There have been a plethora of upsets so far in the early stages of the NCAA Tournament, including No. 9 seed Auburn’s win over No. 8 Iowa in the Midwest Region on Thursday night.
However, ESPN does not see Auburn pulling off another victory as an underdog.
Ahead of Saturday’s round of 32 matchup between No. 1 Houston and No. 9 Auburn at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, ESPN’s matchup predictor has forecasted how the game will shake out. It’s not looking good for the Tigers, as they have given Houston an 83.9% chance to advance to the Sweet 16.
The Cougars played a tough game with Northern Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday but squeaked out a 63-52 win. Houston had to claw to a win after their star guard, Marcus Sasser, was pulled due to an aggravated groin injury. However, he stated Friday that he is going to play, which may factor into Houston’s overwhelming odds to get the win.
The ESPN BPI feels that Auburn could make the game exciting, at least. The ESPN Basketball Power Index says that Saturday’s game between Auburn and Houston is the fourth-most exciting game of the day, with a matchup quality grade of 83.4. The BPI also expects Houston to win by 10 points.
Houston is No. 1 in both KenPom and ESPN Basketball Power Index rankings. The Cougars are top 15 in both offense and defense according to KenPom, ranking No. 4 and No. 11 respectively. Auburn is No. 27 in the latest KenPom, with their strongest trait being defensive efficiency, which is No. 28 in the country.
Auburn will look to pull off the upset on Saturday night at 6:10 p.m. CT on TBS.
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