An intriguing battle between Lone Star State teams occurs in the East Region of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday night. The No. 3 Texas Longhorns (19-7) take on the No. 14 Abilene Christian Wildcats (23-4) in the first ever matchup between teams separated by about 200 miles. Texas enters on a five-game winning streak, including the Longhorns tying a season-high with 91 points in their Big 12 Tournament Championship win. Abilene Christian has won 12 of its last 13 games, including a dominant 79-45 victory over Nicholls State in the Southland Tournament Championship.

Tip-off is at 9:50 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Longhorns as 8.5-point favorites, while the over-under for total points is 139.5 in the latest Abilene Christian vs. Texas odds. Before making any Texas vs. Abilene Christian picks, check out the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of over $2,500 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. It has also returned almost $500 on all top-rated college basketball picks this season. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Texas vs. Abilene Christian in the NCAA Tournament 2021. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for Abilene Christian vs. Texas:

  • Texas vs. Abilene Christian spread: Texas -8.5
  • Texas vs. Abilene Christian over-under: 139.5 points
  • Texas vs. Abilene Christian money line: Texas -440, Abilene Christian +340
  • UT: The Longhorns are 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games
  • ACU: The Wildcats are 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 games

Why Texas can cover 

Texas has been consistent all season, ranking as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 19 in all 17 AP Polls. Shaka Smart coaches an extremely talented squad as the top eight Longhorns were either four or five-star high school recruits, including 2020 McDonald’s All-American Greg Brown. The 6-9 freshman is projected to be a future first-round NBA draft pick and he leads the Longhorns in blocks while ranking second in rebounds. But he is the only freshman on the team as Texas has an experienced squad and returned all 13 players from last season’s roster.

While Brown is the defensive anchor, Andrew Jones is the Longhorns’ leader and best player. He leads the team with 14.6 points per game and is relishing the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament after missing Texas’ last tourney game in 2018 while battling leukemia. He spearheads Texas’ attack from beyond the arc as the Longhorns supply both a high quantity (24.3 attempts per game) and quality (35.7 percent) of 3-point shots.

Why Abilene Christian can cover

Of the 347 Division I teams who competed this season, Abilene Christian reigned supreme in defensive rating. It held opponents to 83.5 points allowed per 100 possessions and also allowed just 60.5 points per game. In December Abilene Christian held Texas Tech to 51 points and that same Red Raiders team averaged 71 points in three games vs. the Longhorns. What makes the Wildcats’ defense so stingy is that they limit offensive opportunities for their opponents as Abilene Christian leads the country with 20.3 forced turnovers per game.

It’s not solely the defense that has Abilene Christian with a 23-4 record and in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. It also puts up nearly 78 points per game thanks to its deep roster in which 11 players get regular minutes. The fulcrum of their offense (and defense) is 7-footer Kolton Kohl (12.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG) who is a decent passer for a big man and also not a liability at the line as he knocks down 71 percent of his free throw attempts. Abilene Christian fits the profile of a double-digit seed who can shock some people and make a run in the NCAA Tournament.

How to make Texas vs. Abilene Christian picks

The model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 143 points. It also says one side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Abilene Christian vs. Texas? And which side of the spread hit well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 2019 NFC Champs - get your gear on at Fanatics