Take Houston & SMU To Go 'Over' The Total For Your NCAA Basketball Picks

Willie Bee

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 4:11 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016 4:11 PM UTC

SMU is more than halfway through a possible perfect season, and faves on the NCAA basketball odds to continue the run Tuesday at home vs. Houston. Get our NCAA basketball picks here!

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 141½ 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


It's a shame the NCAA can't leave well enough alone and let us enjoy college basketball as the big business it really is. Then again, if you're the SMU Mustangs, the only school to ever be dealt the silly 'death penalty' in college sports, you should know the suits in Indianapolis are going to always pick nits and have their eye on your program.

So far, the sanctions imposed on the Mustangs haven't seemed to affect Larry Brown's bunch. In fact, the Ponies seem bound and determined to make sure there's an asterisk placed on this season as they take the nation's only undefeated record into play for Tuesday night's game when the Houston Cougars come to Dallas.

The 9 PM (ET) tip at Moody Coliseum will be carried by ESPNU, and the Mustangs are big 13 point favorites for the contest at 5Dimes where there's a slight 'under' lean on a 141½ point total.

This series has encompassed the teams playing against each other in three different leagues, starting with the Southwest Conference, and Conference USA and now the American Athletic Conference. Houston holds a fairly commanding 47-29 lead throughout play in all three leagues, but SMU has been cutting into that margin by winning four of the last five.

Brown's boys won both meetings a year ago, covering a huge 18½ point spread at home with an 80-59 cakewalk while sending Cougars backers to the pay window in a 75-69 decision down in H-Town with a 75-69 triumph on a -6½ line. Both of those games skipped past the NCAA basketball odds, the totals running 128 and 130½, and the last three in Big D have also gone 'over' the marks.


Cougar High Drops 2, Falls Back To Middle Of AAC Pack
Kelvin Sampson brings Houston (13-4 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) up to Dallas this time on a 2-game slide following losses at Cincinnati and home against UConn. The Cougars shot poorly in each affair, a good reason why they both finished 'under' to run the streak to four consecutive low-side paydays for college basketball bettors.

That leaves Sampson's side really needing a win and picking the worst team in the AAC to try to get it against, on the road, no less. The Cougars are now 3-2 on the league fixture, good enough only for a 5th-place tie with Connecticut and Tulsa, but do get to play three of the next four at home, including a return date with the Mustangs on February 1.

Though it's never one player's blame, Rob Gray Jr. is in a slump and at least partially responsible for the last two losses. The team's leading scorer (17.6 ppg), Gray combined for just 21 against the Bearcats and Huskies, the sophomore converting only 9-of-30 from the field (2-10 from 3-pt.).


Ponies Return Home After 2 Road Wins
There are still plenty of landmines left on the schedule for Southern Methodist (17-0 SU, 6-7 ATS), and Houston will definitely provide at least a step up in competition after facing East Carolina and Tulane last week. Both contests were on the road, where it's never easy to win, and the Mustangs covered -14 spreads in both victories.

That they were able to cover the spread Sunday at Tulane despite shooting so poorly says something for SMU's defense. It also says something about how badly the Green Wave played, giving the ball away 20 times and connecting on less than 30% from the field.

Neither team depends much on the 3-point shot, both the Cougars and Mustangs in the middle third of the nation attempting treys, yet both are among the top 60 in scoring. I should note SMU is scoring 71 PPG since Keith Frazier left, more than 12 points lower than when he was part of the team. I'm tempted to take the points for my free NCAA basketball picks, but will play the 'over' instead.

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