NCAA Basketball Picks: SMU To Take Care Of Business At Home Over East Carolina

Kevin Stott

Sunday, February 21, 2016 12:37 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016 12:37 PM UTC

Let’s handicap all the relevant numbers and Trends in this series, see what we can find out for East Carolina vs. SMU's game and provide an NCAA basektball pick for our SBR readers.

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Final Score Prediction: SMU 83 - East Carolina 59
Free NCAA Basketball Picks: SMU -19½; SMU 1st Half
Best Lines Offered: at Pinnacle


Nic Moore and and #21 SMU welcome East Carolina to Moody Coliseum in Dallas on Sunday afternoon for this American Athletic Conference date between two teams who definitely won’t be doing any dancing in March. When these two met earlier this season, the Mustangs stampeded the Pirates by 26 points in the Tar Heel State, so can we expect a similar thrashing here?


Odds Overview
East Carolina at #21 SMU: Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas is the site of this American Athletic Conference meeting between host and #21 SMU (21-4, 9-4 American Athletic) and East Carolina (10-16, 2-11 American Athletic) on Sunday afternoon in a somewhat meaningless game in the Big Picture with SMU ineligible this season and the Pirates unlikely to be able to swashbuckle their way into any Postseason tournament no matter how many tournaments there might be. Offshore NCAA basketball odds have opened up this game with host SMU as big 19-point favorites (Bookmaker) over East Carolina with the Total (Points) for this game opening up at 145½ (Bookmaker).


East Carolina Pirates
East Carolina (10-9-2 ATS, 6-3-1 ATS Road) and 6th-year Head Coach Jeff Lebo have been very good ATS on the Road this season (6-3-1), and despite getting blown out by the Mustangs in the first meeting, are getting more than enough points (19½, BetOnline) to mull taking them as a big Road underdog in this spot. In their last game, East Carolina lost 69-53 to South Florida, the Pirates 5th straight Loss. Against the Bulldogs, Kentrell Barkley (10 points) and East Carolina were a weak 34% (18-53) from the Field and besides Barkley, reserve G Caleb White (13 points) was the only other Pirates player in double-digits. This is a team which gets most of its scoring from its Guards in Barkley (10.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg), BJ Tyson (15.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Prince Williams (10.2 ppg) and White (12.8 ppg) but still finds itself in the basement of the American Athletic Conference with a 2-11 SU Record. On the Injury front for East Carolina (69.9 AF-72.9 AA), C Deng Riak (Shoulder) is Out for the Season.


SMU Mustangs
SMU (9-12-0 ATS, 3-7 ATS Home) and Head Coach Larry Brown got off to the best start in school history and were the last unbeaten team in Division I and facing ineligibility and playing with just 7 guys at times, credit is due down in Big D. Ranked in the Top 10 nationally in 3-Point shooting (3rd), Field Goal percentage (5th) and Assists (7th), SMU is led by its solid Starting 5 of Nic Moore (16.7 ppg), Ben Moore (12.1 ppg), Jordan Tolbert (11.8 ppg), Sterling Brown (9.6 ppg) and Shake Milton (11.3 ppg) and, although thinner than thin, the Mustangs (79.4 PA-64.3 PA) also have some nice, productive guys on their bench in Markus Kennedy, Jonathan Wilfong and Jarrey Foster. SMU (78.7 AF-64.4 AA ) saw G Keith Frazier announce he was transferring two months ago while C Ben Emelogu (Knee) is Injured and is Out for the Season for Head Coach Brown and #21 SMU. In their last game, SMU lost at Connecticut, 68-62 as Nic Moore (14), Ben Moore (13 points), Brown (11 points) and Milton (11 points) were all double-figures but the Mustangs Bench only provided 4 points in the setback to the Huskies in Storrs.


Recent Relevant Series Trends & Best Betting Approaches
The last time these two teams played, SMU spanked East Carolina, 79-53 (SMU -14, 139, Under) as the Mustangs raced out to a 40-32 Halftime lead and then outscored East Carolina, 39-23 in the 2nd Half as six of seven SMU who played in the opening 39 minutes of the game were already in scoring or assists. And a look at the Box Score reveals man-to-man, SMU looks to have outplayed the Pirates on their own Home-court in that January game and the Mustangs Rebounding edge was staggering (39-21). But the upstart Mustangs are lowly 3-7 ATS here at Home at Moody Coliseum in Dallas while Tyson (15.2 ppg) and East Carolina is 6-3-1 ATS on the Road so far this season, so expect a better performance from Barkley (6.2 rpg) and the Pirates although improving on not losing by 26 points won’t be much to brag about and a 30-point SMU win isn’t out of the question here with apathy running high for both teams realistically. In this game last year here in Dallas, Tolbert (8.7 rpg) and SMU won and easily covered, 77-54, so with two cookie-cutter scores (79-53, 77-54) in two of the last three meetings and this one being played on a lazy Sunday afternoon, expecting a little more scoring, but the same result, from both sides seems fairly logical in this spot. On the Road in Philadelphia against the top (current) team in the AAC, Temple (10-3), East Carolina lost 78-60 and failed to cover the big Point Spread (TEMP -9, 133, Over), so backing SMU both in the 1st Half market as well as for the game (for equal amounts) and just laying the lumber in a small to moderate NCAA basketball pick seems like the best advice. The Mustangs two Moores, Tolbert, Brown and Milton are all going to get their points and should all (again) be in double-digits as when a team (SMU) out-rebounds another so badly (39-21) on the Home floor, that translates to Possessions, and Possessions generally translate to 1 point, so you do the Math. And the Ponies have nothing to play for but Pride and Numbers, and it being at Moody Coliseum and isolated on a smaller Sunday schedule should bring out the best in Larry Brown’s small band of warriors who often have to practice 4-on-4 because the Mustangs squad is so thin.

As far as Trends here, the Over is 6-2-1 in East Carolina’s L9 overall and 7-3 ATS in the L10 SMU Sunday dribbles while the Pirates are 5-2-1 ATS their L8 Road games with SMU just 2-6 its L8 Home games and 3-8 ATS their L11 Sunday games. In the L10 meetings in this series, the two schools have split 5-5 ATS—SMU has W3 straight SU in the series—while the Total is also split at 5-5, so the recent Trends offer nothing but confusion for tonight's game.

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