Oklahoma State vs. UCF Prediction, Odds and Key Players for Big 12 First Round (Trust the Defenses)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for Oklahoma State-UCF. 

Mar 9, 2024; Fort Worth, Texas, USA;  UCF Knights guard Darius Johnson (3) reacts during the second quarter against TCU.
Mar 9, 2024; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; UCF Knights guard Darius Johnson (3) reacts during the second quarter against TCU. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams that are distant longshots to make the NCAA Tournament will square off at T-Mobile Center on Tuesday to open the Big 12 Tournament. Oklahoma State’s hot start (8-5) cooled off quickly as the Cowboys lost 14 of 18 conference games. 

UCF’s first season in the Big 12 was filled with the same downward spiral once play kicked off in one of the country’s most difficult conferences. The Knights were 9-3 in the non-conference, but won just four of their first 13 Big 12 tilts. UCF went 3-2 over the final five games and will try to use that momentum as a short favorite in Kansas City on Tuesday. Here’s the betting breakdown of the Big 12 battle with a best bet. 

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Oklahoma State vs. UCF Odds, Spread and Total


  • Oklahoma State: +3.5
  • UCF: -3.5


  • Oklahoma State: +140
  • UCF: -165

Total: 136.5 (Over -110/Under -110)

Oklahoma State vs. UCF Betting Trends

  • Oklahoma State is 11-18-2 ATS this season
  • UCF is 18-12 ATS this season
  • Oklahoma State is 6-10 ATS as an underdog this season
  • UCF is 8-7 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 18-13 in Oklahoma State games this season
  • The OVER is 14-15-1 in UCF games this season

Oklahoma State vs. UCF How to Watch

  • Date: Tuesday, March 12 
  • Game time: 12:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: T-Mobile Center
  • How to watch (TV): Big 12/ESPN+
  • Oklahoma State record: 12-19
  • UCF record:16-14 

Oklahoma State vs. UFC Key Players to Watch

Oklahoma State

Javon Small: One of just two double-digit scorers in Oklahoma State’s lineup, Small, a junior guard, leads the Cowboys in scoring at 14.9 points per game. Small is coming off a career-high 34 points on 10-of-19 shooting (five 3-pointers), albeit in an 85-71 loss to No. 20 BYU on the road. 


Darius Johnson: Playing a team-high 32.8 minutes per game, Johnson averages 14.8 points per game. Johnson is coming off one of his best performances of the year, pouring in 33 points on 9-of-13 shooting and grabbing 9 rebounds in UCF’s 79-77 win over TCU March 9. 

Oklahoma State vs. UCF Prediction and Pick 

UCF pulled out a 77-71 road win over Oklahoma State Feb. 28 in a matchup that was fueled by 66 combined free-throw attempts. Each team shot just over 40% from the field and combined to go just 11-of-36 from beyond the arc. 

Will the defenses set the tone in this matchup? That’s the only way UCF can take control of this matchup as the Knights boast one of the country’s best defenses and a sub-par offense. UCF is third in the Big 12 in scoring defense, permitting just 67 points per game, and rank No. 12 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. 

UCF matches up well with Oklahoma State given its size. The Knights are No. 67 in average height and rank No. 7 in block percentage while forcing turnovers at a top-30 rate in the nation. Down low, UCF should see success at the rim as the No. 26 defense against 2-point shots. They’ll have to come up big in the frontcourt against an Oklahoma State offense that relies heavily on shots from inside the arc. The Cowboys are No. 201 in the nation in 3-point shooting and No. 92 from 2-point range. 

Offensively, can you trust UCF to lay points? The Knights’ offense might rank No. 159 in efficiency, but the shooting metrics have been lackluster. UFC is last in the Big 12 in 2-point shooting, effective field goal percentage and 13th in scoring (71.3 points per game) and perimeter shooting. With UCF able to take advantage of an offense that can’t pull away, expect the Knights to impose their well on the defensive end. However, you can’t trust UCF’s offense to lay points. Instead, go with the under as this game likely won’t turn into a free-throw feast like the previous matchup between these two squads.

Pick: UNDER 139

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.