NCAA Basketball Picks: Memphis vs. UConn

Darin Zank

Thursday, March 5, 2015 1:11 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 5, 2015 1:11 PM GMT

Neither Memphis or defending national champion Connecticut will receive at-large invitations to the NCAA tournament; instead, they'll have to go the conference tournament route. So how do we handicap Thursday night's Tigers-Huskies clash in Storrs?

Tigers-Huskies Betting Odds
The NCAA Basketball odds opened this game with UConn favored by 7.5 points, and that spread was holding steady in the early betting.

Bettors thinking Memphis could win this game outright could get +315 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.

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Tigers-Huskies: Background
UConn has won three straight games, after upsetting SMU Sunday 81-73. The Huskies led that game by double-digits in the first half, let the Mustangs come back and take a lead with about nine minutes to go in the game, then went on a 15-4 spurt to regain control.

Connecticut shot 53 percent from the field Sunday, and hit nine of 20 shots from 3-point land, in winning that game outright as a two-point home dog.

Just before that the Huskies won at East Carolina 60-49, and just before that they topped Tulane 67-60.

Memphis, meanwhile, had recently won three games in a row, but has lost its last two, after falling to the top two teams in the conference, SMU and Tulsa, last week. The Tigers shot just 41 percent from the field against the Mustangs, missing ATS as three-point home dogs, then shot 43 percent in losing 74-72 in overtime to the Hurricane, losing outright as two-point favorites.

Memphis led Tulsa by nine points with eight minutes to go Saturday, but gave up a 15-6 run that forced OT, then missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer in the finals seconds of the extra period.

Looking at the big picture, Memphis, at 17-12 overall and 9-7 in AAC play, and UConn, at 17-11, 10-6 are both still fighting for first-round byes in the upcoming AAC tournament. And if either of these teams wants to play in the NCAA tournament they'll have to win the conference tournament first, because they're not going to receive at-large berths.

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Tigers-Huskies Betting Trends
Memphis is trending toward the UNDERS this season by a 15-10 margin, as Tigers games have averaged 130 points.

UConn is 12-11 on the totals, even as Huskies games have averaged just 126 points.

Memphis is just 4-7 ATS on the road this season, but Connecticut is only 3-7 ATS at home.

 

By the Numbers
Memphis is shooting 44 percent from the floor this season, just 33 percent from 3-point range and 67 percent from the FT line. The Tigers are also holding opponents to just under 40 percent FG shooting, and just 30 percent from long range.

Connecticut is shooting 45 percent from the floor, 35 percent from long range and 69 percent from the line, while also holding foes to just under 40 percent FG shooting.

 

Tigers-Huskies, Recent History
Last season UConn swept three games from Memphis, on its way to the national championship. But the Tigers took the first meeting between the teams this season two weeks ago down at the Forum 75-72, squeaking out the cover as two-point home favorites.

Memphis led that game by 15 with about 13 minutes to go, but the Huskies rallied to within a bucket with 20 seconds left, and had a chance to tie in the finals seconds, but missed. The Tigers shot 47 percent from the floor that night, and made eight of 19 shots from beyond the arc, while holding UConn to just 41 percent shooting.

That game played way OVER its total of 125.

 

Injury Update
Memphis F Austin Nichols (13 points, six boards, three blocks PG) is dealing with a sprained ankle, and is likely to miss at least the next week or so.

 

Tigers-Huskies Free Pick
UConn just played its balls off beating SMU Sunday, but it's tough for a team to get up like that two games in a row. Also, the spread on this game is probably inflated by at least a bucket or so toward the home team. So despite missing one of their key cogs we'll take the Tigers today, plus the points with our NCAA basketball picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Memphis +7.5 at BetOnline

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