NCAA Basketball Picks: Take The Points When Temple Visits Tulsa In AAC Clash

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 2:10 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016 2:10 PM GMT

Big game in the AAC as leader Temple visits Tulsa -- both schools are on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament bid, but who will reign supreme? Find out in our NCAA Basketball Picks.

Owls Control Own AAC Title Destiny
Temple (17-9, 11-3) leads the conference by a game over SMU, which is ineligible for postseason basketball. If the Owls win this game, they'd be in great shape to win the AAC title because they will be favored in their final three regular-season games: vs. Central Florida, vs. Memphis and at Tulane. The Owls aren't even a lock NCAA Tournament team yet, though, as a potential at-large team as they are projected currently as a No. 11 seed.

The only loss for Temple in the past seven games was by 16 at home to No. 1 Villanova last Wednesday. Temple bounced back from that with a 69-66 victory at Houston on Sunday -- the Cougars had thumped Temple by 27 in Philadelphia earlier in the season.

"Of course, that was on all of our minds," said Temple forward Obi Enechionyia to Philly.com after the win. He led all scorers with a career-high 26 points vs. Houston. In the past eight games, he is shooting a very strong 45.8 percent (22-for-48) from 3-point range.

Devin Coleman broke a 64-64 tie on a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left; he had been scoreless in the loss to Villanova. Josh Brown hit a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining and Houston's potential tying 3-pointer was off the mark. Brown finished with 10 rebounds, nine points, five assists and three steals. It was Temple's fourth win in the past six games by five points or fewer. Temple is 8-4 in games decided by five points or fewer overall this season.

The Owls are 14-10 against the spread on NCAA basketball odds boards this season and 5-5 ATS on the road.

 

Golden Hurricane Need Some Help
Tulsa (18-9, 10-5) probably needs this more than Temple as most projections have the Golden Hurricane just on the outside of the NCAA Tournament looking in. Tulsa also has a very tough game at Memphis on Sunday. It should win the final game of the regular season, home against South Florida.

The Golden Hurricane won at Central Florida on Sunday, 75-67. They held UCF to 38.5 percent shooting. Tulsa also was 8-for-10 from the line in the final 90 seconds or so. Pat Birt led Tulsa with 26 points and Marquel Curtis had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Birt was named the AAC Player of the Week on Monday. It's the first time he has won that honor but it's the third time a Tulsa player has this season. The Golden Hurricane are really strong at guard with Birt, Shaquille Harrison and James Woodard. Those were the other two Tulsa players to earn AAC Player of the Week honors.

It's not clear if Tulsa will have forward Rashad Smith for this one. He left the UCF game with about 14 minutes left due to a shoulder injury. Smith, a 6-foot-7 senior, had nine points and four rebounds in the game and averages 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds on the season.

The Golden Hurricane are 13-10-3 ATS on NCAA basketball picks this season and 7-3-2 ATS at home.

 

First Meeting
On Feb 4, Temple was a 1-point home favorite and beat Tulsa 83-79 in overtime. The Owls trailed by as many as 12 in the second half and still by five with 25 seconds left. It took a Coleman 3-pointer with two seconds left in regulation to send it to OT. Quenton DeCosey hit two free throws with 12 seconds left. Tulsa's Woodard then missed a 3-pointer and Temple got the rebound. DeCosey led the Owls, who had never beaten Tulsa in four previous meetings, with 21 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists (including the assist on Coleman's tying 3-pointer). Jaylen Bond had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Birt led Tulsa with 22 points, while Harrison had 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.  

 

Betting Analysis:
The Temple players well remember last year's ugly 55-39 loss at Tulsa, the Owls' worst offensive game of the season. I'll take the points here. Temple is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 games vs. teams with a winning record. Tulsa is 0-4 ATS in its past four at home vs. teams with a road winning percentage of at least .600. For more free picks, check out tonight's top games

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Temple +6.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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