- Top-seeded Houston is a 6.5-point favorite over #9 Auburn in an NCAA Tournament second-round game Saturday night in Birmingham, AL
- Houston lost All-American guard Marcus Sasser in Thursday’s win over Northern Kentucky
- A look at the Auburn vs Houston odds and predictions can be found below
Banged-up #1 seed Houston faces #9 seed Auburn in an NCAA Tournament second-round game at 7:10 p.m. ET Saturday at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala.
Houston (32-3, 18-16-1 ATS) lost All-American guard Marcus Sasser when he reaggravated a groin injury Thursday in a 63-52 win over Northern Kentucky in the first round. Sasser is questionable for the Cougars, who have won 14 of their last 15 games.
Auburn (21-12, 16-16-1 ATS) beat Iowa 83-75 on Thursday in the first round for their second win in the last three games. However, the Tigers have not had back-to-back victories since winning five games in a row from Jan. 7-21.
TBS will televise the game.
Auburn vs Houston Odds
|Auburn||+210||+6.5 (-115)||Over 130.5 (-115)|
|Houston||-260||-6.5 (-105)||Under 130.5 (-105)|
The Cougars are +450 favorites in the NCAA Tournament championship odds and Auburn is listed at +7500.
Everyone Gets in Act for Auburn
Auburn had six players score in double figures in the win over Iowa with sophomore forward Johni Broome leading the way.
Broome had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. It was his 10th double-double of the season.
That continued an outstanding season for Broome, who is averaging 14.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots a game. He is third in SEC in scoring and blocks and his 52.8 shooting percentage is fourth.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 17, 2023
Junior guard Wendell Green Jr. added 15 points, three assists and three steals. Auburn also got 11 points each from senior forward Jaylin Williams, junior guard K.D. Johnson and freshman guard Tre Donaldson.
Senior guard Allen Flannigan notched his first double-double of 2022-23 as he finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
The Tigers committed just seven turnovers.
Green has averages of 13.9 points, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals and Williams’ averages are 11.1, 4.8 and 2.3. Green is fourth in the SEC in assists.
Flanigan is scoring 10.1 points per game.
Auburn has one of the best defenses in the nation as it is fifth in three-point shooting allowed (28.8%) and 30th in overall field goal defense (40.7%). However, the Tigers are shooting 31.4% from three-point range, ranking 321st.
Marcus Sasser Injury Updates for Second Round
Sasser left the win over Northern Kentucky in the first half and did not return. He played 14 minutes and scored five points and Houston missed his outside shooting as it was just 4 for 16 (25%) on three-pointers.
Sasser originally injured his groin in the American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals then sat out Houston’s loss to Memphis in the championship game.
With a 16.7 point-a-game average, Sasser leads Houston in scoring. He is also averaging 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals.
Sasser’s Wooden Award odds are +10000.
Marcus Sasser, who’s starting tonight, working with John Houston, UH’s associate athletics director for sports medicine. pic.twitter.com/OEFB7ntYMM
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 17, 2023
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson revealed after the game that junior guard Jamal Shead is playing through knee soreness.
Against Northern Kentucky, Shead had 13 points and six assists in 36 minutes. He is averaging 10.4 points, 5.4 assists and 1.8 steals while standing third in the AAC in assists.
Freshman forward Jarace Walker led Houston with 16 points and six rebounds on Thursday. Junior forward J’Wan Roberts had 11 points, 12 rebounds and four assists for his seventh double-double this season. Freshman guard Emmanuel Sharp pitched in with 10 points off the bench.
Walker is scoring 11.2 points and grabbing 6.6 rebounds a game. Roberts is averaging 10.4 points and 7.9 rebounds, which is fifth in the conference.
Houston held Northern Kentucky to 27.5% (19 of 69) shooting and 5 for 33 (15.2%) from three-point range. The Cougars had a 42-33 rebounding edge but turned the ball over 17 times.
Auburn vs Houston Prediction
Houston has won five straight games over Auburn, but they last met during the 1982-83 season. Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler were the stars for the Phi Slama Jama Cougars then and Charles Barkley was the Tigers’ leader.
Sasser is the biggest star on either team in this matchup. His questionable status and Auburn playing just two hours from campus make the Tigers an intriguing underdog.
Pick: Auburn +6.5 (-115)
Season record: 33-30 (+0.0 units) ATS, 4-10 (-5.5 units) ML
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