Cincinnati At Home Is You Winning NCAA Basketball Pick Against SMU

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, March 6, 2016 12:27 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 6, 2016 12:27 PM UTC

Our handicapping professional is coming off a perfect 4-0 NCAA hoops sweep on Saturday. He’s providing us with a betting preview and free NCAA basketball pick on Sunday’s SMU/Cincinnati game.

Intriguing Early Sunday AAC Matchup
The Cincinnati Bearcats and SMU Mustangs will meet on Sunday in a battle of two of the best American Athletic Conference teams. The opening tip at the Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati is slated for 12:00 PM ET. At the time of this writing, the NCAA basketball odds boards at has Cincinnati as a 1.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 133.0.


Revenge Spot for the Bearcats
These conference rivals met eight weeks ago in Dallas, and SMU came away with a narrow 59-57 home win. The Mustangs failed to cover that game as a 6.0 point favorite, and the contest easily stayed under the total of 137.5. Cincinnati can take solace in knowing they shot an awful 37.7%, and had an extremely low four free throw attempts in the entire game, yet lost by just 2 points. The Bearcats also forced SMU to commit a season high 17 turnovers, and held them to their lowest point total of the 2015-2016 campaign. SMU is one of the best rebounding teams in the country at +10 per game, and that includes +13 per outing over its last five contests. However, Cincinnati held a 33-32 advantage on the boards in their initial encounter with SMU.


Home Court Advantage
Since losing their first conference home game of the season to Temple, Cincinnati has reeled off seven wins in a row at the Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats have been substantially better offensively at home this season compared to away or neutral site games. They average 81.2 points per game, shoot 47.3% from the field, and are converting a stellar 37.3% of its three point shots at home.


Final Take and Pick
SMU can win at least a share of the American Athletic Conference regular season title with a win on Sunday. However, the Mustangs are banned from postseason play due to NCAA rules violations handed down last September.

Conversely, Cincinnati is still considered by many of the NCAA Tournament selection experts to be a bubble team. A win over a nationally ranked team like SMU would go a long way in solidifying their resume. That’s especially so since they lost as a 2.5 point favorite in the at Houston 69-56 in their previous game. I’m of the opinion that Cincinnati is a much better team than their current 21-9 record indicates. When you consider the fact that five of their nine losses have come by exactly 2 points, and another was by only 4, Cincinnati could very easily be somewhere around 26-4 at this juncture. I’m siding with the Bearcats for one of my Sunday college basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Picks: Cincinnati -1.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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