’d taken one after dropping a 69-48 decision at home to Colorado State. Creighton stunk it up on offense, hitting just 17-of-61 from the field and going scoreless for more than five minutes across the two halves.
Oklahoma State was favored in both games at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago, and dropped them both with 66-64 finals to St. Bonaventure and Notre Dame. The Cowboys then spent Thanksgiving week at home with a couple of tune-ups against New Orleans and Houston Christian.
1st Meeting in 25 Years
Both sides fell in the interconference challenge last season, Creighton staying inside the number with a 72-67 loss at Texas while Oklahoma State lost by double digits at home to eventual national champ Connecticut.
Creighton and Oklahoma State used to meet quite frequently, rolling up 40 matchups along the way with the Bluejays winning 21 of them. But they have not met for 25 years, the most recent clash in Omaha where Creighton posted a 66-60 win in November 1998.
I certainly expect Creighton to find the net with greater frequency than the loss to CSU, and the Blue Jays will come out on top…just not by 7.
NCAAB Pick: Oklahoma State +7 (-105) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.