NCAA Basketball Picks: Jump On Tulsa When Meeting Houston While The Price Is Right

Jason Lake

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 7:48 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 7:48 PM UTC

How close does Wednesday's AAC matchup between the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and the Houston Cougars look on paper? According to the NCAA basketball odds, it's a pick 'em.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Tulsa PK
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


Jason's 2015-16 record as of Jan. 26: 2-1 ATS, 1-0 Totals

Let's call a spade a spade: The American Athletic Conference is a mid-major. There are those who include “The American” among the power conferences in Division I college hoops, and there are indeed some quality programs left over from the old Big East, like Connecticut and Cincinnati. But when the Louisville Cardinals bolted for the ACC in 2014, it was like a kick in the gut.

Hey, nothing wrong with mid-majors. They're a constant source of goodness for your NCAA basketball picks, and when Louisville said good-bye to The American, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (13-6 SU, 9-7-2 ATS) said hello. Tulsa has a game coming up this Wednesday at Hofheinz Pavilion versus the Houston Cougars (13-6 SU, 7-7 ATS), starting at 8:00 p.m Eastern on ESPNEWS, and it's a pick 'em as we go to press. Let's riggidy-roll.


The Golden Showers Tour
We love us some Simple Rating System here at the ranch, and the fine folks at Sports-Reference have The American ranked seventh among the conferences at +7.70 SRS, a big step below the SEC (+7.70 SRS) at No. 6. Looking at the two teams in question, Tulsa rates higher at +10.1 SRS, with the Cougs trailing at +8.4 SRS. That adds up to a kayfabe point spread of around Houston –2 at home. Hmmmm.

Of course, we also love us some Ken Pomeroy. He's got the Golden Hurricane ranked No. 54 overall (No. 105 offense, No. 41 defense) in Division I, while the Cougars are down at No. 99 (No. 42 offense, No. 195 defense). Hmmmm again. Recent results have definitely been in Tulsa's favor, though. The Hurricane are on a five-game winning streak at 4-0-1 ATS, while Houston is 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS in its last four contests.


You Gotta Have Haith
Then you have the history between the two teams, and it's almost all Tulsa these days. The Hurricane have won each of the last six games at 5-1 ATS, and they're 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS since the coaches in question (Frank Haith for Tulsa, Kelvin Sampson for Houston) took over their programs in 2014.

We're not seeing any injury reports coming down the wire for either team, so it seems reasonable enough to go with the Golden Hurricane. There's certainly a chance that Houston comes out with some extra verve after dropping a 71-62 decision to the last-place South Florida Bulls (+16 away) on Saturday, breaking USF's nine-game losing streak in the process. But that's about the only angle we've got on the Cougs, and the early NCAA basketball odds have already moved to Tulsa –1 at Heritage, so we're jumping on the bandwagon before it fills up. If you can call it a bandwagon. Maybe more of a sidecar.

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