Temple-Tulane & Tulsa-USF Offer Solid Options in AAC Action

Jay Pryce

Sunday, February 4, 2018 2:30 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018 2:30 PM UTC

A pair of mid-afternoon AAC basketball matchups offers a nice betting primer before the Super Bowl Sunday night. Cash with these picks for Temple at Tulane, and Tulsa at South Florida.

Sunday College Basketball: Temple vs. TulaneFree NCAAB Pick: Tulane +2.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Bettors can expect a close game between Temple (12-10 SU, 10-11 ATS) and Tulane (13-8 SU, 7-9 ATS), regardless which program comes out on top. Half (11) of the Owls’ 22 contests have been decided by five points or fewer this season. Impressive when one considers they own the eighth-toughest schedule in the country.

Offense is the weak link for Coach Fran Dunphy's Temple team. The squad’s 48.2 percent effective field-goal rate ranks 53rd lowest nationally. The unit is easy to prepare for. Guards Quinton Rose and Shizz Alson Jr. have led the team in scoring in 17 contests. Slow the backcourt, and Temple’s points total plummets.

Nor have the Owls lit it up on the road against AAC opponents. They are averaging 55.0 points on 37.5 percent shooting, though they have tipped off 9.6-point underdogs in this spot with matchups against powerhouse defenses such as Cincinnati, Central Florida, Houston, and SMU. Even against weaker teams, scoring doesn’t raise too much. Since the start of last season, Temple shoots just 40.2 percent in conference road games with a single-digit line.

Tulane’s scoring is surging under longtime NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. He established new systems on both ends of the court, emphasizing spacing and perimeter shooting on offense. The Green Wave, putting up 72.1 points per game against conference opponents, have already surpassed their win total (4-5 SU) from last season (3-15 SU). “The key to basketball is get layups, free throws, and uncontested shots,” Dunleavy Sr. said earlier in the season.

Guard Melvin Frazier (17.1 ppg) and forward Cameron Reynolds (15.8 ppg) are taking advantage. They rank as the No. 1 scoring duo among AAC peers, posting 33.1 points per game.

The Green Wave drowned the Owls 85-75 in Philly prior to the New Year, shooting 54.4 percent from the floor. Expect this figure to cool a bit. Most impressive was the fact Tulane held Temple to 30-of-67 (44.8) field goals on its own hardwood. The Owls will not perform better giving their recent road history. The Green Wave are 7-1 SU at home this season when holding opponents to under 48 percent shooting. I think they'll get the job done here, 71-69, so looking at the NCAAB odds board I'm taking Tulane and the points with my NCAAB picks.

Tulsa vs. South FloridaFree NCAAB Pick: Over 136Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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The "over" is 9-3 all-time when Tulsa (12-10 SU, 12-7 ATS) tips off as a single-digit road favorite against AAC foes under Coach Frank Haith, including the last seven straight. The Golden Hurricanes are laying 7.5 points for this matchup. The defense tends to underachieve slightly in this spot, with eight of 12 opponents surpassing their projected team total by 1.8 points per game.

South Florida is hardly an offensive juggernaut, ranking 301 out of 351 D-I teams in adjusted efficiency in KenPom’s ratings. The unit is showing some life recently, surpassing 73 points in two of their last three games, versus Tulane and Memphis. The Bulls accomplished this just two other times in their last 30 AAC clashes.

The Bulls had five players score in double-figures last time out, hitting 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. It has been nearly five years since the program shot better than 90 percent from the charity stripe in a contest. Moreover, South Florida ranks second in the AAC in 3-point field-goal percentage in conference play. This team is starting to find a scoring touch and confidence is high. With my NCAAB picks I predict Tulsa wins 74-66, with the Bulls making a late charge to send the game "over" the total on the college basketball odds board.

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