2023 March Madness Predictions: Is It Feeling Like 2021 For Oral Roberts?
There's always one team every March that makes a run and steals the hearts of the fans. Last year it was 15-seed Saint Peter’s, who after upsetting Kentucky in the first round made it all the way to the elite 8.
Go back another year and we’ve got another 15-seed making headlines. In 2021, Oral Roberts upset 2-seed Ohio State in the first round, and then beat 7-seed Florida in the round of 32. They almost made it to the elite eight, yet lost by two to 3-seed Arkansas in the sweet 16.
While Oral Roberts missed out on the big dance last year, they’re back here in 2023 as a 12 seed–so it raises the question: does Oral Roberts have some magic left in the tank?
Oral Roberts vs Duke Odds
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Oral Roberts does have a chance in their round one game against the Duke Blue Devils. While Duke is listed as a -6.5 favorite, the Oral Roberts moneyline is currently sitting at +230.
So yes, they’re an underdog, but not nearly as much as some of the other 5/12 seed matchups. Also, according to our March Madness upset predictions, 12 seeds have beaten the 5 seeds 35 times since 2000, giving them a winning percentage of 32%.
How Oral Roberts Can Pull Off The Upset
Oral Roberts is obviously no stranger to Cinderella runs, and it definitely helps that guard Max Abmas, who led the Golden Eagles on their 2021 run, is still with the team here in 2023. Abmas is averaging 22.2 points per game, and pairs nicely with senior big man Connor Vanover, who, at 7 foot 3, is one of the tallest players in the tournament.
If Abmas can get hot and Vanover can establish his dominance, then the Golden Eagles have a great chance of at least making it close. However, this Duke team isn’t one to be trifled with.
Duke vs Oral Roberts Prediction
While I think Oral Roberts will be able to keep it close, I think it’ll be Duke that comes out on top. Sure, Abmas is a monster and a lot to keep up with, but Duke has guards of their own that can keep him at bay.
Junior Jeremy Roach has proven to be an absolute menace in March, and freshman guard Tyrese Proctor has been incredible all season.
Onto Oral Roberts big man, I think Duke’s frontcourt will be able to contain him. Between Dereck Lively II, Ryan Young, and Kyle Filipowski, this frontcourt trio could be able to keep Vanover at bay.
So all in all, I’m staying away from the Oral Roberts moneyline. However, that 6.5-point spread is looking mighty fine.