Who's Playing

Northern Kentucky @ Houston

Regular Season Records: Northern Kentucky 22-12; Houston 31-3

What to Know

The Northern Kentucky Norse and the #2 Houston Cougars are set to clash at 9:20 p.m. ET March 16 at Legacy Arena in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. NKU should still be riding high after a win, while the Cougars will be looking to get back in the win column.

The Cleveland State Vikings typically have all the answers at home, but last Tuesday the Norse proved too difficult a challenge. NKU narrowly escaped with a victory as the team sidled past the Vikings 63-61. NKU can attribute much of their success to guard Sam Vinson, who had 16 points along with five rebounds, and guard Marques Warrick, who had 18 points in addition to six boards.

Meanwhile, Houston came up short against the Memphis Tigers on Sunday, falling 75-65. One thing holding Houston back was the mediocre play of guard Terrance Arceneaux, who did not have his best game: he finished with only nine points on 3-for-10 shooting in his 35 minutes on the court.

The Norse are the clear underdogs, so they're hoping it's the size of the fight that determines this one. Those betting on them against the spread shouldn't have high expectations for them since the squad is 2-4 ATS when expected to lose.

Two defensive numbers to keep in mind before tip-off: NKU comes into the game boasting the 28th fewest points allowed per game in college basketball at 63.6. As for the Cougars, they have been holding their opponents to a field goal percentage of 36.40%, which places them first in college basketball.

How To Watch

  • When: Thursday at 9:20 p.m. ET
  • Where: Legacy Arena -- Birmingham, Alabama
  • TV: TNT
  • Follow: CBS Sports App


The Cougars are a big 18.5-point favorite against the Norse, according to the latest college basketball odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Cougars as a 21.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

See college basketball picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine's advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last eight years.