The UCF Knights (4-0) will host the Oklahoma Sooners (5-1) on Saturday in a non-conference showdown. According to the CBS Sports Preseason Countdown, Oklahoma was rated No. 48, and UCF was No. 67. This season Oklahoma is rated No. 45 so far according to KenPom, and UCF is No. 54.
Sooners to be tested on the roadThe Oklahoma Sooners went 16-11 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to Gonzaga 87-71. This year, the Sooners have two starters back, and the 36th ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports. The Sooners were predicted to finish seventh in the Big 12 Men's Preseason Poll and according to three-man-weave.com.
The Sooners opened the season with wins over Northwestern State 77-59 and 96-44 over UTSA. Oklahoma then won two out of three games in the Myrtle Beach Classic, beating East Carolina 79-74 and Indiana State 87-63, before losing to Utah State for their only loss 73-70 as a 4.5-point favorite. Oklahoma won its most recent game on Wednesday, 57-40 as a 34.5 point favorite over Houston Baptist.
The Sooners are averaging 77.7 ppg and 23rd in the nation, shooting 49.6% from the field. Tanner Groves, a 6'9 senior transfer from Eastern Washington, leads the team with 15.8 ppg and is adding 6.5 rebounds. Umoja Gibson, a 6'1 senior, is second in scoring, averaging 11.0 ppg.
UCF looks to stay unbeatenThe UCF Knights opened the season with a 69-59 win as a 16-point favorite over Robert Morris. They then upset Miami (Fl) 95-89 as a four-point dog. On November 16, UCF beat Jacksonville 63-54 as an 18-point favorite and Evansville 75-59 as an eight-point favorite on November 20.
Offensively the Knights are averaging 75.5 ppg and shooting 46.3% from the floor. UCF has been one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the country, ranking fourth making 84.4%.
Darin Green Jr leads the team with 16.2 ppg, and Darius Perry is second with 12.8 ppg and a team's best 4.5 assists.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I expect the home crowd to be fired up to back the Knights in this test against a Big 12 Powerhouse. UCF has covered the spread in eight of their last 11 games, and Oklahoma has only covered in one of its last seven road games. I expect this to be a tightly contested game, which gives UCF the edge because they are one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the nation. Take UCF to get a big home win.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Oklahoma Sooners have played to the over in four of their last five games and have scored at least 70 points in seven of their last eight games dating back to last season. As mentioned earlier, UFC is one of the best free-throw teams in the country and averaging 75.5 ppg and have played to the over in two of their last three games. I will take the over in this game.