Bet 'Under' As Your NCAA Basketball Pick For Tulsa vs. Temple In AAC Battle

Willie Bee

Thursday, February 4, 2016 12:50 PM GMT

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 12:50 PM GMT

A couple of contenders in the AAC collide Thursday night as part of our NCAA basketball picks slate as Temple hosts the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes in the City of Brotherly Love.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 134½
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Now that the SMU Mustangs have dropped a couple of games, the race for the regular season title in the American Athletic Conference is wide open instead of the rest of the league merely playing for seeding in the conference tournament.

Two of the teams vying for honors and the top seed in Orlando for the AAC Tournament are the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and Temple Owls, and they'll square off in Philadelphia on Thursday. ESPNU will carry the broadcast from Liacouras Center beginning at 7 PM (ET), Temple giving up 2½ at 5Dimes where bettors can also find a 134½ point total.

Southern Methodist won't be in Orlando for the league tourney thanks to NCAA sanctions, but the Ponies can claim the regular season crown. They looked to be headed that way until a couple of weeks ago when Temple handed the Mustangs their first loss on this very same floor. SMU has since dropped a second game, falling Monday night at Houston, and what once was a comfortable margin atop the AAC ranks has now shrunk to a game-&-a-half entering play on Thursday night.

The Golden Hurricanes and Owls are two teams sitting 1½ behind the Mustangs, joined by Cincinnati each with a 6-3 league mark. Connecticut sits just two games out, and those four teams still have six games against one another including this contest. Add to that Tulsa, UConn and Cincinnati all having at least one more matchup vs. SMU, and it makes for what should be an exciting finish for the conference.

 

Hurricanes Unbeaten Vs. Owls In 4 Tries
While tonight's contest is crucial for both sides, it is especially important for Temple since the Owls have to travel to Oklahoma on February 23 to play the Golden Hurricanes on their floor. The outcome tonight will result in a 2-game swing for these two teams, and the Owls have the added pressure of never beating the Hurricanes in four tries.

The first two of those meetings took place in the mid-90s as non-conference opponents, the last pair of encounters a year ago after Tulsa joined the AAC. Both games were low-scoring affairs that stayed 'under' the NCAA basketball odds, the matchup in Tulsa resulting in a 55-39 final with the home team giving up 1½ at the closing bell.

At Liacouras Center, the Golden Hurricanes were 4½ point underdogs and used a big second half charge to record a 63-56 triumph. Temple had an 11 point lead with 11½ minutes to go before going scoreless for more than four minutes to let it all slip away.

 

Both Sides Coming Off Sloppy Performances
Tulsa (14-7 straight up, 11-8-1 against the spread) has been on a pretty good roll after dropping its first two AAC tilts to SMU and at Cincinnati around New Year's. Frank Haith's outfit has won six of seven since then, the only loss at Houston a little more than a week ago, converting five of the victories into winning wager slips.

The Golden Hurricanes pushed a 14 point spread at home last Saturday against Tulane, sloppy play on their part behind the 62-48 decision. Tulsa turned it over 22 times and let the Green Wave bully a bit on the glass by pulling down 12 offensive rebounds. Brandon Swannegan led the Hurricanes with 19 points, also grabbing 11 boards for the senior forward's first double-double of the season.

Temple (12-8 SU, 11-7 ATS) split a pair of games on the road last week, dropping a 64-61 contest at East Carolina where Fran Dunphy's lads were -5½ favorites and coming up just short of an 8 point cover in a 70-63 dubya at South Florida. Quenton DeCosey had a career-high 30 for Temple against the Bulls, but the Owls couldn't sustain a spread-covering lead in the second half thanks to a 4-minute scoring drought in the middle of the final stanza.

My free NCAA basketball pick in this one will be on the scoreboard where I do not believe the total will be breached.

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